Bradley Beal (#3 ) of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the Boston Celtics in the second half at Capital One Arena on February 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP)
WASHINGTON – NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal poured in 35 points Sunday to spark the Washington Wizards over the Boston Celtics 104-91, delivering a rare home victory for what had been the league’s second-worst squad.
Beal went 10-of-18 from the floor, 4-of-9 from 3-point range, and 11-of-11 from the free throw line while the Wizards grabbed a season-best 54 rebounds and kept Boston to 32-of-90 shooting.
Japanese forward Rui Hachimura scored 15 points while Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who improved to 7-17 overall but remained the NBA’s worst team at home at 3-9.
Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker each scored 25 points to lead the Celtics, who fell to fifth in the East at 13-13. Jayson Tatum, a boyhood pal of Beal, had only six points on 3-of-14 shooing.
“It’s always a battle. Jayson is a superstar,” Beal said. “You always have to bring it. The mental has to be there. It always feels good to get a win.”
Beal rested in a 109-91 loss Friday to New York.
“For me it was just being able to be away from the game, unwind, be with the wife and kids,” Beal said. “For once I actually listened to my mind and body and took a day off.”
Westbrook will face his former club, the Houston Rockets, on Monday when former Wizards star John Wall returns to the US capital.
“We’ve got John coming in. You know they are going to be riled up,” Beal said. “They got the best of us down there, so we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Beal scored seven points in Washington’s 15-8 run to start the game, with Boston opening 2-of-9 from the floor.
Beal, who began 5-of-5 then missed his next six shots from the floor, had 12 in the first quarter as the Wizards opened a 29-22 edge.
Washington seized a 55-43 halftime edge, matching the fewest first-half points the Wizards had allowed all season.
An 11-0 run sparked by six points from Hachimura gave Washington a 77-53 edge. The Celtics responded with an 11-1 run but the Wizards ended the third quarter with an 11-3 spurt for an 89-67 advantage.
Washington lifted the lead as large as 101-76 and cruised to the finish.
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