Team­mates pave way for Beal to find groove

The Washington Post - - PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL -

Bradley Beal set­tled into his seat fol­low­ing Game 2 of the firstround se­ries with the At­lanta Hawks, faced a mi­cro­phone and row of re­porters and smiled. “I’m dolo today,” Beal said. He was met with con­fused glances, and so Beal ex­plained his slang. “By my­self,” Beal clar­i­fied. Fol­low­ing the Wash­ing­ton Wizards’ 109-101 win, Beal had the soli­tary spot­light. The seat next to him was re­served for John Wall, but since his run­ning mate had not fin­ished his postgame rou­tine of show­er­ing, dress­ing and, oc­ca­sion­ally, tak­ing his sweet time, Beal had the podium to him­self.

As the man said, he was “dolo.” How­ever, Beal didn’t feel alone dur­ing the game Wed­nes­day night. Even when his shot didn’t fall, team­mates backed him up.

They found him un­der­neath the rim or wait­ing on the wings, trust­ing he would con­vert those passes into buck­ets. They still set screens to give him breath­ing room. And even though Beal en­tered the fourth quar­ter on a 4-for-18 cold streak from the three-point arc in the play­off se­ries, with 38 sec­onds re­main­ing in the game, Wall sent him a pass and im­me­di­ately raised his arms to sig­nal a made three-pointer.

Beal again bounced back from a rough night, torch­ing the fourth quar­ter by shoot­ing 6 for 9 and scor­ing 16 points. Beal fin­ished with 31 (12 for 27 from the field), his sec­ond ca­reer game of 30 or more in the playoffs.

And he couldn’t get there by be­ing “dolo.”

“It’s great,” Beal said, re­spond­ing to Wall’s show of sup­port late in the game. “Es­pe­cially John, more than any­body, he doesn’t care if I shoot the ball 100 times in a game or how many I make or miss.” Ah, there’s that word again. Just as Beal uses hip phrases to ex­press soli­tude, he also re­de­fines words to fit his men­tal­ity. He claims he doesn’t know what “miss” means. Beal shared that back in Jan­uary, while he was in the midst of the worst three-point shoot­ing stretch of his ca­reer. On Wed­nes­day, Beal ex­plained why he has feigned ig­no­rance for more than a year.

“Some­thing I al­ways tell my­self, I don’t know what a miss is. Like, it’s over. A miss is a lady. You just for­get about it, and you just move on to the next shot,” Beal said. “That’s my way of help­ing me for­get about my last shot, so I just stick with that and just keep it mov­ing.”

Other Wizards do, in fact, un­der­stand the mean­ing of “miss” but don’t care how many shots Beal misses. They just want him to shoot.

“He’s a fran­chise guy with me also on this team, but we need him to be the scorer for us,” Wall said. “We don’t care if he shoots the ball 30 times. I don’t think he knew he shot it 27 un­til he got into the locker room.

“Like we said, those are all good shots you’re tak­ing. When he’s ag­gres­sive for us, it opens up the floor for me, and it was good to see him get it go­ing in the fourth quar­ter and make some shots to close out the game.”

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