- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bradley Beal’s line belied the influence of his return.

Back after missing eight consecutive games because of big toe and lower leg injuries on his right side, Beal scored just 10 points Saturday night in a 99-95 win against the Detroit Pistons. He shot a paltry 2-for-10 from the field. A couple wide open 3-point shots went awry.

“Yeah I let them off the hook a couple times,” Beal said. “I had a lot of open ones that I wish I could have back.”

It was what he said next that was so crucial.

“Whenever I come off pin-downs I have three people in my face,” Beal said. “Even with me coming off an injury, at least give me a few free ones. It’s a sign of respect, I just have to continue to get better and I have to figure out ways to get open and knock down open shots.”

The Wizards desperately missed that respect. It opens up the floor for John Wall’s drives. Nene and Marcin Gortat have more room in the lane to work together. Paul Pierce putting up eight 3-pointers Saturday night also helped spread things out. The Wizards made seven 3-pointers, their most since the all-star break, against the Pistons in a the losing-streak-snapping win. They attempted 20.

Beal figured he would be back by this point. He also said he wanted to play Tuesday, when the Wizards lost to the Golden State Warriors before setbacks against the lousy Minnesota Timberwolves and even worse Philadelphia 76ers.

“I knew I was going to play [Saturday] like a week or two ago,” Beal said. “Based off doctor’s estimations, I guess. I wanted to play Tuesday, I guess it was too soon. Just a matter of me feeling comfortable. Getting a few workouts in and then going from there.”

Beal’s first practice in almost three weeks will come Monday. Despite his line, his first full game since Feb. 4. was a delight for the Wizards.

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