Brooklyn Nets: 3 things to watch against slumping Wizards

Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Beal hot of late for Wizards

Bradley Beal has been rolling for the Washington Wizards, earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for last week’s play and riding a string of six consecutive games scoring at least 20 points.

Beal had 22 points in Washington’s overtime loss at home Wednesday to the Boston Celtics and in six games in December is averaging 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 39.7 minutes per game, while shooting .470/.333/.794.

The All-Star guard had a season-high 36 points on Dec. 5 in a win on the road over the Atlanta Hawks, hitting 12-of-22 shots from the floor and getting to the foul line for 13 free throw attempts, making 10.

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On the season, Beal — once tagged as injury-prone, but now the owner of a consecutive games played streak of 110 — is averaging 22.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in 35.8 minutes a night on .467/.335./777 shooting.

The 3-point shooting mark is at a career-low pace. Beal is a 38.9 percent shooter from deep for his career and topped the 40 percent mark in three of his first six NBA seasons.

John Wall, his All-Star running mate in the backcourt, had missed two games and been ineffective in a third while dealing with a bone spur in his left heel, but he returned with a vengeance against the Celtics, scoring 34 points to go with six boards and 13 assists.

Wall is averaging 21.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 assists in 34.6 minutes a game, shooting .444/.310/.673 in 26 games.

He’s been off from long range this season as well, with his 31.0 percent mark his lowest since shooting 30.0 percent in 2014-15. Last season, he hit a career-high 37.1 percent from behind the arc.

Stopping the guards is the key to stopping the Wizards and it’s likely Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will draw one of the defensive assignments in the backcourt. He’s emerged once again as Brooklyn’s designated stopper at the defensive end.