Beal took a tumble (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (AP) - A day after spending 2½ hours at the dentist to fix
his two chipped front teeth - parts of which apparently became embedded
in Cartier Martin's forehead - Bradley Beal landed hard on the court
while his Washington Wizards were trying to hold on to a lead.
It was therefore fitting that, after he showered in the locker room, he put on a sweatshirt with the word "Reckless."
"That's me," Beal said. "Young and reckless."
Teammates were razzing the rookie after the game, which was OK
because the Wizards came away with a win despite wasting much of an
18-point fourth-quarter lead. Washington put seven players in double
figures Friday night in a 119-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
"We were saying on the bench - he's having a rough rookie year," said
Emeka Okafor, who led the Wizards with 17 points and 13 rebounds. "Got
his teeth knocked out yesterday, and then continued to get banged up
twice, ran into the cameraman and then did some type of gymnastic-worthy
landing. It's crazy, but he's a tough kid, he's young, his body can
Beal, who finished 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, banged
his head while fouling Ty Lawson as the guard drove to the basket with
1:07 to play. Beal lay on the floor for a few moments but was quickly
back in the game and hit a pair of clinching free throws in the final
He was wearing a mouth guard because of his head-to-head collision
with Martin in practice a day earlier, an impact so powerful that Martin
said the doctor removed parts of Beal's teeth while sewing more than a
dozen stitches to close the wound.
"It's been a tough week," Beal said.
The Wizards never trailed as they broke a two-game losing streak and
added another example to its knack for knocking off top teams while
sitting near the bottom of the NBA standings.
It's the kind of loss the Nuggets don't need as they jostle for
seeding in the Western Conference. They've dropped four straight on the
road, giving up at least 109 points each time.
"I'm a little concerned," Denver coach George Karl said, "that we
don't respect the opponent on the road enough to think defense first and
then worry about offense - because offense usually happens when we play
The Nuggets shot 48 percent from the field but made only 4 of 22
3-pointers. Lawson had 27 points and 12 assists, Wilson Chandler had 22
points, and Andre Miller scored a season-high 19. They also have the
dubious distinction of getting swept by the Wizards, having lost at home
to Washington 112-108 on Jan. 18.
The Nuggets cut the Wizards' lead to three on Andre Iguodala's
baseline 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining and pulled within two after John
Wall fancy-dribbled himself into a turnover that led to a Nuggets fast
break, with Lawson hitting a pair of free throws with 1:07 remaining to
make it 113-111.
Wall missed a floater with under a minute to play, but Nene blocked
Lawson's layup with 33 seconds to go to keep the margin at two. Wall
then redeemed himself, making an open 19-footer that put the Wizards
ahead 115-111 with 14 seconds left. Miller then missed a driving layup
in a crowd that essentially ended Denver's last threat.
JaVale McGee, traded from the Wizards to the Nuggets at last year's
trade deadline, made in his first return visit to Washington. He heard
some boos and a few claps as he entered the game in the first quarter,
and his foul on Garrett Temple's 14-foot jumper allowed Washington to
convert a momentum-sustaining three-point play at the end of the third
"It really wasn't emotional. For some reason I have a selective
memory," McGee said after putting on a pair of Dr. Seuss socks. "So I
remember the stuff I want to remember, so it wasn't like I was having
flashbacks or stuff like that."