WASHINGTON (AP) — Rookie Bradley Beal insists his winless Washington Wizards are not getting discouraged.
Not yet, anyway.
"That's one thing that we most definitely try to avoid," the No. 3 overall pick in the June draft said. "I mean, once we get that, we hang our heads low, then we come out sluggish, and then teams really start beating us. And then we just get into the 'I don't care anymore' mode."
Even a 12-0 head start against the Milwaukee Bucks and Beal's additional aggressiveness — 22 points plus a flagrant foul that got him ejected in the final minute — were not enough for the Wizards to avoid falling to 0-4.
Monta Ellis scored 22 points, and the Bucks quickly erased an early deficit before pulling away with a 13-point run bridging the third and fourth quarters to beat the Wizards 101-91 on Friday night, when Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings also was sent to the locker room for shoving Beal.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, Beal knocked Ellis to the court on a breakaway. As Beal leaned over to offer Ellis a hand to help him up, Jennings ran up and pushed Beal.
"Who knows what their coach told them to do? 'Fight through every play.' It ended up in a bad situation," Ellis said.
Jennings' take? "I was just trying to protect my teammate," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get kicked out for it."
And Beal's? "It was just a foul."
When he was asked about his first back-to-back set of NBA games, with Washington playing at the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Beal smiled and said: "If I play tomorrow."
His club is one of only two in the 30-franchise league that will enter the weekend without a victory. The other? The Detroit Pistons are 0-6 after a 105-94 loss at Oklahoma City on Friday.
"We just need a win. We need a win," said A.J. Price, who is starting at point guard for Washington while John Wall sits out with a knee injury. "We need a win as much as possible."
Washington is without its top two players, Wall — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft — and center Nene. Wall is expected to be sidelined until next month, while there is no definitive timetable for Nene's return from a foot problem.
The Bucks, meanwhile, avoided what coach Scott Skiles said would have been a "bad loss" and improved to 3-1. They were coming off their first defeat, against Memphis on Wednesday.