Wake-up call: Beal plays like his job is on the line

Wake-up call: Beal plays like his job is on the line
January 25, 2014, 6:00 am
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The solution to playing better is simple for Bradley Beal, and the second-year shooting guard appears to have taken his own advice. They can't take anyone lightly, especially a team such as the Utah Jazz (14-29) on Saturday night. This is the classic "trap" game that comes after the Wizards (21-21) get too impressed with themselves when they upset a quality team such as the Phoenix Suns on their home floor Friday. 

"Everybody is good in this league. No matter what their record is, no matter what team they're on or anything like that," said Beal, before the Wizards went on a four-game West coast road trip that began with a 101-95 win at U.S. Airways Center. "We basically have to come out every single night and have that mentality that you're fighting for your job. If we do that our energy level and our intensity will be a lot higher."

And Beal, who only had three minutes remaining under his 30-minute restriction Friday, did exactly that. After P.J. Tucker missed a pair of free throws that could've given the Suns the lead, Beal drained a three-pointer to make it 96-93. Then Gerald Green defended Beal well but he created enough separation with his dribble to pull up in the lane for another jumper. To punctuate the victory, Beal went end-to-end with a steal for a dunk. 

[RELATED: Instant analysis: Wizards 101, Suns 95]

It was reminiscent of Beal's performance Dec. 16, when he returned from the stress reaction to his lower right leg to drain a pair of three-pointers and the game-winning layup in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden 102-101. That ended a four-game losing streak and put the Wizards back on the right track.

Friday's win made up for the 113-111 overtime loss at home to the injury-plagued Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

It's safe to say that Beal's job is secure, and this is why any rumors that have him being packaged in a trade -- and there already have been some -- aren't to be taken seriously.