Washington Wizards fans had already become impatient with the team after starting the 2016-17 season 0-3. Prior to their season opener against Toronto on Wednesday, center Marcin Gortat claimed how the game was a “must-win.” I’m not sure that game three of 82 would be categorized as such, but the point behind Gortat’s comments was that the team couldn’t dig themselves a hole early on in the season.
The Wizards ultimately lost to Toronto on Wednesday, making last night’s game even bigger. The bulk of the production came from the starters with little help from the bench rotation. It is starting to become a routine thing that needs to be fixed, and head coach Scott Brooks has every intention on doing so. But last night, an explosive performance from Bradley Beal was enough to get the Wizards their first win of the season.
Beal scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half and shot 6-of-16 from the field, 3-of-8 from three, and a career-high 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. Leading up to last night’s performance, Beal had averaged 14 points on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Beal has the ability to go for these explosive performances on any given night. The hope is that he can take this game and continue to build off of it going forward. John Wall and Markieff Morris have carried the load in the first three games, so when Beal has a great game, the chances of the Wizards coming out with a win increase dramatically.
Beal will counted on even more going into tonight’s game against the Orlando Magic. Brooks announced after last night’s game that Wall would sit out the back end of back-to-backs as part of his rehabilitation process still stemming from the procedures he had on both knees dating back to the summer. If the Wizards want to spark a winning streak, it starts tonight. You don’t have to look any further than Beal in terms of the x-factor to get that winning streak established.