Rookie Beal helps in igniting Wizards
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.
MILWAUKEE — After missing five games with a sprained right wrist, it took rookie Bradley Beal just two games to score a season-high in points. And he did it with his right wrist taped.
The former Gator scored 28 points as the Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-90 Monday night, earning a rare road win.
“I felt good, my wrist is feeling a lot better,” Beal said. “Probably the biggest thing is I wanted is to shoot with confidence. My teammates did a great job of finding me and I was able to knock down some shots.”
Beal, who played one year at Florida before being selected by Washington with the third pick in last year's draft,, made 10 of his 17 shots — including 4 of 5 from behind the arc.
“I just happened to be open tonight,” Beal said.
Washington has won four consecutive games and 11 of 18. The Wizards are 10-7 since John Wall returned from injury and won for only the fourth time in 25 road games this year.
“With tape on it, it looks like he's still injured,” Wall said of Beal. “He got good looks early and he made them. We just kept coming to him and finding him.”
Washington coach Randy Wittman said the key to the game was good ball movement that led to 29 assists.
“That tells the story for us,” Wittman said. “When we're in the high 20s, we're pretty good.”
Monta Ellis had 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee, and Ersan Ilyasova added 19 points and nine rebounds. Leading-scorer Brandon Jennings was held to seven points, missing 14 of 17 shots.
The Bucks scored 32 points in the first quarter, but had trouble scoring the rest of the way. Milwaukee was the ninth consecutive team to score less than 100 points against the Wizards.
“We got after them,” Wittman said. “After that first quarter, I thought we did settle down with our defensive scheme and planted our feet.”
Milwaukee missed 50 of 73 shots after the first quarter.
“We had a bunch of good looks tonight and we just could not make them,” Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said. “Anytime that you shoot only 37 percent from the field you are going to have a rough night, especially when the other team is shooting over 50 (percent).”
The Bucks have dropped four consecutive games and six of seven, but hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They didn't lose any ground to the team closest to them as Philadelphia lost 107-90 to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Right now we are spotty,” Boylan said of his team's energy. “We are not consistently bringing the type of energy that we need to win a game. Tonight we had some spurts and a little pop at times, however we have had a hard time sustaining it in the last few games.”
The Wizards scored nine consecutive points to take control of the game midway through the fourth quarter. Nene scored the first five points, A.J. Price scored on a layup and Beal capped the streak with two free throws to make it 90-78 with 6:35 left.
The Bucks pulled to 96-90 on a 3 by Jennings with 2:35 left, but Nene backed down the smaller Ilyasova and scored on a layup with 2:15 left to make it 98-90.
Nene then easily intercepted a pass from Samuel Dalembert under the basket. Wall was fouled and converted both free throws to put Washington up 10 with 1:45 to go.
“We missed a lot of free throws and wide open shots, but it's not really an excuse for us,” Ilyasova said. “When you're on the floor you have to make good shots.”
Nene dominated down low with Milwaukee forward Larry Sanders missing his third consecutive game due to a bone bruise in his lower back. He had 21 points on 10 of 13 shooting with 13 rebounds and six assists.
“He stabilized a lot of different things for us,” Wittman said of Nene.
Beal scored 16 points in the first half and Washington led 55-47 at halftime. Beal's 3-pointer made it 47-44 with 3:24 left in the second quarter.
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