Wake-up call: Walking tightrope with Beal's minutes

Wake-up call: Walking tightrope with Beal's minutes
January 29, 2014, 8:15 am
Share This Post

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) dribbles the ball against Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30).

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

When it comes to Bradley Beal's minutes, the Wizards keep pushing the limits. He's under a playing time restriction since returning from a stress reaction to his lower right leg more than a month ago, but coach Randy Wittman must balance the need for his scoring and ability to spread the floor but save him to close fourth quarters. 

It's not easy, but Wittman can be seen going to the scorer's table throughout games to see how much time Beal has before he hits 30 minutes. In Tuesday's win at the Golden State Warriors, Beal missed six of his first seven shots in the first half when he played 14 minutes. He scored 18 points in 17 minutes of the second half, when he made three three-pointers to kickstart the fourth quarter in the 88-85 victory. Beal hasn't played more than 31 minutes under the restrictions. 

"I just kept shooting. I had amnesia," Beal said after the game. "I wasn't getting down on myself in the first half because I had good looks. I was taking what the defense was giving me and the shots that I wanted.

"I didn't lose my confidence or anything like that. I knew I had to step up for this team to win."

RELATED: [Instant analysis: Wizards 88, Warriors 85]

Beal tied Stephen Curry with a game-high six turnovers. Two of them were consecutive in the fourth quarter, when Beal was taken out at 6:47 and replaced by John Wall. At 2:40, Beal returned for Nene. Beal missed his next two shots and didn't score again, but Trevor Ariza grabbed on offensive rebound on the second miss and found Wall stepping into the three-point arc for the game-winner.  

"I felt it coming," Beal said of coming out of the game. "I blame myself for a few possessions because I turned the ball over like twice and they definitely capitalized. He took me out. I wasn't mad about it. It's something I have to do it for a few more games and hopefully my minutes will bump up next month."

It worked out because by pulling Beal it allowed him to finish the game on the floor. Of course, if it had gone to overtime -- like last week's 113-111 loss to the Boston Celtics -- Beal would've been remanded to the bench. 

Beal told CSN before this four-game road trip began that he expected to his minutes to increase as early as Saturday, when the Wizards return home vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder pending evaluation by team physicians.  

More Team Talk