The Washington Wizards fell short Wednesday in a 95-94 road loss to DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings. "Boogie" led the Kings with 21 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists, with 9 points and 7 rebounds (3 offensive) coming in the fourth and final quarter of play. Wizards rookie Bradley Beal went 6-for-7 from behind the three-point arc and achieved a season-high 26 points in defeat.
Despite some foul trouble, the Wizards got off to a great start in Sacramento. They led by 8 points at the half (56-48) and looked as if they would continue the fast break success of their once upon a time three-game win streak. They couldn't stop Cousins, however, and they couldn't stop reserve sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, who added 12 points off the bench after sitting out the entire first half (coach's decision).
The Fredette effect--the home crowd and Fredette's range from deep (2-for-3 from downtown)--hit the Wizards hard. Martell Webster sank a long three-pointer for Washington for a 94-91 lead with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter, but Kings forward John Salmons responded some 14 seconds later with a three-ball of his own, tying the game 94-all. The Wizards had a chance to pull ahead of the Kings once more but John Wall missed a pair of free throws, forcing a split pair by Kings guard Tyreke Evans. Washington had plenty of time left--11.4 seconds to be exact--but Beal couldn't land a shot in traffic and Wall fell short of a follow-jumper after a Nene tip-back.
Wall finished with a 14 points, 10 assists double-double, despite the botched finish, his first double-double of the season. The "Great Wall of Assists" missed Washington's first 33 games of the season and is still coming off the bench at this point as he returns to starter form. Beal, on the other hand, looked more comfortable than ever Wednesday in Sacramento. He probably won't top Earl Monroe, who scored 56 points during his 1967-68 rookie season with the then Baltimore Bullets, but the 19-year-old looks much more like Ray Allen now than he did over his first few weeks in the red, white, and blue throwbacks.
The Wizards will face former center JaVale McGee Friday--and Nene's former team--in a road battle against the Denver Nuggets (9:00 p.m. ET, CSN).