Game On: Bradley Beal shoots out of slump

Game On: Bradley Beal shoots out of slump
April 2, 2014, 11:30 am
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(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the few bright spots remaining from the wreckage of Monday's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats is Bradley Beal, who escaped a shooting funk for the Wizards. 

Beal, who has played through right ankle sprain and hip pointer recently, went 8-for-12 for 20 points. It was his first time shooting 50% or better in 17 games. 

"It was good. I was just in a rhythm," Beal said. "I was having fun shooting the ball. I just let it fly." 

Beal is a long way from what he was in December, when he returned from a nine-game absence to show out at Madison Square Garden. Then, playing on a minutes restriction because he'd just recovered from a stress injury in his lower right leg, Beal made consecutive three-pointers in the waning minutes and drove past Beno Udrih for the game-winning basket to beat the New York Knicks. 

[RELATED: Wizards need to learn to finish games]

Just before the All-Star break almost two months ago, Beal set a career-high with 37 points on 15-for-24 shooting. 

If only the Wizards could get that Beal back in time for the postseason.

"He was efficient," coach Randy Wittman said of Beal's play in Charlotte. "I don't want him to take a step backwards and be gun-shy. He's got to stay aggressive, stay taking good shots, taking the shots he works for. It'll turn."

A win Wednesday vs. the Boston Celtics would put the Wizards in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. 

Said Beal: "For us to be able do it ourselves, be able to clinch the spot rather than rely on another team is a big accomplishment for us."

TV: The pregame show Wizards Central is on CSN at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tipoff from Verizon Center at 7 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately follows the conclusion. Radio: 106.7 FM. 1500 AM. 

Last game: Wizards (38-36) lost at Charlotte Bobcats on Monday; Celtics (23-51) lost at Chicago Bulls 94-80 on Monday, their 10th defeat in 11 games.

Last meeting: Boston won 113-111 OT at Washington on Jan. 22, with undrafted rookie PG Phil Pressey scoring a career-high 20 points. Boston entered the new year having lost 11 of 12. Season series: Tied 1-1.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Celtics –- PG Rajon Rondo, SG Avery Bradley, SF Jeff Green, PF Brandon Bass, C Kris Humphries.

X-factors: Rondo didn't play in the last game because it was the second of a back-to-back and should be available. ... Bradley injured his sore right Achilles and his status isn't clear. 

Around the bend: The Wizards likely will practice Thursday before leaving for New York, where they'll face the Knicks for the final time this season at Madison Square Garden (CSN, 7:30).

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