The 2020-21 season has been a disaster for the Washington Wizards on just about every front. They have battled injuries, positive COVID-19 cases that shut them down for almost two full weeks, and even when healthy and on the court together, have struggled to put together wins, scuffling to a 3-12 start.
For Bradley Beal, who entered Sunday leading the NBA in scoring at 34.7 points per game, it has been yet another season that has tested his patience as he puts up Herculean efforts on the offensive end to no avail on a near nightly basis — Washington has lost the last 10 games, dating back to last season, in which Beal has scored 40-plus. On Sunday, the Wizards welcomed the Nets to town and after falling behind by 18, they clawed back to take a brief second quarter lead before going on to trail by six at the half. Brooklyn was without James Harden, but it was still a pretty solid half for Washington — even if they gave up 71 points.
However, for Beal, he got off to a slow start and seemed wholly disinterested in, well, doing much of anything when he wasn’t directly on the ball on either offense or defense. The NBA’s scoring leader had just 11 first half points and his body language on the court was, well, noticeable as this compilation of clips from the first half shows the very apparent frustration.
Bradley Beal’s first half pic.twitter.com/myuahk6bMW
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 1, 2021
It’s hard to blame Beal for his frustration, which he’s been candid about when speaking to the media but insistent that he wants to stay in Washington despite trade rumors swirling and gaining momentum with each shot of him looking despondent on the bench late in another loss. He will surely get a question about this from someone after the game and will likely offer some form of explanation, but it’s rarely this noticeable during a game when a player is frustrated and one would think something more than just the cumulative struggles of the Wizards caused it.
UPDATE: Beal was able to shake free of his funk to score 37 to go along with Russell Westbrook’s 41 as the Wizards scored eight points in 8.1 seconds to shock the Nets and steal a win in the most improbable of fashion.
BEAL AND WESTBROOK.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 1, 2021