Another #SoWizards Ending: Bradley Beal’s Missed Opportunity at the Rim
As Washington’s dreary season slogs along, faithful followers of this 2-15 team should realize that no loss is a surprise anymore. Blowouts, overtime defeats, missed game-winners, unsuccessful comebacks, and so many—nay, too many—“moral victories.” Even the Wizards’ two wins caused discomfort throughout their conclusions. Personally, I expect the worst and then laugh at the absurdity of the outcomes to mask my disappointed sorrow.
Twitter hashtags #SoWizards and #BecauseWizards exist for a reason. And, somehow, the Wizards found yet another unique way to lose an NBA contest on Saturday night, falling to Golden State, 101-97. This squad continues to be stricken by late-game calamity.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry made two free throws to put Warriors up three points, 99-96, with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Warriors then wisely fouled Wizards guard Bradley Beal on the floor before he was able to get a potential game-tying 3-point shot off. Randy Wittman acknowledged in post game presser that it was a wise strategy employed by the Warriors since Washington was out of timeouts. Beal was surprised by the foul, believing that he was in the act of shooting.
“I didn’t know they were going to foul. I thought he was going to let me shoot, but the ref called it. He said that he called it before I shot it. But I didn’t take another dribble, so I thought it was three shots. … It was a smart foul because you shoot two free throws.”
With four seconds on the clock, Beal rolled in the first free throw to cut Golden State’s lead to two, 99-97. Washington’s only chance was for Beal to miss the second free throw on purpose and hope for an offensive put-back.
“I look over to the coaches to see what they wanted me to do,” said Beal. “Everyone was like ‘miss it, miss it’ so I was like ‘OK.’ ”
Beal glanced the free throw slightly off the rim to the left, corralled his own rebound, and then missed a very close shot. The Warriors gathered the loose ball, got fouled and made both free throws to ice the victory. I warned ya, #SoWizards.
A stunned home crowd gasped in disbelief with many holding both hands on back of their heads as a dazed Beal looked shell shocked that he did not convert the easy bunny to send the game into overtime.
It was hard to tell if Beal’s attempt was partially blocked and evidence was inconclusive to whether he got hit or not, but Beal admitted that he likely got away with crossing the free throw line too soon.
“It was kind of a lane violation on me, so I was hesitant to go in and then the ball just fell into my hands,” he said afterward. “I just missed the layup … I was right there, honestly. Whether I got blocked or got fouled, it was a clean layup I had, I should have made it.”
When Warriors forward David Lee, who attended the same high school and college as Beal, ran into him in the hallway after the game, he greeted Beal by telling him that he committed a lane violation. Lee would have first-hand knowledge, because he was the one responsible for boxing Beal out on the play.
“It was as good a missed free throw as you could have,” said Wittman, “but we just didn’t put it back.” Wittman was asked if he had offered any words of encouragement to Beal yet.
“No, that’s part of growing up in this league. We”ll talk. Hey, there are going to be days like that, as Mama used to say.”
Video of the final seconds:
Post-game comments from Wittman and
Beal about the missed opportunity:
But hey, the Wizards Girls are on FaceBook.