Instead of scoreboard watching in the final weeks of the regular season, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal says he remains focused on what he can control.
Washington (32-37) continues to battle for the Eastern Conference’s final play-in spot with a Friday night matchup in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.
The Wizards hold a half-game lead over the Chicago Bulls for the 10th and final spot.
“It’s up to us. We could kind of control our own destiny,” Beal said. “I know it starts with me, so I just make sure I’m locked in, make sure I’m ready to go and make sure guys are ready to go, too, and understand that every game is important, every possession is important.”
Beal scored 36 points Tuesday to help Washington snap a three-game losing streak with a 117-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Beal went 13 of 15 from the field and tallied seven assists and six rebounds.
The Wizards played without forward Kyle Kuzma, who is listed as day-to-day with right knee soreness. Corey Kispert started in place of Kuzma against Detroit and finished with 16 points.
Washington also received a boost from rookie guard Johnny Davis, who made a case for more playing time after he scored a career-high 11 points off the bench. Davis entered the contest averaging 1.1 points in 4.9 minutes across 14 games.
“I think he’s only getting started,” Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis said. “I think he’s building himself up, and I think he’s gonna tap into his potential very soon. He’s getting there. I feel like this is only the beginning for him.”
Washington is seeking a season sweep of the Cavaliers after winning 117-107 in overtime on Oct. 23, and 114-91 on Feb. 6.
Cleveland (44-28) sits fourth in the Eastern Conference and is looking to bounce back from a 118-109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
That game was marked by a controversial sequence with 4:12 remaining, when Sixers center Joel Embiid appeared to be done for the night after being called for his sixth foul. After Philadelphia challenged the call, the foul was reversed and Embiid was allowed to stay in the game.
Caris LeVert scored 24 points to lead the Cavaliers, while Donovan Mitchell added 21. Darius Garland and Cedi Osman scored 15 apiece for Cleveland, which was outscored 34-26 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a tough loss for us, obviously,” Osman said. “Overall I think we played a good game, but there were just small things. We allowed a lot of 3s in the fourth quarter and also we gave up a lot of rebounds and second-chance points. That was the story of the game.”
Cavaliers center Evan Mobley recorded his 21st double-double of the season in the loss. Cleveland played without center Jarrett Allen, who could miss his fourth straight game with a bruised right eye.
Lamar Stevens started for Allen and had six points in12 minutes for the Cavaliers, who have 10 games remaining, including five on the road.
“I just feel like every game right now that we’re playing for the rest of the season is meaningful,” Cleveland forward Isaac Okoro said. “So we’re always going to treat it like a playoff game because we either want to stay where we’re at right now or move up in the seeding. So you’ve got to treat every game like a playoff game.”
–Field Level Media