It's been a rough few days for 19-year-old rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal. The tenacious St. Louis native chipped parts of his two front teeth in practice yesterday, the evidence embedded in Cartier Martin's forehead. Friday night, he had a head first meeting with the hardwood, in the Wizards 119-113 win over the Denver Nuggets. Following a Ty Lawson pump fake under the basket late in the fourth quarter, Bradley bit on the bait, resulting in a landing that prompted all in attendance at the Verizon center to stand up (a feat that is rarely achieved).
"Nothing hurts, I'm fine. It's been a tough week, especially yesterday. It is what it is, it happens," said Beal.
The courage shown by the rookie, who has now played more NBA games then he had in college, is reflective of the teams overall effort Friday night. In a game the Wizards once led by 18, Denver got as close as to within two in the final minute. Thanks to a clutch John Wall jumper stretching the Wizards lead to four, 115-111 with :13 seconds on the clock, Washington prevailed in sweeping their season series against the Nuggets.
It goes without saying that collective team efforts aid wins in this league but the Wizards took that approach to new heights against the Nuggets. Seven players scored in double figures, as well as John Wall, Emeka Okafur, and Bradley Beal each posting double-doubles. "It was good to see us get back to playing our game. Everybody contributed," said coach Wittman.
The pace of the game resembled that of a Ping-Pong match in the constant back and fourth pace between the two teams. Rather then layovers between serves, the 70 free throws taken resulted in more breakage time then timeouts. As the Nuggets are the third highest scoring team in the league, the Wizards made an effort to push the tempo and take advantage of the Nuggets weak perimeter defense.
"Tonight the Washington Wizards were a better shooting team than us and it showed. This is probably the fourth or fifth time a team has dominated from the perimeter and beat us," said Nuggets Coach George Karl.
Time and time again, Wall's brilliance was on display as he would penetrate the defense and find shooters stationed along the perimeter. AJ Price, frequently one of those shooters dropped four three-pointers and did a decent job of staying in front of Ty Lawson. Okafur's 17-point performance came primarily from second chance opportunities, but it was the game leading 13 rebounds that had the most impact on the game. Nene added 14 points, outplaying spark plug Kenneth Faried and the man he was traded for, Ja Vale Mc Gee.
McGee was shipped out of Washington around this time last year, right before the trade deadline, a trade Washington clearly got the better hand in. Nene bests Mc gee in all meaningful statistics, (ppg,rpg, & apg) and plays more quality minutes for his club.
For Mc Gee, the recipient of constant boos all night, playing against the team that drafted him with the 18th overall pick, this was just another game in another city, "It really wasn't emotional. It was all business just like coming into any other city. For some reason I have selective memory, so it wasn't like I was having flashbacks or anything."
For Mc Gee, not having flashbacks of his time in Washington is probably a good thing: