The chemistry between Andre Miller and Bradley Beal is evident, and it was on full display Monday with an end-to-end pass that was the play of the game.
Miller rebounded a missed jumper from the Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers, who was being run at by Beal. Beal kept going, got behind the safety valve in Toney Douglas who was at the top of the key and responsible for covering leaks downcourt. Miller's heave landed perfectly onto Beal's fingertips. He took one step, got the layup and the foul from Douglas. Beal made the free throw and it pushed the lead to 59-39 in the second quarter.
"It was a post route," Beal said to a locker room full of laughs. "The safety bit on the ball fake so I was able to beat the corner, get free. Touchdown. ... Hopefully, the Redskins will pick me up."
Beal usually goes out late in the first quarter and returns to begin the second to share the backcourt with Miller. There's no drop-off when John Wall exits, which was a major problem for the second unit when Eric Maynor failed to live up to expectations before he was traded Feb. 20. It was a three-way deal that brought in Miller from the Denver Nuggets.
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With Wall and Beal on the court, field-goal shooting is 46.5 percent and three-point shooting 39.7 percent. The Wizards produce 55.2 points with that combination in the lineup and are plus-1.2
With Miller and Beal, they shoot 48.2 percent and 38.9 percent from long range. The Wizards produce 24.5 points and are plus-2.1.
The biggest difference? Ball security. They average 7.8 turnovers with Wall-Beal and just 2.9 turnovers with Miller-Beal. Of course, part of that can be attributed to time on the court together, 26.4 minutes per game vs. 12.
But Miller tends to get teammates easy buckets, and Beal can keep his rhythm from when he closes out games with the first unit. While Wall advances the ball with the dribble because of his lightening speed, Miller does it with the pass. Relax, and Miller will catch a defense off-guard.
"That's definitely one of his biggest attributes, for him to find guys in transition with not even dribbling," Beal said. "I didn't even know it was coming. Just the fact that he has that high IQ, he's been in the league for a long time so he knows everything. When he advances the ball it spaces the floor our more and creates havoc of the defense."