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Morning tip: Small glitches to fix for Bradley Beal

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Morning tip: Small glitches to fix for Bradley Beal

A look at Bradley Beal's stats -- 19 points on 9 of 13 shooting in 21 minutes in the exhibition opener -- suggests he didn't have a problem fitting in with the Wizards' high-octane offense. 

But he had his moments, from getting thumped in the groin to avoiding long two-point attempts. Wearing a protective cup is an easy adjustment, but programming himself to not pull the trigger as often from long-two range will be a major hurdle for Beal.

“It definitely is (difficult) because sometimes I’m in that area and I’m open in the area. But as much as possible I’m trying to avoid it," Beal said. "There’s a time I can remember I had a wide-open shot and I ended up traveling, I think, at the free throw line. I could’ve taken a shot or could’ve just put it on the floor and got to the basket. It’s still just me learning the offense and learning my spots and the spacing on the floor, too.”

That's what coach Randy Wittman prefers. If Beal catches it inside the three-point arc, he doesn't necessarily want him to step back for a three-point shot. He wants Beal to put the ball on the floor to attack the rim. The shooting guard averaged less than three foul shot attempts per game last season, which is among the lowest in the league for a starter at his position. When Beal is in catch-and-shoot situations, Wittman wants him to be aware of his spot on the floor so he can be sure to behind the arc. Even if Beal doesn't take the shot, that extra foot or two can be crucial in making the defense extend to open more driving lanes for the likes of John Wall.

“I liked it. I loved how we came out. I think we actually did a lot better than I expected out of a first game anyway," Beal, who didn't speak after a 129-95 victory vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, said of their quick-hit style after Wednesday's practice. "I think defensively we kind of slacked off a little bit in the first half. We had a lot turnovers, too, a lot of unforced ones in the first half. We could’ve had a lot more points off of those but overall we did a great job. We moved the ball, shot the ball well, then our defense in the second half was a lot better, too.”

When the second unit came in, Wittman used a three-guard lineup of Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal and Garrett Temple. That's when the offense really took off, in part because of the defensive tenacity with Nene on the floor playing at center.

"All of our guards are interchangeable. We have to know each other’s spots anyway. It’s just a matter of being out there and doing your job at the end of the day," Beal said. "Coach puts together the lineups and we have to be able to go out there and execute. I think we do a great job. Two guards, three guards, four guards, however many out there I think we can get it done.

“This offense, you have to be versatile. Everybody has to be able to put the ball on the floor. Everybody has to be able to shoot and everybody has to be willing to know their role and embrace it all. And I think everybody does a good job of that. Sometimes I may have to be a decoy. It’s not always a matter of me scoring the ball. It’s just creating plays for everybody.”

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making players and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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