Despite Bradley Beal’s 28-point outburst in the Wizards’ 102-90 win on Monday in Milwaukee, Coach Randy Wittman said he still plans to bring the rookie shooting guard off the bench behind Garrett Temple on Wednesday in Detroit.
“Probably, then we’ll obviously look,” Wittman said. “We’re playing on a good roll right now, a good rhythm and that always changes. I tell all these guys, you always have to be ready. At a certain point, something is going to change again. I’m going to change something again.”
Wittman has had no problem switching up his rotations and starting lineups, but doesn’t want to tinker too much for the last game before the all-star break and the Wizards on a season-best four-game winning streak.
Beal will play his third game since returning from a sprained right wrist that sidelined him for five games, but he is not complaining about his role. He has started in all but four of his 43 games this season.
“I’m fine with the position I’m in,” Beal said. “Coming off the bench and doing whatever coach wants to do. Because I’m fine with it. I’m going to bring the same energy as if I was starting. It’s really no big difference.”
Beal played 36 minutes against the Bucks and the Wizards outscored Milwaukee by 27 points when he was on the floor. He also had the highest scoring total of a 19-year-old player off the bench since Ricky Davis scored 32 points for the Charlotte Hornets in 1999.
“For him, for a rookie, that’s great,” point guard John Wall said. “Good to see him get a rhythm, because I know it’s frustrating sitting out, watching.”
The Wizards trailed 30-20 when Beal entered the game in the first quarter, but he immediately scored seven points during a 9-2 run to end the period. He hit a three-pointer, then a jumper and later stole the ball from Bucks center Ekpe Udoh and wisely slowed down to draw contact from Monta Ellis before making two free throws.
After Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova tied the game at 44 on a tip-in, Beal drained a three-pointer, then intercepted a pass by Joel Przybilla and went up strong to give the Wizards a lead they never relented. Beal finished 10 of 17 from the floor and connected on four three-pointers, surpassing his combined total in field goals made, three-pointers made and points from his previous three games.
“I think it was just my day. It felt good. Gave me that extra confidence I need. Gets me back in my rhythm that I had before I was hurt,” Beal said. “I didn’t lose confidence at all. The biggest thing was my wrist. It had me forgetting about my wrist and just shooting the ball.”
Beal plans on avoiding the protective tape that he said affected him while he was playing in previous games. “I see it and it reminds me not to do anything stupid but it feels a lot better now, so there is no need for the tape. I feel no resistance when I’m shooting.”
Feeling better after his brief time away, Beal admitted that he was frustrated that he had to sit out. “It [stinks],” Beal said, “but it’s really tough to see the team going through what they were going through. They always play hard, play smart. We just got to continue to do that when I’m back as well.”
With the team playing so well, Beal is actually disappointed to see the all-star break coming.
“It’s kind of ruining our momentum,” said Beal, who participate in the Rising Stars Challenge in Houston on Friday. “So I just have to keep working on my game and when we get back, keep elevating my game even more.”