The Washington Wizards are now 2-0 on the season, neither of the contests showed great defense. Yet, the Wizards showed the poise and swagger needed to rally and then close the door as the road team. Wall and Beal are showing the potential they have for earning that title of the best backcourt in the league, they are now the unquestioned leaders of this team and they own the title. They beat the Bucks 118-113 after trailing by 11 with a little over nine minutes left in the game. Wall had 19 points and 10 assists, while Beal had 26 points, 14 of which came in the final quarter.
Wall is truly one of the league’s maestros. It’s clear that John Wall has taken his game to a new level, some of which can be attributed to the work he’s put in during this offseason to round out his game and become a more dangerous scorer. The other part of it is the new found freedom he has in an up-tempo offense, Randy Wittman has made the decision to have Washington become an up-and-down team and they have the luxury of having one of the most dangerous guards in the open court in the league. He is also second to only Chris Paul in the way he runs the show, it’s time he gets the recognition for being one of the game’s few conductors. In time, folks will see.
Beal is a problem. While Bradley is still struggling to turn down his long-two attempts, he has been taking more three point attempts and that was evident last night. The young shooting guard took six attempts from beyond the arc and drained three of them during the big rally that gave Washington control of the game. There was a sequence in which he hit back-to-back triples with a Sessions three in between. He’s definitely well on his way to showing everyone the type of player he can be when healthy, now it’s just about staying on the court.
Assertive Beal pays dividends. One of the biggest differences is that Beal is extremely confident this season. There’s a legit swagger that he’s walking around with, he dropped the proverbial mic in the post game interview. When asked about his mind state the youngster stated rather simply, “Nobody can stop me”. In just two games on the year, he’s taken about 17 shots per contest and is averaging 25 points while shooting 50% from the field and 50% from deep. It’s a bit much to expect that three point percentage to stay at 50%, but keep in mind in a down year last season the kid shot 40% from that range. He’s a different guy this season.
Dudley shows his worth. He hasn’t played much, but free agent acquisition Jared Dudley played a huge role in the Washington rally. He had just six points and six rebounds, but his presence certainly extends far beyond the nightly box score. He is a solid defender, but more importantly is hat he offers to spacing. He can’t be left alone, opposing teams can ill afford to leave a career 39% three point shooter open. With him playing that small-ball four, it spread the Bucks out even further allowing Wall more space to drive and dish. Jared is one of the x-factors this season, even though it won’t always be seen in the box score.
Balance. The Wizards offense is a bit ahead of their defense at this point, it will take some time for that side of the ball to catch up. As Wall mentioned a few days ago, it’s about finding that “balance” as the floor general referenced the reigning champion Golden State Warriors who have a high octane offense and a suffocating defense.
Washington’s next game will also be their first home game, tonight at the Verizon Center when they host the New York Knicks.