Wizards

Quick Links

In career year, Bradley Beal is eating healthier, avoiding candy

In career year, Bradley Beal is eating healthier, avoiding candy

Bradley Beal has come a long way since his days at the University of Florida, when he was a skinny freshman leading the Gators to an Elite Eight back in 2012. Through his five years in the NBA with the Wizards, he has blossomed into one of the best shooting guards in basketball, a guy who is no longer limited to outside shooting. He can put the ball on the floor, create his own shot and even set up teammates like never before.

Beal, 23, is currently posting career numbers at 22.3 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting. His development has been important for the Wizards' success, and also a source of pride for his former college coach. Billy Donovan, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, was in Washington Monday morning with his team set to take on the Wizards later that night.

"Healthy, for one," Donovan said when asked why Beal is having a breakout season. "Two, I think just coaching him, he's really smart. He has what I would call the 'it factor,' he's got it. He impacts winning at a really high level. There's also part of him that he's very, very unselfish. He's a team guy. So, I think that when he was hurt, I could see him struggling coming back into a team because he's never a guy that wants to disrupt flow, chemistry and cohesiveness; those kinds of things. He's a connecting guy. I think because he's been healthy all year, he knows his role and his responsibility. Through experience, his work ethic and his intelligence, he's become a very good player."

[RELATED: Wall deals with sprained ankle with Thunder up next]

Beal has been healthy for the most part this season, having appeared in 49 of the Wizards' 53 games. There are many reasons for that, he says.

"I'm probably lifting more throughout the season," Beal explained. "I think in previous years I kind of got away from it. Just keeping my body stronger. I'm eating the right foods. I don't eat junk food as much as I used to anymore. I used to always say I had a high metabolism, but I'm getting older so my weight is starting to fluctuate a little bit. So, I've gotta watch that. It's always important for me especially, I have to watch what I put in my body."

Beal said part of that new diet includes drinking a lot of milk. He also cut out candy, his biggest vice.

"I'm a big sweets guy. I love Skittles, I love Reese's and chocolate," he said. "It's a mental challenge and it's a discipline thing. If I want to be healthy, I've gotta cut stuff out."

With the All-Star break coming up on Feb. 17, Beal will have some time to rest and take his mind off the game. That, though, doesn't mean he will be going back to the candy.

"It's a trap, for sure. I'm going to stay away," he said. "I probably couldn't tell you the last time I had one of the two. It's been a little while."

Watch pre- and postgame coverage of Wizards-Thunder on CSN beginning with Wizards Gametime at 7 p.m.

[RELATED: Beal, Donovan weigh in on OKC fans booing Durant]

Quick Links

Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

The Washington Wizards lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-111 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. It was just over a week ago the Wizards had their best win of the season against the Sixers. Saturday night was one of their worst.

They went into Memphis to play an emerging, but struggling team and got their you-know-whats handed to them. The Wizards jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first, then lost the momentum and never got it back.

By halftime the Wizards were down 15. That deficit grew to 24 in the second half.

The Wizards ended up losing by 17, but it wasn't as close as the score would suggest. It was Washington's seventh loss in eight games.

Maybe it was the three-day layoff. Perhaps they weren't sharp. Whatever the reason, that was a bad one.

2. As this game went on, it became very obvious that Memphis' gameplan was to make sure Davis Bertans didn't beat them. They swarmed the Latvian Laser on the perimeter and guarded him well beyond the three-point line.

Bertans was held to nine points on 2-for-9 shooting and 1-for-6 from three. His one three was a quick release shot from about 27 feet out. Soon after that, the defense was picking him up at halfcourt.

 

This type of treatment was inevitable for Bertans, who has been the biggest surprise of the Wizards' season so far. He has turned into one of the league's best three-point shooters and the second-best scorer on the team. Teams now know it.

3. Rui Hachimura's college teammate stole the show in this one. Brandon Clarke, who played last year with Hachimura at Gonzaga, put on an impressive scoring display highlighted by a series of vicious dunks. He measured a max vertical of 40 1/2 inches and used every inch of it to dunk all over the Wizards.

He had 19 points in the first half, including an alley-oop where his head was level with the rim and a poster dunk on the fastbreak that nearly ended Ian Mahinmi's career.

 

Clarke had 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting with four rebounds. Coming out of the draft, he was considered a good defensive player but too old (he's 23) and too raw offensively without a three-point shot.

So far, he's looking like a major steal at the 21st overall pick. 

4. The Grizzlies might not be good, but they are fun to watch and have a nice young core with Clarke alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant. Jackson is a unicorn at 6-foot-11 with the ability to drive coast-to-coast and hit threes. Morant is a force of nature, able to play well above the rim despite being 6-foot-3.

Morant nearly pulled off one of the most disrespectful plays in basketball on Bradley Beal. He tried to pull a "Michael Jordan on Ron Mercer" by snatching the ball off the glass with two hands. But he clipped the rim and was called for goaltending. Still, it was impressive because of how high he got in the air.

Memphis has an exciting young team. They might contend for a playoff spot next year with a good offseason. If they were in the East, they could really make some noise.

5. The Wizards were without several key regulars once again. Isaiah Thomas missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain and Moe Wagner was out with his left ankle sprain after playing in the past four games.

They did get back Garrison Mathews, though. The two-way guard played in his first game since Oct. 25 after sitting out due to a stress reaction in his right leg. It was Mathews' third professional game, but he made his first shot - a corner three. It happened to come in his home state of Tennessee. 

Mathews might actually get some minutes in the next few weeks because he is the second-best shooting guard on the roster with Jordan McRae out due to a finger injury.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

john_wall_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: