BROOKLYN -- Does it really matter who gets the shot, as long as the Wizards make the right read and play at the end of a close game? They won Monday, 118-113 over the Nets, so no one will talk about Bradley Beal being scoreless after his three-pointer put them ahead for good with 3:12 left.
"Not caring who scores the most, who gets the shot, just moving the ball, shooting with confidence," said Beal, who had 18 points on 7-for-18 shots, one fewer than John Wall. "All we have to do is worry about defense. We get whatever we want on offense. It’s just a matter of wanting to guard, get down and taking pride in it.”
The Wizards ended a difficult road trip, which started with losses in Oklahoma City and San Antonio when Otto Porter misfired at the end of regulation twice, by erasing a 15-point deficit with a defensive effort that contributed to seven players in double figures.
Beal drained a three for a 107-106 lead for his final points. Wall ripped the ball on a handoff to Joe Harris for a dunk and Beal grabbed a defensive rebound when Brooklyn's Brook Lopez missed a three. Porter fouled out for the first time this season as he did plenty of the dirty work in the paint to limit Brooklyn's lopsided rebounding edge.
It's not that coach Scott Brooks didn't call plays for Beal. He did, but the Nets overplayed the double drag screen out of a timeout -- sending an extra defender in Harris to stop the pass from Wall to the top of the arc. Marcin Gortat flowed into a screen that freed Wall for an uncontested look in the slot from 24 feet that was good for a 112-106 lead. And Beal took on Wall's role, attacking the paint, drawing the defense and making a simple bounce pass to Gortat for the layup.
“I thought the offensive execution was good. Everybody got involved. Keef got a bucket," said Brooks, alluding to the blown coverage by Trevor Booker that opened up Markieff Morris' backdoor cut and a feed from Wall for his game-high 13th assist and a 116-111 lead. "March got a bucket. John hit a couple of pull-up shots wide open. Brad hit a big three, got to the free throw line. That’s what you need. You heed to have all guys executing together and trusting the player that has the ball is going to make the right play, not necessarily for his shot but a good shot."
The Wizards (7-12) shot 45 of 93, or 48.4% from the field, and brought the Nets (5-15) down to 40 of 81, or 49.4%. Brooklyn began the game shooting better than 60% in the first quarter to put the Wizards in a deep hole.
Late, the shots were much easier for the Wizards who used their ball pressure and playing over top of the handoffs to Harris and Bojan Bogdanovic.
"Defense was giving me shots," said Wall, who was 4-for-6 in the fourth for 11 of his game-high 25 points. "I had it rolling. I just kept making them.
"We both have the edge where we both want the ball at the end of games. There are times where he should have it because he's been rolling the last couple of games. Other times it's a call that coach makes and we just go with it. ... I'm still looking for him, just like any other play. Sometimes teams try to do a good job of taking him away, denying him. We just got to go to the next option."
Beal anticipated a dribble handoff coming from Trevor Booker to Bogdanovic, jumped ahead of it and stole the ball with the Wizards ahead 116-113 with 12 seconds left. That led to a timeout, Wall making two foul shots after the ball was inbounded and the final margin.
Winning plays aren't always about winning shots. Beal made the last one.
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