When the Wizards point to the turnaround in their season, they'll reference the players-only meeting after the Nov. 16 home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime. Yes, they'd squandering a 15-point lead and allowed a team that was winless on the road upset them at Verizon Center, but it was Bradley Beal's blowup in the tunnel as they exited the court, screaming at teammates for their perceived lack of effort and coach Randy Wittman for ineffective strategies, that signified this was a team in crisis.
Friday, Beal talked to CSN Washington about exactly what took place and how the 20-year-old, in just his second season, showed incredible maturity in the end to help avert an implosion.
"I was just yelling. I was really frustrated because we had a game in our hands -- a big game at that -- it was like we just let one guy beat us," Beal said, alluding to Kyrie Irving tying a career-high with 41 points and dropping the Wizards to 2-7. "I was frustrated with myself, the whole team, the coaches.
"I was yelling at Witt back and forth. All the coaches. We should've sent three people at him and did something different. At time same time when I look back at it, I was kind of like, 'I was out of place a little bit. I was dramatic.' It was out of anger. Once we had that team meeting it was good because we got a lot of things off our chest. We held each other accountable for things. At that point we started taking individual challenges in terms of guarding guys and not letting one person beat us."
Beal, known for his reserved demeanor and affable personality, found Wittman in his office and apologized.
"I'm never that type of player. It just happened," he said. "Afterwards I said, 'Did I really just do that?' I showered and everything and got dressed. He knew. He knew I was just speaking out of anger. I was way out of line. Me being 20 years old, too, acting like a big shot on the team? I shouldn't have done that."
Beal said that was just the second time that he has clashed with a coach. He did it at his high school, Chaminade, in St. Louis.
"It was a game we were playing and he took me out. We were up like 10-plus points in the fourth. The team ended up coming back. When he took me out, I was like, 'Why did you take me out?' He said just sit down and I was like alright," Beal said. "The team ended up coming back and taking the lead and then he wanted to put me back in. I was like, 'You shouldn't have taken me out in the first place.' He sat me back down.
"I think we still ended up winning the game but we got into it a little bit in the locker room. He kicked me off the team for a day. I apologized and came back to the team. So I've had two outbursts in my career.
"I have a killer side. I have a mean side. I think everybody has a pretty mean side. I get it from my Mom more than anything. Sometimes that anger gets the best of me."