Top Stories

Bradley Beal delivers as go-to guy in Washington Wizards' road win

From NBA media reports

No John Wall, on most nights, might mean no shot at winning for the Washington Wizards. Unless the stark reality of missing their All-NBA point guard grabbed his teammates’ attention sufficiently to elevate their performances out of desperation or even panic.

* Recap: Wizards 107, Raptors 99

That — along with increased opportunity and touches — explains the Wizards’ handling of the Raptors in Toronto. Bradley Beal, Wall’s sharpshooting backcourt mate, picked up any slack by scoring 38 points against their East rivals, to ease at least the psychic pain of the point guard’s aching left shoulder. Candance Buckner of The Washington Post was on hand:

“It’s always tough because he’s a great floor general,” Beal said about playing without Wall. “The biggest thing [was] I knew they would be keying on me, one way or another. As best as I could I had to get some shots and be as aggressive as possible.”

During the times when Washington needed stability, Beal provided a sense of calm. As Toronto cut the Wizards’ lead to seven late in the third quarter, Beal responded by drilling a corner three in transition, then hitting a jumper in the paint as part of an 8-0 run

Though Beal met double-team defenses in the fourth quarter, he gracefully maneuvered around each obstacle — leaning back while sticking an eight-foot jumper over two Raptors, then swiftly transitioning from a DeMar DeRozan miss and pulling up for the quick three-pointer. Even a longtime teammate was in awe.

“Hands down he’s the best, probably go-to guy at the two spot in the league. I mean, he’s just a freak right now,” Marcin Gortat said. “Some shots that he’s making around the basket, attacking the rim, I’m having a great position because I know it’s going to be a rebound for me, but he’s just making them. With fouls, without fouls . . . he’s playing completely at a different level.

“He’s a mad man,” Gortat concluded.

* * *