WASHINGTON – The Dallas Mavericks truly anticipate going up against shooting guard Bradley Beal when they face the Washington Wizards tonight at 6 at the Verizon Center.
Beal has yet to play this season after fracturing his left wrist in an Oct. 10 preseason game at Charlotte. But he has practiced this week, went through shootaround Wednesday morning and hasn’t been ruled in or out of tonight’s game.
"I think he’s a heckuva young player,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "He can big shots, make three’s, he’s also a good driver.
"But I’ve got to say they’re playing pretty well without him. I think the tempo has been great in his absence.’’
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Last year Beal averaged 17.1 points while helping the Wizards reach the second round of the playoffs. And all signs point to him making his debut tonight against the Mavs, which will make it tougher for Dallas to get out of town with a victory.
"Beal is an All-Star caliber player at the (shooting guard) position,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "And their big guys are skilled and they’re physical, and they’re all playing well and they’re all hitting shots right now.
"They’re legit. They were a second-round playoff team last year, and so it’s a really strong test.’’
A test made stronger with the return of Beal.
"Either way we’ve got our hands full,’’ Nowitzki said. "We’re not sure if he’s playing or not, but we prepared for him.
"And it should be a fun test for us because they’re physical in the bigs, they’re a good rebounding team. They’re a grind it out kind of team, they’ve got some playmakers, so it should be a great test for us on the road.’’