Phoenix Suns’ guard Bradley Beal showed speed and resilience during Wednesday night's loss against the Los Angeles Clippers. We are used to Devin Booker and Kevin Durant taking their time, getting into their groove to find their spot. Beal finds his spot, but just at a x1.5 speed. He plays like I listen to podcasts. He is the Energizer Bunny that the Suns desperately have to have to keep up with explosive teams.
To begin the game, Beal’s quickness was an issue for the Clippers, and mainly Paul George. Literally, Beal had PG on skates multiple times to start the first quarter but had an issue ending his possessions with a made bucket.
Coming into Wednesday night’s game, if KD was playing, the missed buckets would drive me nuts. He wasn’t, and to be honest, I could see a loss on the horizon for the Suns. This was more of an experimental game to me, and the end result didn’t matter too much, but of course, I would still take a win. The comfortability with Beal was my biggest takeaway. How fluid would he look with Booker and without? Continue reading to find out.
Beal made his presence on the offensive end felt (like mentioned before), with shifty moves and great spacing between him and the defender. In the first quarter, his stat line read 2-points, 1-5 from the field, and one assist. The assist was pretty. I hoped to see more of it, but for the remainder of the Booker/Beal minutes, the two would go ISO, and slow things down.
The pure speed that Beal had to get to where he wanted, opened up a lot for the Suns, but they were unable to capitalize.
Beal W/O Booker 2nd quarter
The Suns were in desperate need of quick buckets to cut into the 14-point lead and Beal had to find a way to make it work. With doubles heading his way for the majority of the second quarter, the supporting cast had to pick up the pace and run the floor. And with Chimezie Metu and Bol Bol moving on the fast break, the pace picked up and the Suns were within eight to the Clippers.
With the double-teaming from the Clippers continuing to push Beal out of his comfort zone, he looked for other ways to affect the game in a positive way. How was that? Defense. That is right, defense. Ending the stint without Booker, Beal was able to draw a charge against James Harden. These types of plays show the maturity you would expect from an all-star, who at the 7:07 mark in the second quarter only had five points. Until his shot caught up, he was driving the team in other areas of the court.
His shot finally caught up, grabbing four points before the return of Booker. With Booker returning in the second, the shots were there for Beal and will likely be there the remainder of the season, but shooting 5-13 entering half-time did get on my nerves just a bit...
Second Half W/ Booker
This game was set up for Beal to have a huge night, but his missed shots held him and the Suns back. Booker was dealing with his own issues in creating space, due to the size that the Clippers had defensively. It was Beal who continued to have the upper hand until about the 6:00 mark in the third when Booker was able to drain a couple of shots.
Booker and Beal still need to run off screens, to have a bigger impact on the game. The pure aggression that both players have to get to the rim is what we were missing when Beal was out. With all that rest from the recovery that Beal had, you could tell he was ready to use that energy on every possession he had the ball.
The continued push to the rim by Beal really kept the fans in the game, even with a 20-point deficit. I felt by the end of the third quarter, that I could finally see what we are getting from Beal. A guy that gets what he wants offensively, and when he is able to finish plays with a made basket, those 30-point games will start to pour in. Duh! I know, but until it happens in a Suns jersey, you just never know.
With Booker closing the game out as the main ball handler, Beal remained in the corner for the most part. The presence of Bol Bol setting screens to open things up was too good to do anything different as the Suns cut the lead to eight. This will test the unselfishness of Beal, and if he can handle the times when he might not touch the ball. So far, he looks to be a team player.
It will take time to see the full results, but after Wednesday night's game, I was fairly happy with what I saw from him. The loss? Well, I told you it would happen. I swear that I typed this as the game progressed.