Bradley Beal has shown the ability to take over John Wall's role as the set-up man for the Wizards. He's ready to get jumped by the Portland Trail Blazers, similar to what the Oklahoma City Thunder did over the weekend when he was held to seven points and 3-for-12 shooting.
Beal is averaging five assists per game in his last seven, well above his season average of 3.2
The important thing, as Beal sees it, is the Wizards (23-23) won. Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha, a 6-5, long-armed shooting guard who balances the floor because of his defense, hawked Beal. They went over the screens to jump him with double-teams, get the ball out of his hands and live with others beating them.
And that's what happened. Five of Beal's teammates scored in double figures and the ball movement was crisp. They had only 11 turnovers.
The Blazers (34-13) have a lot of options to throw at Beal, a lethal long-range shooter who has gotten used to teams coming up with game plans to nullify his impact.
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Portland has Wesley Matthews at shooting guard who is a solid defender, but also Nicolas Batum, a small forward in the mold of Trevor Ariza -- 6-8, long, versatile and athletic enough to defend smaller perimeter players. He's three inches taller than Matthews.
"Probably, whether they put Batum or Wes, long and physical guys on me, but I rely on my other four guys out there with me," Beal said of the matchups. "It's just not me out there trying to score all the points. I play within the rhythm of the game. If they take things away from me I'm going to take what they give me, get the shots I want or get my teammates involved as best I can.
"That's what makes us a good team. ... We're on the verge of becoming a great team. As long as everybody continues to stick with what they're doing. When teams take me away, that just leaves options for other guys."