As the Wizards attempt to clinch a playoff berth once again against Boston, they are encouraged that Bradley Beal has regained his shooting touch.
One of the few positives that the Wizards could find from their difficult loss in Charlotte was that Beal scored a team-high 20 points and finally ended one of the more troubling shooting stretches of the season. Beal shot 8 for 12 from the floor, which snapped a 16-game streak in which he failed to make at least half of his shots.
“It’s good,” Beal said. “I was in a rhythm, having fun, shooting the ball and my teammates did a good job of setting me up and finding me and whenever I had opportunities, I just let it fly. I was fortunate to be able to knock down some. So I just got to continue to do the same mechanics, have the same rhythm and same confidence moving forward.”
From Feb. 27 to March 29, Beal averaged 16.7 points and shot 38.6 percent from the floor as the Wizards went 9-7. Washington lost to the Bobcats, but Beal was at his best while scoring 12 points during an impressive second quarter in which the team outscored Charlotte, 40-19. Beal thrived with Andre Miller setting him up with open looks.
“Efficient,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “He was a efficient. I don’t him to take a step backward and be gun shy going through it. He’s got to stay aggressive, taking good shots that he works for and it’ll turn. That was better.”
Beal’s stroke as returned a good time, with the Wizards needing one more win – or one more New York Knicks loss – to secure a postseason spot for the first time in six years. The Knicks have won their past two games and the Wizards don’t want to have to hear more questions about having a mental block in getting a needed win.
“I think you guys make more of it than we do,” Beal said. “Just like the .500 thing. But I think at the same time, we put a little pressure on ourselves, but it’s more anxiety, just the fact that it’s right in front of us and we’ve got to do so.”
Wittman didn’t deny that the players are aware of the task at hand. “They are going to think about it because you guys are going to ask about it every day,” he said with a laugh. “Let’s go win a game tomorrow. We get in the playoffs. Then I don’t have to hear you knuckleheads anymore.”
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WJFK-106.7 MF, WFED-1500 AM).
Here’s some reading to get you ready for tonight’s game: