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Can Bradley Beal get his groove back? John Wall, coach Brooks think so

Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors - Game Two

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards sets up a play against the Toronto Raptors in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round in the 2018 NBA Play-offs at the Air Canada Centre on April 17, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Raptors defeated the Wizards 130-119. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bradley Beal

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It hasn’t been pretty for Bradley Beal through two 2018 playoff games: 14 points per game average on 39.3 percent shooting overall and 27.3 percent from three. He’s shot just 16.7 percent on catch-and-shoots (he hit 44.3 percent in the regular season). Worst of all, he has been on the court through two games the Wizards have been outscored by 31.4 points per 100 possessions by the Raptors.

There are a lot of things Washington needs to do better on their home court to turn this series around, but at the top of the list is to get Bradley Beal going.

“The Raptors are doing a job with him, they’re being physical,” Wizards’ coach Scott Brooks said of Beal after Game 2.”He’s missed some open shots, he hasn’t been able to get into the lane and to the free throw line…. We need him. We’re going to have trouble beating this team if he doesn’t play better. He will.”

That confidence in Beal’s ability to get things right extends to John Wall, who tried to drag his team back into Game 2 with 22 second-half points but didn’t have enough help. Wall has Beal’s back, as he told ESPN.

“He’s been our MVP this year, he’s held it down a lot while I have been out. He is not going to make excuses about playing the most minutes [of his career] or being fatigued.

“We have to do a better job, and me as a point guard, of getting him involved and trying to find him shots to make it easier on him. And I know he will be very tough on himself; he is definitely going to get in the gym and get up extra shots and find ways to be more aggressive. We definitely need his scoring and his ability to create for others to make our team better and compete against this team.”

Washington has plenty of other issues in this series: Its defense has been a disaster, they look like a team that was up and down all season and not building good habits. Also, DeMar DeRozan and Toronto are excellent — they won 59 games for a reason.

Beal is the bellwether, though. If he can’t live up to the confidence of Wall and Brooks, this series will end quickly.