The three-point shot escaped Bradley Beal. It had little to do with the Milwaukee Bucks, who gave him clear views of the rim without Giannis Antetokounmpo. But when Sunday's game ended, he still had 26 points.
Beal tripped over Malcolm Brogdon after attacking the basket for a layup with 2:34 left in the second quarter. He'd rolled the same right ankle Dec. 28 vs. the Indiana Pacers which forced him to sit out the second half of that game and then the next.
"He came back and showed some toughness," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks. "That's what he does."
Beal only shot 2-for-10 from three-point range, but he was 8-for-9 inside for a team-high to get the Wizards (18-18) back to .500 and win for the fourth time away from Verizon Center.
It was the defensive efforts showed by the Wizards in the second half, after Milwaukee shot 7-for-12 from three-point range in the first 24 minutes which produced a lead as large as 12.
Led by John Wall and Beal with their two-way play in the backcourt, the Wizards shifted their fortunes. The Bucks went from 51.2% shooting overall in the first half to 41% in the second half. They shot 2-for-11 from three in the final 24 minutes for 18.2% after opening at 58.2%.
To end the fourth quarter alone, Beal was everywhere:
Beal didn't register in the top 10 among guards in the fan All-Star voting last week, but other than DeMar DeRozan there hasn't been a better shooting guard in the East.
Defensively, however, is how he has been setting himself apart and has an outside shot when league coaches vote for reserves.
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