Beal impresses, but Wizards fall to Knicks

Beal impresses, but Wizards fall to Knicks
October 11, 2012, 9:45 pm
Share This Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- About 90 minutes before the Wizards took the floor Thursday night at Verizon Center, coach Randy Wittman was asked what he’d like to see from rookie guard Bradley Beal in his Washington debut.

 “I want Bradley to continue to grow,” Wittman said. “He’s got to stay aggressive.

“Sometimes Bradley can defer to others. He’s 19 years old and that’s happened. He has the ability to not only score points but make plays; make the right decisions. I want to see him grow in that area.”

Beal played 25:35 minutes off the bench in his home preseason debut for the Wizards but looked surprisingly comfortable against New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony and fading superstar Jason Kidd.

Taken with the third pick of the 2012 draft, Beal scored 15 points, dished out five assists, picked up a steal and committed just one turnover while Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 17 points in a 108-101 loss to the Knicks in front of a sparse but spirited crowd of 9,627.

Martel Webster [12 points] and Kevin Seraphin [10 points] also reached double digits for the Wizards.

The Wizards fell to 0-2 in the preseason, which continues Saturday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. The Knicks were led by Steve Novak’s 21 points, all of them from 3-point range. J.R. Smith added 20 points and Anthony 17 in the Knicks’ preseason debut.

During the Wizards’ summer league, Beal had a tendency to play a passive game, passing up open shots. The Wizards coaching staff has asked the rookie to be more assertive in the preseason and in limited action against the Knicks he was.

Twice in the first half Beal drove hard to the basket to draw fouls. With 3:28 remaining in the second quarter Beal darted into the paint, drew a foul on Chris Copeland and drained the free throw for a three-point play and a 46-44 lead.

He followed by snapping a cross-court pass to Shelvin Mack for an open jumper and a 48-44 lead, then drove the lane again for another foul on Copeland and made both free throws.
“More than likely, when you bump a defender, the foul’s going to be called on the defender,” Beal said. “That’s what refs have always told me. I need to draw the contact and get the ball to the rim as best I can.”

Beal finished the night 6-for-7 from the line and 4-for-9 from the field, including 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.

“It was the same feeling I had in Charlotte,” Beal said, “I wasn’t nervous. I was just calm and relaxed and let the game come to me. … There’s hardly ever a time I have a wide-open three. It’s very difficult to get a three off or a shot off, period.”

The Wizards played a far more disciplined game than their preseason opener in Charlotte on Sunday when they sent the Bobcats to the foul line 46 times. Thursday night the Knicks went to the line 28 times, making 22 of them. The Wizards went 24-for-28 from the line and 33-for-78 from the field.

The Wizards erased a 17-point deficit in the first half and trailed 82-20 after three quarters. The Knicks ran away from them in the final quarter, outscoring them 28-21.