Gators in the NBA: Beal, Wizards struggling down the stretch

Bradley Beal
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal runs down the court in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Five teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference have clinched playoff spots and the Washington Wizards are not among them. Bradley Beal and the Wiz’s woes this week were punctuated by a stunning loss to the Knicks Sunday when Beal managed just 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting. The loss dropped the Wizards to sixth place in the east and finally have looked like a team that misses John Wall. The good news is that the starting point guard is expected back this week after missing 25 games and logged a full (and loud) practice on Saturday with the team.
“He’s still loud and energetic. That’s just who he is. I think it’s definitely an energy we missed,” Beal said. “Sometimes I tell him he’s a little too loud. But nah, he’s good. It’s good to see him back. I think the team was happy to see him.”
Beal should be happiest of all to see Wall return as his points per game have gone down while his minutes have shot up during Wall’s absence.

Around the NBA, Thunder forward Corey Brewer saw an overall dip in production from this week to last but did record multiple steals in two of the team’s three games. He is still getting much more playing time as a member of the Thunder than he did in L.A. in a role that will likely continue into the playoffs.
Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been in Dallas’ starting five in five of the six games since he’s been back after returning from a 50-plus game absence due to injury. With the Mavs eliminated from making the playoffs, this move is likely just a way to give the young forward some NBA game experience.
Heat forward Udonis Haslem recorded two points, two assists and a block in Miami’s 129-102 blowout win over the Wizards this week, marking season-highs in rebounds and assists for the veteran.
Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons has averaged 14 minutes per game this month and has been playing pretty regularly by his standards. The seven-year vet scored 13 points and made two steals in a losing effort against Brooklyn and made all three of his 3-point attempts in the game. His 13 points were the most Parsons has scored since December 6 when he put up 15 against the Raptors.
Magic forward Marreese Speights scored 10 points in a loss to the 76ers this week. It was Speights’ only action of the week and just the third game he’s played in this month. On a much sadder note than the Magic’s pathetic season, the personal matter Speights was attending to last month that caused his absence was the passing of his older sister. Read the touching story here by John Denton.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Boston Celtics
Al Horford (C)
Dallas Mavericks
Dorian Finney-Smith (F)
Los Angeles Lakers
Corey Brewer (F)
Memphis Grizzlies
Chandler Parsons (F)
Miami Heat
Udonis Haslem (F)
New York Knicks
Joakim Noah (C)
Orlando Magic
Marreese Speights (F)
Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal (G)
Devin Robinson (F) – Westchester Knicks