Bradley Beal was dragging, having logged more minutes than anyone else, and complaining during an earlier timeout that he was tired. Coach Randy Wittman saw the 19-year-old slouching and gasping but was in no position to cut him any slack with the Washington Wizards more undermanned than usual Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Coach said, ‘If you think I’m taking you out, you’re crazy,’ ” Beal said with a grin.
So he played on, and with the game tied following a Kevin Durant-led ambush, Beal had the last play drawn up for him to create, and to learn what it feels like to be the hero.
Beal let time whittle away until he made his move. He pump-faked to get Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha off their feet, then dipped under Perkins to nail a one-handed jumper from the foul line with three-tenths of a second remaining to deliver an improbable 101-99 victory over the defending Western Conference champion at Verizon Center.