Wake-up call: Wall, Beal embrace the playoff grind

Wake-up call: Wall, Beal embrace the playoff grind
April 22, 2014, 6:00 am
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How will Bulls adjust to stop Nene in Game 2?

CHICAGO -- Why do people keep prefacing questions about playoff rookies John Wall and Bradley Beal like this: "Since John and Bradley didn't have a good Game 1 ...?" Not only did the Wizards win, but both were instrumental in the 13-point comeback. That they shot just 7-for-25 from the field is irrelevant. A boxscore only tells a snapshot of what happened in the game and hardly the entire story.

"I don't think they had bad games. The only thing is the game (determines) what you can do. John and Bradley didn't do bad. I don't know who said they did bad," said Nene, who led all scorers with 24 points and was the best player on the floor in that 102-93 victory Sunday. "At the end of the game when they needed to score, they scored. ... You never know who's going to step up or not. We don't have a player that's going to score 20 points each game. Let's see what the game is going to choose."

The Bulls, like most teams, have scouted Beal and are determined to run him off the three-point line. He only attempted two, and both were good looks. Sure, he shot 3-for-11 overall, but he didn't force anything. He scored seven of his 13 points in the second half, manufactured his offense from the foul line where he shot 7-for-7, led everyone with seven assists and with the Wizards trailing 87-86 with 5:27 left he pinned a shot by D.J. Augustin at the rim for a block. 

Beal and Wall had shot 50% each vs. the Bulls in three regular season meetings, two of which were victories.

"I liked the shots I took. I'm capable of making them," said Wall, who only had one of his three turnovers in the second half. "We played great defense. We moved the ball. If my shot's not falling I'm not going to try to force it and take 20-something shots and put us in a bind."

[RELATED: Nene's defensive state of mind]

Beal's approach will be similar. "We know those are shots we normally make. We can use this as an excuse that it's the first-game jitters and hopefully get them out of the way," he said. "Then hopefully next game we can come out, knock them down and continue to take the same shots we've been taking. Don't try to force up anything. Just keep the ball moving and if you're open, shoot it."

Beal locked down Augustin, who torched the Wizards for 25 points in 30 minutes in their last regular season meeting. Augustin shot 1-for-6 in the second half where he scored four of his 16 points. 

"I think I grew more in my career just realizing that if it's not falling, if things aren't going my way on the offensive end I can still play defense and contribute to the win as best I can," Beal said. "My shooting will come. I'm not really worried about that."