Wizards/Raptors Game 3: Remember Wall and Beal? | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards/Raptors Game 3: Remember Wall and Beal?

By
Updated: April 21, 2018

The morning of Game 3 of the Wizards/Raptors series, a series that Toronto led 2-0 (at the time), ESPN had a feature on the front of their website with the faces of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.  ESPN’s Rachel Nichols sat down with the Raptors backcourt to discuss their friendship and their desires of bringing a championship to Canada.

John Wall and Bradley Beal also got the Rachel Nichols treatment, except that interview was not featured during the playoff run when the Wizards were up 2-0, it ran back in November at the start of the season.  At that time, the Wizards were still considered Eastern Conference Finals contenders, and the sky was seemingly the limit.

Since then, Wall missed significant time with a knee injury, Beal assumed the leadership role in his absence, and towards the end of the season they intermittently reunited and limped to the playoff finish line, with Wall sitting almost every other game.  Any discussion of the Eastern Conference Finals was replaced by skepticism regarding whether their eighth-seeded team would even make it out of the first round against the top-seeded Raptors.

The first two games of the series did nothing do slow down the freight train of mediocrity the Wizards were on at the end of the regular season.  But in between games two and three, Beal, Wall and their head coach Scott Brooks had a meeting.  Coach Brooks told Wall that Beal (and Otto Porter) needed more shots, and then Brooks assumed responsibility for Beal not getting enough shot attempts in Game 2(he had just 11).  When Beal was asked about that meeting during this morning’s shoot around he said, ““I guess he figured I wasn’t shooting the ball enough and I guess he thought that was his fault. I don’t know. He’s probably the biggest confidence giver .”

Perhaps Coach Brooks should strongly consider meeting with Beal and Wall during all of the Wizards’ off days, because the Wizards won Game 3, 122-103, mostly due to the  dual 28-point performances of their All-Star backcourt.

Wall had 28 points, 14 assists, six rebounds, four steals and a block, and Beal had 28 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.  More importantly, they outscored the Raptors backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan by 14 points.  And like Miles Davis and John Coltrane in a quartet in their prime, they didn’t turn the blinders on and hog the spotlight without being leery of who else was on their team. Instead, they shared it perfectly like selfless teammates.  They were efficient on offenses, active on defenses, and they brought that fiery passion that eluded them and the Wizards as a whole in the first two games.

The first quarter clearly belonged to Beal, as he went 5-for-7 and scored 12 points.  His outside shot was on and he took full advantage, but when the Raptors gave him even a sliver of an opening to the basket, he took advantage of that as well, and got to the line three times.  Coach Brooks was fully aware of the tone Beal was setting with his offensive aggressiveness, because he played him the entire first quarter–but the Wizards still only lead by one point.

Still feeling it in the second quarter, Beal scored nine points on 3-for-4 shooting. Despite that output, the second quarter clearly belonged to his backcourt teammate.

Wall took the approach that Beal had in the first quarter, and decided to be demonstrative with his offense; he did it with his scoring, his assists, and he peppered in some defense as well.

He spent the first five minutes of the quarter on the bench, but re-entered the game at the 8:33 mark and flat out took over. At the time, the Wizards led by just two points, 38-36. Markieff Morris took a 14-footer to put the Wizards up 40-36, and then Wall scored or assisted on the Wizards next 29 points of the quarter.

Wall got to the foul line, he took pull-up jumpers off the fast break, he found Gortat on pick-and-rolls, and he found Beal coming off screens.  On defense, both he and Beal harassed Lowry and DeRozan into turnovers (the Raptors had seven in the quarter), and that activity on both ends of the floor pushed the Wizards lead from two to eight points.  Beal and Wall scored 22 of the Wizards 39 second quarter points on 8-for-10 shooting.

Beal and Wall didn’t score quite as much in the third quarter (11 points on 4-10) shooting, but they continued to push the pace, they accumulated real and hockey assists, and the Wizards lead ballooned from eight to as much as 22 points.  And for better or for worse, both Beal and Wall also introduced a bit of physicality to the mix.

 

First Beal committed a silly dead ball foul against Jonas Valanciunas who was playing keep-away with the ball.  Then Serge Ibaka lunged at John Wall after words were shared between the two and double technicals were issued.  The Wizards were leading at the time, and that type of behavior could have easily swung the momentum back to Toronto or better yet, gotten them both kicked out of the game. But Wall and Beal got the crowd into the game, Morris (who had gotten into a fracas earlier in the game), Gortat, and the rest of the teammates rallied behind them, and the Wizards’ lead continued to increase.

Wall and Beal spoke about the incidents after the game:

https://twitter.com/HoopDistrictDC/status/987539840865591296

 

 

Wall and Beal’s output was significantly diminished in the fourth quarter (just five points and two shots were made between the two) but by that point the Wizards were comfortably ahead thanks to the groundwork they laid in the first three quarters of basketball.  The Wizards–Wall and Beal included–have been wildly inconsistent this season, so to assume that this victory translates into yet another victory on Sunday in Game Four would be quite presumptuous.

But at least for one night in Game 3, Wall and Beal turned the attention away from Lowry, DeRozan and the Raptors as a whole, and they returned to the form that had them(and others) having visions of Eastern Conference Finals grandeur.  Beal said it best after the game:

Even after we lost Game 2, everyone was pretty much locked in to what we needed to do, film, taking care of bodies, getting the proper treatments and rest. We came out tonight with an edge about ourselves. We gotta protect our home floor. Toronto did what they were supposed to do. They won on their home floor. We gotta do the same. We just took it a game at a time. It starts with us [John Wall and Bradley Beal]. When we are into the ball, into our guys on the defensive end, everybody else follows. We were able to get stops and get out in transition.

 

 

 

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.