John Wall, Bradley Beal think Wizards are ‘targeted’ now
The Washington Wizards are no pushovers, thanks in large part to its backcourt tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal, arguably among the best in the NBA today. Powered by the two guards, the Wizards have become a title contender, worthy enough to be in the same discussion with the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and the Houston Rockets among others.
Wall and Beal, however, know that nothing is going to be easy for them despite their talents. The Wizards are no longer taken for granted by opponents. Those days are gone especially after the Wizards almost made the conference finals last playoffs when they lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round that took seven games to finish.
And if the Wizards needed any reminder how they can’t afford to take anything lightly with opponents putting a target on their backs, they got just that when they squandered a 20-point lead and lost to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, 122-116.
Speaking to reporters following the loss, Beal reflected on the setback, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports.
“That’s how every game is going to be. Everybody is going to give us their best,” Beal said. “For us to sit here and act like we’re somebody; we’re not jack-ish right now. We haven’t proved nothing, we haven’t done nothing. We’ve gotta stay aggressive at all times. We’ve gotta realize that we’re a targeted team. Teams want to beat us. Until we get that into the back of our heads, we’re going to continue to play this way.”
Here’s Wall chiming in:
“I think every game has been like that,” Wall said. “We could easily say we’re 7-0 or 4-3 like we are. We had leads in all these games and opportunities to close them out. We had leads, but we let those fall and collapsed. In the past we might have been able to get away with those, but now teams know what we’re capable of. They know we’re a good team. To take that next step and become an elite team, we’ve gotta close them out.”
Bradley Beal poured in 40 points in that game while John Wall chipped in 21 markers for the Wizards, who were outscored by Phoenix by 18 points in the second half. The loss, however, could be attributed more to the Wizards’ taking their feet off the pedal which allowed the Suns to mount a successful comeback.
This is becoming an issue for the Wizards, who now have lost two out of their five games this season in which they were the favored team. The Wizards have to fix that now before it causes them any more trouble.