Wizards’ Beal not fazed by playoff pressure

May 4

Bradley Beal averaged 19.8 points a game in the first-round series. (Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bradley Beal is so mature and composed on the court, some of the guard’s teammates didn’t even realize how precocious the Wizards’ second-year player actually is.

“I didn’t know Brad was that young,” forward Drew Gooden said. “I thought he was 22, 23. I call him ‘Young Pro.’ The sky is the limit for Bradley the way he pushes the game.”

The 20-year-old shooting guard has come into his own during his second year on the Wizards, overcoming an injury-plagued rookie season to blossom in the playoffs.

“I haven’t really bought into this being my coming out,” Beal said. “I’m just focused on what I need to do and what this team needs to do to move forward.”

Against the Bulls, Beal averaged 19.8 points, 4.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds ­— numbers that were all up from his impressive regular-season totals — and his clutch play in Game 2 helped swing the series in Washington’s favor.

“Brad’s made a good step this year,” coach Randy Wittman said. “Basically, as a rookie, you never know what you’re going to get out of a 19-year-old kid coming into this league. He handled that as well as I could expect. This year, he’s more mature, he’s grown up a little bit and he’s added to his game.”

Beal has teamed with backcourt mate John Wall to give Washington the kind of dynamic duo that has developed into the envy of the league. Their next challenge is continuing to excel as the stakes get higher.

“We just love to win,” Beal said. “Me and John, we take it personally every single night against the matchups that we have. We have to come out every night ready to go. Just moving forward, in these playoffs, we embrace the pressure and the challenges that we face.”

For the Wizards-Pacers series preview, click here

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