Washington Wizards goaltender Bradley Beal pondered the matter for a split second, his eyes passing beyond the small flock of journalists in front of him and the team's practice field.
The seven-year-old NBA veteran was questioned about his mental approach to the game without his team-mate John Wall, as was the case on Wednesday night against Atlanta, and in the 41 games that Wall missed the season last because of a left knee surgery. and rehabilitation.
"I just trust my teammates," Beal told the Wizards practice center on Friday, drawing his attention to the group. "I'm just playing the same way as if John were playing. Of course, I have to be a lot more aggressive and I think I can not do it myself, and that's it. This is the realization that I will not win this game on my own and that I have to trust my teammates and rely on them to make games, and rely on them to bring down the shots and get them stops for the defense as well as me. "
Wall has not traveled with the team to Atlanta for personal reasons, and it is unclear when he will come back. Without walls, Beal assumed the offensive burden of the Wizards' 131-117 victory over the Hawks. The 25-year-old scored 36 points, a high in the season, nine assists and six rebounds, allowing Washington to extend his three-game winning streak. The Wizards will face the Cavaliers Saturday in Cleveland.
Wednesday's game was the first missed wall when the Wizards 11-14 left. Without a wall, assistant coach Scott Brooks tweaked his starting lineup against the Hawks, starting with three goaltenders at Beal, Austin Rivers and Tomas Satoransky.
"Everyone needs to step in when it's out," Beal said of Wall. "It carries such an offensive charge to shoot everyone, to attack the basket, to reach the line of free throws and to create for everyone."
Wall did not train with the team on Friday in Washington and Brooks did not say he would play against the Cavaliers. Brooks said he spoke to Wall over the past two days and said, "Everyone was good." As Wall's status is still uncertain, Beal could again be seen as the bearer of the team's offensive production. The seventh-year guard quietly averaged 22.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.
"I had to have a match like that, I guess," Beal said of his performance in Atlanta. "It's a bit of a mentality when we sometimes have rest evenings or more difficult evenings; we always say we are due for one, and I guess it was just that moment. It's definitely a good game on which to build and keep momentum. "
Building on last season's experience, Beal said he understood that he needed to be a bit more aggressive in the absence of Wall. He insisted on the importance of being smart about mistakes and more aware of his decision-making on the ground, not playing the ball and "letting the game show up to me and nothing." impose".
Assistant striker Markieff Morris said he saw Beal's flash every day, but the team knew Beal had to be more aggressive on and off the ball without Wall finding himself on the pitch. .
"I thought he was going for 50, but he cut short," Morris said. "[Almost] at 40. Same thing, though. "
With Beal, the least flagrant of the two guards, his full game is sometimes overlooked. Brooks said it was "good for him to go bankrupt and have this type of game," but he still wants to see a Beal improvement behind the three-point circle. Beal has an average of 2.2 points at three points per game, while he's trying an average of 6.9.
"He definitely deserved a big offensive game," Brooks said. "He's fighting. What I like about Brad, is that he is a versatile player. He may have a bad shooting night – and we do not want to – but he can have one and still have an impact on our team with his defense and ability to create games in general. I think the last [few] years ago, he really improved the way he played. "
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