LOS ANGELES, 13 April — Bradley Beal scored 34 points and Russell Westbrook bagged a triple double as the Washington Wizards ended the Utah Jazz’s 24-game home winning streak with a 125-121 victory in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Donovan Mitchell delivered a 42-point gem for Utah but could not prevent the under-strength Western Conference leaders from sliding to a surprise defeat against a Wizards team struggling near the foot of the East.
Utah, with Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson absent from the line-up, looked to be racing towards a 25th straight home victory after a dazzling opening quarter saw them put up 42 points.
Mitchell contributed 17 points in that burst of early scoring, but Washington responded superbly to outscore Utah 37-23 in the second for a 70-65 half-time lead.
Washington took control in the third period with a 19-8 run, and with Mitchell’s touch suddenly deserting him, Utah were left chasing the game in the fourth.
Beal’s 34-point display was complemented by Westbrook’s triple, with the 2017 NBA MVP finishing with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.
Embiid in ‘attack mode’
In Dallas, Joel Embiid outgunned Luka Doncic as the Philadelphia 76ers rolled to a 113-95 victory over the Mavericks on Monday.
Embiid poured in 36 points in another dominant display that included seven rebounds and two assists in just 26 minutes on court at Dallas’s American Airlines Center.
The Cameroon international’s points tally included 14 of 15 free throw attempts as the Sixers improved to 37-17 at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Embiid was backed with 20 points off the bench from Furkan Korkmaz, while Shake Milton and Tobias Harris had 10 points apiece.
Mavs star Doncic, meanwhile, finished with 32 points, while Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 12.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers said Embiid had “played in attack mode all night” and showed no sign of being bothered by the knee brace that he had recently said was hindering his performances.
“Obviously, he’s getting used to it,” Rivers said of the knee brace. “I thought he played in an attack mode all night, didn’t settle.
“He felt like the last couple of games he’d been settling. When you have something on you, you tend to do that. So I thought he was phenomenal in how aggressive he was, and he made the right plays.”
The win was the perfect warm-up for the Sixers’ crunch clash against second-placed Brooklyn in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Rivers was also pleased to see his team finish a four-game road trip with three victories.
“It was one of our goals before the year started — if we want to be what we want to be, we have to be a good road team,” Rivers said. “We’re going out on the road, we’re taking care of business and we’re very serious about it.”
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Julius Randle scored 34 points as the New York Knicks routed the depleted Los Angeles Lakers 111-96.
The NBA champions coughed up 25 turnovers as the Knicks romped to victory, with Elfrid Payton adding 20 points and Derrick Rose 14.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel pointed the finger at his team’s wayward offensive display, which came just two days after a blowout victory against Brooklyn on Saturday.
“Really poor passing, some bad decisions,” Vogel said of the Lakers, who continue to feel the absence of injured stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“As good as we were offensively two nights ago, we were just as bad tonight. It’s disappointing. Definitely not good enough on the offensive end.”
The Lakers face a quick turnaround against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday before wrapping up their eight-game road trip in Boston on Thursday.
“Losing like this doesn’t feel good,” Vogel said. “All of our guys are eager to get back out there tomorrow.” — AFP