Wizards

Quick Links

Morning tip: Bradley Beal shakes off ankle twist in strong two-way effort

Morning tip: Bradley Beal shakes off ankle twist in strong two-way effort

The three-point shot escaped Bradley Beal. It had little to do with the Milwaukee Bucks, who gave him clear views of the rim without Giannis Antetokounmpo. But when Sunday's game ended, he still had 26 points.

Beal tripped over Malcolm Brogdon after attacking the basket for a layup with 2:34 left in the second quarter. He'd rolled the same right ankle Dec. 28 vs. the Indiana Pacers which forced him to sit out the second half of that game and then the next. 

"He came back and showed some toughness," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks. "That's what he does."

Beal only shot 2-for-10 from three-point range, but he was 8-for-9 inside for a team-high to get the Wizards (18-18) back to .500 and win for the fourth time away from Verizon Center. 

It was the defensive efforts showed by the Wizards in the second half, after Milwaukee shot 7-for-12 from three-point range in the first 24 minutes which produced a lead as large as 12.

Led by John Wall and Beal with their two-way play in the backcourt, the Wizards shifted their fortunes. The Bucks went from 51.2% shooting overall in the first half to 41% in the second half. They shot 2-for-11 from three in the final 24 minutes for 18.2% after opening at 58.2%. 

To end the fourth quarter alone, Beal was everywhere:

Beal didn't register in the top 10 among guards in the fan All-Star voting last week, but other than DeMar DeRozan there hasn't been a better shooting guard in the East. 

Defensively, however, is how he has been setting himself apart and has an outside shot when league coaches vote for reserves. 

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards' bench takes shape with youth movement

Quick Links

Rui Hachimura flattered by praise from LeBron James, is focused on playoffs

Rui Hachimura flattered by praise from LeBron James, is focused on playoffs

WASHINGTON -- LeBron James may not be the best player in the NBA anymore, but no one in today's game can match his legacy. He's probably a top-five player in league history and he's still one of the faces of the league.

So, his opinion carries a little bit of weight and last weekend James had some really nice things to say about Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura. James called him "really talented" and said "I think he's going to be a really, really good player in our league."

That, understandably, made an impact on Hachimura, who is only 22 years old with 30 NBA games under his belt.

"I'm happy to see a guy like that [say that]. He's a legend," Hachimura said. "But I want to improve more on a lot of things. I'm not done yet. I'm a rookie and I'm still learning a lot of things. This is my first year. I want to work hard more and win for this team."

That's a solid answer. Hachimura knows he has a long way to go to accomplish what he hopes to achieve in the NBA.

One of his goals, though, he feels the Wizards can reach quite soon. They are ninth in the East and three games back in the playoff race, but Hachimura thinks they can get there.

"I think we can make it. March is a hard schedule, but if we improve our defense we will have a good chance to make the playoffs," he said.

Hachimura has already shown a knack for doing things before they are expected. He's taken to the NBA very quickly and already has James singing his praise. The playoffs would be just another example.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

John Wall says sitting out season was always the plan, but Wizards can make playoffs

John Wall says sitting out season was always the plan, but Wizards can make playoffs

WASHINGTON -- Several of John Wall's favorite things collided on Thursday night at the Lucky Strike bowling alley in Northwest D.C. as the Wizards hosted a charity event for local kids.

Wall likes giving back, behind around his teammates and he absolutely loves to bowl. Wall, in fact, bowls "at least three times a week" and is having a lane built inside his house. He said one of the most "miserable" parts of his injury rehab was the early going when he wasn't allowed to bowl.

Now Wall can bowl all he wants and he can even practice with the team. But his return is still expected to be months away, at the start of next season.

Wall addressed the media and explained how he has not struggled with that decision, to take a year off, despite having now not played in an NBA game for almost 14 months.

"That was my plan from the start," he said. "Just going through the whole process and seeing what my friend DeMarcus [Cousins] had gone through coming back early. They say after a year you're clear, but it takes almost a year-and-a-half to get full strength and everything back."

Wall is pleased with his progress so far. He has been seen doing all sorts of basketball activities in social media videos from dunking to running, to playing in scrimmages. But he insists he isn't all the way back yet, despite how healthy he may look in those clips.

"I'll find my way when the time is right," he said. "The power and the strength and the adrenaline and the stamina; I don't have that yet. That's what I'm trying to get to."

Wall had surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon on Feb. 12 of last year. He has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 26 of 2018, having first had a procedure to remove bone spurs in his heel.

He's had a lot of time to sit and watch and he doesn't seem to be in too much of a rush to change that, which is good news for the Wizards and their medical staff. Wall believes the Wizards may even be able to make the playoffs without him this season.

"They have a shot, maybe not an easy shot. But they have a chance," he said.

The Wizards are currently ninth in the East and three games back of the final playoff spot. They won't have Wall to help them, but he thinks they can close the gap.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: