WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after spending 2½ hours at the dentist to fix his two chipped front teeth — parts of which apparently became embedded in Cartier Martin's forehead — Bradley Beal landed hard on the court while his Washington Wizards were trying to hold on to a lead.
It was therefore fitting that, after he showered in the locker room, he put on a sweatshirt with the word "Reckless."
"That's me," Beal said. "Young and reckless."
Teammates were razzing the rookie after the game, which was OK because the Wizards came away with a win despite wasting much of an 18-point fourth-quarter lead. Washington put seven players in double figures Friday night in a 119-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
"We were saying on the bench — he's having a rough rookie year," said Emeka Okafor, who led the Wizards with 17 points and 13 rebounds. "Got his teeth knocked out yesterday, and then continued to get banged up twice, ran into the cameraman and then did some type of gymnastic-worthy landing. It's crazy, but he's a tough kid, he's young, his body can handle it."
Beal, who finished 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, banged his head while fouling Ty Lawson as the guard drove to the basket with 1:07 to play. Beal lay on the floor for a few moments but was quickly back in the game and hit a pair of clinching free throws in the final seconds.
He was wearing a mouth guard because of his head-to-head collision with Martin in practice a day earlier, an impact so powerful that Martin said the doctor removed parts of Beal's teeth while sewing more than a dozen stitches to close the wound.
"It's been a tough week," Beal said.
The Wizards never trailed as they broke a two-game losing streak and added another example to its knack for knocking off top teams while sitting near the bottom of the NBA standings.
It's the kind of loss the Nuggets don't need as they jostle for seeding in the Western Conference. They've dropped four straight on the road, giving up at least 109 points each time.
"I'm a little concerned," Denver coach George Karl said, "that we don't respect the opponent on the road enough to think defense first and then worry about offense — because offense usually happens when we play defense."