J.B. Bickerstaff was not happy with his team leaving Bradley Beal open all game
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal scorched the Memphis Grizzlies for 40 points and nine made threes Saturday en route to Memphis’ second straight loss in which they allowed at least 132 points. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was not pleased, to say the least, with his team’s ability to guard Beal, saying via Fred Katz of The Athletic:
“[I] did not feel like we made him earn it. Too many times he was just wide open. The most dangerous guy on the floor for them, how does he end up just wide open?”
Beal was already on the heels of a 40-point effort, so to say that he was already locked in would be an understatement.
Even despite their defensive woes the past two nights, Memphis is still allowing the second-fewest points per game in the league this season at 104.6. The majority of the season featured former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol as their defensive anchor, alongside standout rookie Jaren Jackson Jr., who has averaged 1.4 blocks per game, but the team’s defensive fall-off the past two games has been precipitous.
Fortunately, Bickerstaff doesn’t have to worry about guarding Beal anymore during 2018-19. Unfortunately, he does have to worry about guarding James Harden in the team’s next contest Wednesday versus the Houston Rockets. The last time that Harden and the Grizzlies matched up? The league MVP candidate went for 57 points. The time before that? 43 points amid a triple-double. Needless to say, Bickerstaff will want to see the defense improve on the most dangerous player on the floor this time around.