Wizards

Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal had scored 50-plus points in his previous two games. He had 30 on Wednesday night against the Nets, including 17 in the fourth quarter alone. If he chose to dribble his way out of the double-team and launch a hero-ball shot in the closing seconds, no one would have blamed him.

He is a star player having the best stretch of his basketball life. Why wouldn't he take the shot?

Well, he didn't. Instead of trying to win the game himself, Beal saw his teammate, Jerome Robinson, wide open on the wing. Robinson, just 23 and in his second year, hasn't proven much at the NBA level yet despite being a 2018 first round pick.

But he was open and passing to him for the open look made basketball sense, even if it required fighting off the urge to be the alpha dog. Fortunately for Beal and the Wizards, Robinson came through as the unlikely hero, as the Wizards knocked off the Nets, 110-106, to snap a three-game losing streak.

Robinson not only made the three to put the Wizards up two points, he then grabbed a rebound on the next play and sank two free throws to seal the win.

"Big props to Brad, trusting his teammates. That tells you what kind of person he is," Robinson said.

Beal is a two-time All-Star currently second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 30.1 points per game. But he has long taken pride in being an unselfish player, the type who fits seamlessly into a team-oriented system.

 

Sometimes that means taking what the defense gives him and Beal felt the Nets' approach dictated his decision. He had Garrett Temple, a scrappy defender, facing him up with Caris LeVert sprinting his way. That left Robinson in space.

"I'm not going to chuck it up from 45 when I've got two, three people running at me," Beal said. "I've got wide open teammates. Win, lose or draw, I'm always going to trust guys who are wide open."

Head coach Scott Brooks pointed out afterward how Beal made a similar play in the game before, when the Wizards lost in overtime to the Milwaukee Bucks. At the end of regulation, he passed to rookie Rui Hachimura under the basket and Hachimura was blocked by Robin Lopez.

The results were different, but two games in a row Beal showed faith in a young and inexperienced teammate. Hachimura, though already a standout, is a rookie. Robinson, a second-year player, has yet to find a niche in the NBA and was cast off by the Clippers in a trade just weeks ago.

Also helping the cause on Wednesday was the fact Beal has become a much better playmaker in recent years. This season he is averaging a career-high six assists per game and has improved that number now in four straight years.

Brooks believes he has adapted with All-Star point guard John Wall out due to injuries.

"It was three years ago by an unfortunate injury. John was out [and] missed 41 games that year and last year he missed 50 games. Brad has had a lot of reps [because] eams are going to double team him," Brooks said.

In the middle of a career-best hot streak, a lot of NBA players would have taken the shot. But Beal made the right basketball play and it led to a Wizards win.

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