Mike kind of stole my thunder already with his excellent feature on Bradley Beal having seemingly snapped out of his recent shooting slump, but I'll go ahead and just reiterate the point: If true, this is huge.
Like, way huge. I noted on Sunday that Beal was shooting 38.1 percent in March. Well, Big Panda is either a regular reader of Magical Pixels (unlikely), or I just happened to make note of Beal's struggles at the right time (more likely), because in Washington's three games since, Beal has shot a combined 27-for-42 (64 percent), including a 28-point, 12-for-22 effort Friday in leading the Wiz to victory and a season-sweep of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Somewhat remarkably, Beal's game against the Knicks was about as un-Beal as you could get. Heretofore, Wiz fans have known Beal as a remarkable three-point shooter, but ineffiecient, passive midrange shooter, always willing to jack up a long-two rather than drive to the basket.
Well, against the Knicks, Beal only shot 1-for-8 from three. In the past, that alone signaled a dismal game for Beal. But against the Knicks, he had one of his better games of the season by attacking the basket more aggressively. Sure, he also made a bunch of midrange jumpers, but after first probing the defense to see if a better shot lay ahead. He didn't just pull up at the first sign of being open.
Why is this huge? Well, because the Wizards are far better with a hot Beal than a cold Beal, and with the playoffs a mere six games and nine days away, hopefully Washington's sophomore star can carry his newfound streak into the postseason.
Imagine, a surging Beal, and a returning Nene? Someone wipe up my drool.
Road team recaps: BF StoryStream | Washington Post (gamer, sidebar) | AP | CSN Washington (recap, sidebar) | Wiz of Awes | DC Pro Sports Report | Wizards.com | Monumental Network
Home team recaps: Poasting and Toasting | AP
Postgame interviews: Randy Wittman | Bradley Beal | John Wall | Trevor Ariza | Marcin Gortat
55.5 - Combined shooting percentage of Beal and John Wall versus the Knicks.
16 - Washington's scoring advantage in the paint (38-to-22) against New York.
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
April 5, 2014
Bradley Beal is so smooth. Big shot in the middle of a crowd.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) April 5, 2014
BEAL HAS ICE WATER IS IN VEINS, IN HIS BRAIN, IN HIS BLOOD, IN HIS MIND— Playoff Wizards (@SoWizards) April 5, 2014
The Wizards are pretty good when Beal is good.— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) April 5, 2014
Since Beno Udrih isn't around to get burned, Bradley Beal drove around Iman Shumpert & drilled cold-blooded J #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) April 5, 2014
He made something out of nothing RT @NotoriousOHM: Bradley Beal = Smooooooooth"— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 5, 2014
April 5, 2014
EAT BAO BAO EAT. SMOKE LORD ARIZA SMOKE.— Play Offzz (@wzzntzz) April 5, 2014
Whew, Beastley Beal in New York.— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) April 5, 2014
Reverse jinxed sweet Brad by saying he wasn't clutch today. You're welcome.— Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks) April 5, 2014
BREAKING: The #Wizards sweep the #Knicks in the season series (3-0), and they did it in the Garden. First time since 1984-85.— HELLO my name is (@JohnCTownsend) April 5, 2014
Big time win @WashWizards one of the best Defensive performances of the year by @TrevorAriza on @carmeloanthony #WizKnicks #IstTeam AllNBA D— Glenn Consor (@GCtalks) April 5, 2014
With tonight's loss and Atlanta's win, the Knicks have lost the 8th spot.— Ben M (@BenAgent0) April 5, 2014
Didn't really look at the box score all game. Just saw that Melo had 10 points & 9 turnovers. Wow.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) April 5, 2014
John Wall finishes with 19 pts & 9 asst while Bradley Beal scores 28. The two combined to shoot 55% from the field. pic.twitter.com/pyDJDqWoYz— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) April 5, 2014
Reporter: is NY MSG your Second home BC you play so well here? Beal: nope DC is my home. #Wizards— Byron Kerr (@bkerr32) April 5, 2014
It just doesn't get much better 4 @WashWizards fans than beating the @nyknicks IN NY! Wiz sweep season series for only 2nd time in team hist— Steve Buckhantz (@SteveBuckhantz) April 5, 2014
@DJohnsonWTOP @GCtalks as hard as we've been on Beal, he's been brilliant these last 3. How many 20 year olds can do what he can?— Ian Evans (@IanEvansss) April 5, 2014
Randy Wittman on Bradley Beal, who had 19 2nd half pts vs NYK: "Guy gets hot, you've got to ride the pony." #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) April 5, 2014
VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT
You know what's coming.
Here's full highlights of Beal's big night at MSG.
Then there's this little piece of insanity concocted by Mike.
GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
|27||The Hoops Guru||6|
|31||John Wall Stan||4|
whats cooler than being cool
Keep calm and Stefon
"I could have had 52. I missed five free throws."- John Wall after his career 47 point performance
#DCTakeOverFam: Wall RGIII Alfred "The Butcher" Ovi Stras Bryce
Soon to be: Stefon Diggs