Any NBA coach will declare that he doesn't pay attention to what is being said, written or debated about him or his team during the season. They tune it out. Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who is staunchly in that camp, does hear it. He admitted as much in reference to Bradley Beal, who had his best game since returning from his latest injury and remains on a minutes restriction because of a previous injury.
Beal had 25 points in a 117-102 win at the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. He had 12 in the third quarter, knocking down 4 of 4 three-pointers as the Wizards (35-35) went from a 61-59 lead to 74-64. Then Beal had to sit with 2:43 left before re-entering. That allowed Beal to start the fourth quarter and he stayed on the floor for the first six minutes and left with a 98-91 lead.
"He got going which is good to see, him getting hopefully back to normal. That was huge that burst that he gave us. I had to take him out. Everybody at home is thinking I'm crazy," said Wittman, who held out Beal out of last Thursday's game because of soreness from a pelvic sprain that kept him out three games before that. "Because of his minutes I wanted to save those last two minutes of the third quarter to have him available for the fourth if we had to have him down the stretch. It was hard to do tough in a game when he gets hot like that."
Beal came back after a two-minute rest and left for good with 39 seconds left. His 34 minutes played were his most since Feb. 24. It was just Beal's second time playing 34 minutes since pre-All-Star break when he missed 16 games because of a recurring stress reaction in his lower right leg.
The Wizards play the Hawks again tonight at Verizon Center (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET).
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