Bradley Beal's season took off at Madison Square Garden

Bradley Beal's season took off at Madison Square Garden
April 3, 2014, 4:00 pm
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(Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

Probably too much attention is being paid to Bradley Beal and how he's shooting. He's been able to stay on the court, and be effective for the Wizards, by doing other things. The shooting stroke may be back.

Beal was near perfect in Wednesday's playoff-clinching win vs. the Boston Celtics at Verizon Center. He made 7 of 8 shots, all four free throws and his only three-pointer for 19 points. He was perfect until he missed his final attempt. 

"Yeah, I was pissed," said Beal, who literally bit his bottom lip in disgust with himself. "I was mad I missed the last one."

He had a streak of 16 consecutive games shooting less than 50%, but he went 8-for-12 vs. the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. He has been playing through a right hip pointer, and may finally be back at full health. 

"I was just patient. I took my shots when I was open. Got to the basket a little bit," said Beal, who exited the game with five minutes left in the first quarter without attempting a shot. "Every other starter was scoring the ball. I didn't even have to shoot. ... When guys are hot you give them the ball."

That's bad news for the New York Knicks, who are battling for their playoff lives in the No. 8 spot. The last time Beal set foot in Madison Square Garden, he set it on fire in the fourth quarter.

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Returning from a stress injury in his right leg Dec. 16, Beal nailed consecutive three-pointers and had the game-winning layup for the Wizards that marked a significant turnaround in their season. Beal scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Both of Beal's three-pointers came in the final 2:02 and over the outstretched arm of 7-footer Andrea Bargnani. 

Since that time Beal's season has taken many twists and downward turns. He has had to sit in the clutch part of games that the Wizards ended up losing because he was playing under a minutes restriction. He twisted his right ankle badly and had to be carried off the court but didn't miss game time. Then came the hip pointer that forced him out of action, but he returned after halftime.

Beal also slipped on a wet floor and fell hard last weekend and was slow to get up, but he avoided another injury. So maybe his season is starting to look up. 

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