It is the dawn of a new era of playoff success for the Washington Wizards and much of that success is due to the maturation of the guards on the roster.
The Wizards slipped past the Bulls 101-99 in a seesaw battle on Tuesday night. As a result, head coach Randy Wittman and his pesky bunch have totally taken the momentum with a 2-0 series lead over the Bulls.
Much of Washington’s prosperity in the two playoff games stems from the tremendous efforts that three particular guards have given.
Start off with Bradley Beal. This 20-year-old shooting guard is a gifted scorer,who averaged 17.3 points in the regular season. Beal scored a game-high 26 points and shot 4-7 from behind the arc in the victory over the Bulls in game 2. Obviously, the big stage does not shake this guy’s confidence one bit.
Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich got a little tangled up with Beal in the 2nd quarter of game 2 and things got heated. Beal just laughed off the altercation and took his frustration out on whomever dared to guard him for the rest of the game, knocking down jumper after jumper in the process. Beal is only in his second year, but from the looks of his recent performances, he is looking quite comfortable in a physical playoff environment.
Next up is Andre Miller. This veteran guard is a valuable piece of the puzzle. Miller may not get the minutes that he used to earlier in his career, but when his number is called, he contributes in a major way. Miller scored 10 points in game 1 and followed up with 8 points and 2 assists in 9 minutes of play in game 2.
10 points and a couple of assists may not be laudable in the stat book but when the Wizards are playing in tight games as they recently have, Miller’s efforts are a big help. Not to mention, Miller acts as a coach for the younger guards on the team. He makes a huge impact even when he is not on the hardwood. Picking up Miller late in the season has definitely aided the Wizards in the quest for postseason success.
Last but certainly not least, is the blur commonly known as John Wall. Wall is averaging 16 points and 6.5 assists in this current playoff series. Although the 23-year-old is in his fourth year as an NBA player, this is his first playoff experience. Wall is fighting of the playoff jitters game by game and thanks to his explosiveness, he has helped his team get off to a strong postseason start. Wall averaged 19.3 points, 8.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in the regular season and looks to continue his strong play in the postseason.
The guards on the Washington Wizards are really turning into a special unit. There is a strong mix of young energy and veteran knowledge. The chemistry between Wall and Beal in the starting backcourt is certainly giving the Wizards an extra push. Additionally, Miller is a playoff savvy guard who can get in there and help the Wizards turn the tide when things get a tad bit distorted. It seems as if all three guards have found the rhythm that they need in order to deliver in crucial postseason moments.
Could this be the start of a tough backcourt tandem for years to come ? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain and that is the fact that this talented backcourt has helped the Wizards snag a surprising 2-0 lead as they push towards taking total control off the series against the Bulls.