As the Wizards wrapped up practice Monday, Bradley Beal was asked about the players he’ll be guarding Tuesday night when the defending champion Miami Heat visit Verizon Center.
Beal, as unflappable as any 19-year-old rookie could be, has the unenviable assignment of guarding eight-time All-Star Dwyane Wade. As if that’s not enough, spelling Wade will be his backup, 10-time All-Star Ray Allen.
Beal has been studying film on his two opponents and has a plan. Well, sort of.
“He’s going to get his points, but at the same time, you have to try to limit it,” Beal said of Wade. “I’ve got my teammates to help me out. I’m going to try to keep in front of him, try to make him shoot a lot of jumpers rather than get to the basket.”
As for Allen, whom Beal describes as the ultimate catch-and-shoot player, Beal wants to try and run isolation plays on him, if he can. Asked whose career he’d most like to emulate when all is said and done, Beal smiled and shrugged.
“Can’t complain with either one, to be honest with you,” Beal said.
For now, the task at hand is to try and compete with the Heat.
“We got a little taste of what they’re going to do in the preseason,” Beal said of Washington’s 101-94 win Oct. 24. “They play hard, they play fast. They’re probably the fastest team I’ve ever seen in my life. We’re just going to stay with the game plan.”
The Heat (12-3) will pose the biggest challenge the Wizards (1-13) have had thus far. The Heat are entering Tuesday’s contest second in the league in scoring at 104.6 points while the Wizards are an NBA-worst 89.4. Miami also is the best 3-point shooting team in the league (42.5 percent). Washington ranks 28th (30.2).
“We’re going to have to play well,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “We’re going to have to shoot the ball well, we’re going to have to have low turnovers, we’re going to have to rebound the ball. And if we do those things, we can play with these guys.”
Wittman hinted that he may make yet another lineup tweak to compensate for Miami’s strength by going with a smaller lineup and playing an up tempo style.
“It’s going to be difficult, there’s no two ways about it,” Wittman said. “That’s what it boils down to. We know what’s at hand coming into [Tuesday] and what we have to do, so that’s a good thing.”
For veteran swingman Martell Webster, it’s no time for Washington to be intimidated.
“We don’t have that luxury of turning the switch on and off, cruising through games,” Webster said. “We can’t do that. That’s how the great teams play. We have to go out like we’re playing the Miami Heat every game.”
• Carla Peay can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.