Yes, the Wizards won. Kelly Oubre made his return to DC and that was not the only exciting thing that happened, it was also a historic night for a special someone.
While Kelly Oubre returning was the main topic about Saturday’s triple-overtime thriller against the Phoenix Suns, something even more impressive happened. Thomas Bryant played minutes. And he made the most out of them. He had a big night, scoring 31 points on 14-14 shooting during the 149-146 victory. To put it into context, this is how historic Bryant’s performance was last night.
This is only the seventh time this has happened
Only seven times. Gary Payton was the most recent to accomplish this feat when he went 14-for-14 on January 5, 1995, 25 years ago. The others? Wilt Chamberlain has achieved this feat four times in the 1960s which includes a record 18-for-18 game on February 24, 1967.
“It’s amazing,” said Bryant. “I was just in the flow of the game. I just let the game come to me, and as soon as I felt like I was in the rhythm of it, I just went out and took it.”
In Wizards standards, this is even more historic
Not only did Bryant have a very historic night when it came to the NBA, it was even more historic in Wizards history. The last time a player in the Bullets/Wizards era had a perfect shooting night with at least 14 attempts was Bailey Howell. He went 14-for-14 from the field for the Baltimore Bullets on January 3, 1965.
Bryant also got the respect of his teammates following the game. Bradley Beal called him the team’s MVP. “He was the MVP of the game,” Beal said of Bryant during an interview on NBATV. “Everybody wants to talk about my triple-double. … TB was by far the MVP tonight. He played his role, he played extremely hard. Roll to the basket, finish at the rim, got rebounds when we needed them.”
Beal acknowledged that he had a triple-double but thought that Bryant had the more valuable buckets when it mattered. If he can continue to be a force in the paint, then the Wizards could finally have the athletic big man that this team has been dying for.
Bryant had 13 points in regulation, then caught fire late in the first overtime. He scored 16 of 18 points for the Wizards over the first and second extra periods. Most Wizards fans would go on to say that Thomas Bryant is even more important now that the team has traded Jason Smith away. Not only that, Ian Mahinmi has struggled to crack the rotation because of his inability to stay in games. If this is the first sign of Thomas Bryant’s road to greatness, then Wizards fans should strap in because this will be one exciting ride.