William J. FordLocal SportsNationalSports

Wiz Oulast Suns in Triple-OT Thriller

Bradley Beal notched his first career triple-double with 40 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds as the Washington Wizards broke a two-game losing streak Saturday with a 149-146 triple-overtime win over the Phoenix Suns at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C.

Suns forwards Kelly Oubre Jr., who was dealt to Phoenix by the Wizards this month, scored 20 points and five rebounds in his return, but was outshined by his former teammate Beal.

“It’s tiring, but it’s fun,” Beal said after the game. “You always embrace those type of games, competitive games like that down to the wire. It was definitely a gut check for us.”

The Wizards played without John Wall, who was out with flu-like symptoms, Otto Porter, who missed his sixth straight game with a right knee sprain, and Dwight Howard, continues to recover from surgery last month to repair a gluteal injury.

Washington dressed five new players who joined the team the past two weeks, included Jordan McRae and Chasson Randle from the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ G League affiliate, Sam Dekker, Ron Baker and Trevor Ariza, who came from Phoenix in the trade for Oubre and guard Austin Rivers.

Ariza, who recorded the most minutes of all players with 54, also played in Washington’s last triple-overtime game in February 2014 against the Toronto Raptors.

“I don’t remember that far back,” he said.

As for Beal, Ariza said he’s grown since their time together nearly five years ago.

“He’s just a lot more confident,” Ariza said. “He understands what he wants to do. He … plays really hard every night.”

Meanwhile, Wizards center Thomas Bryant tied a franchise record in field attempts without a miss going a perfect 14-for-14 with a career-high 31 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes.

The game remained close throughout with 24 lead changes, but Washington (13-20) committed 22 turnovers that led to 30 Phoenix points.

The Suns (8-25), one of the youngest teams in the NBA, showcased its team speed with 20 fast-break points and 14 steals. By comparison, Washington only had six fast-break points and Ariza had three of the team’s six steals.

Although Suns center Deandre Ayton scored 26 points and 17 rebounds, his team was out-rebounded 53-50 by a Wizards squad that ranks third-to-last in the NBA.

Phoenix guard Devin Booker, who led the Suns with 33 points along with 14 assists, had a chance to win the game with the last possession at the end of regulation and in the second overtime.

“Overall, I think both teams competed and it was a fun game for fans to watch,” said Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov. “We’re disappointed because, obviously, when you put so much effort and energy, you’re hoping the outcome is going to come your way.”

After the marathon game that lasted slightly more than hours, both teams will also play Sunday.

Phoenix heads north to face the Brooklyn Nets (15-19) and Washington to the Midwest against the Indiana Pacers (21-12).

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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