The NBA might have seen its most bonkers game of the year on Saturday night. The Washington Wizards played hosts to the Phoenix Suns, and with John Wall on the sideline due to an illness, things got awfully weird.
Washington managed to come out on top, but it took three overtimes to get to the win. The final score was 149-146, with Bradley Beal providing heroics you might expect — the All-Star guard had 40 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds, the first triple-double of his career.
What you might not have expected was that Thomas Bryant, a second-year big man who has seen his workload spike due to Dwight Howard’s recent surgery, was out of his mind. Bryant, who was a standout at the University of Indiana and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, joined Washington over the summer.
He’s been a steady hand during his time with the Wizards, but exploded on Saturday night to the tune of 31 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes, all of which served as career-highs. The most impressive part was his efficiency, as Bryant went 14-for-14 from the field, a franchise record for the most field goals without a miss in a game and one bucket away from being in Wilt Chamberlain territory.
Bryant didn’t exactly test the range on his jumper, as he feasted in the restricted area.
It was still quite the outing for the young big man, as Bryant looked right at home causing a ruckus in the painted area.
Jumping to conclusions on Bryant being a steal or something like that might be a bit premature, but he cannot be commended enough for what he brought to the table on Saturday night. With Wall out and Howard still sidelined, Washington needed someone to step up alongside Beal to see out this win. While guys like Jeff Green and Markieff Morris did their part, Bryant was the guy who rose to the occasion.