Bradley Beal on Wizards' humiliating loss to Clippers: We relaxed
The Wizards blew a 35-point lead against the Clippers on Tuesday, suffering a humiliating 116-115 defeat, raising questions about Washington’s direction as a team, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Wizards guard Bradley Beal said it should’ve been an easy win, but that’s not how the game transpired.
“It just should have been a game where starters get their rest, plain and simple, right?” Beal said afterward. “That’s what type of game it should have been, and we didn’t. And Coach (Wes Unseld) kept saying, ‘Stay locked in. Stay locked in. Keep pushing.’ But for whatever reason, we relax, like we can just flip on a switch and be great.”
Beal should be held culpable too, Robbins writes. He was on the court for the majority of the fourth quarter in which the Wizards were outscored 40-22, and he only half-heartedly attempted to foul Justise Winslow, a poor free-throw shooter, who Unseld had instructed the team to foul in the closing seconds. Making matters worse, Beal proceeded to commit a cardinal basketball sin by weakly fouling Luke Kennard on a three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left while Washington held a 115-112 lead. Kennard made the three and sank the free throw, clinching the victory for the Clips.
After a 10-3 start to the season, the Wizards have gone 13-22 since, now holding a 23-25 record, 10th in the East. Forward Kyle Kuzma thinks “somethin’ got to change.” After the game, Kuzma was asked whether he agreed with Unseld that the team stopped competing after building the large lead, per Robbins.
“Everybody stopped,” Kuzma said. “It felt like defensively we didn’t do anything. We’ve got to do a better job of reading the room from the bench as well. It’s a team loss. Everybody lost tonight.”
Here’s more on the Wizards:
- Beal recently joined Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Woj Pod” on ESPN (h/t RealGM). Beal knows the Wizards need to improve to be competitive long-term, but he likes being the centerpiece of the franchise. “Honestly, realizing that a franchise is willing to build around you. It’s not always like that everywhere. Like, if I go somewhere else, they’re just not going to build around you. They’ll build around what they have,” Beal said. “There’s nothing absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if I have the chance to create my own legacy and make it work here with the team that drafted me, then why not give it a shot? It it works, it works, If it doesn’t, I can say ‘At least I tried.’ That’s just who I am. That’s my blessing and curse, my loyalty. We’re transitioning, we’re going in the right direction, but we still have a lot of improvements to make.”
- Robbins and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic explore what it might type of trade package it might take for the Wizards to acquire Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis. Pacers owner Herb Simon says he’s disinterested in a full-fledged rebuild, so draft picks might not do the trick. (Washington owes a conditional pick to Oklahoma City, so only its 2028 first-round pick is available currently.) Kravitz says if he was Indiana’s GM, he’d want Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert, Washington’s three most recent first-round picks, in exchange for Sabonis.