Bertans showed how he can change games in win vs. Nuggets originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After some of the Wizards’ most narrow defeats this season, Davis Bertans couldn’t sleep. He’d lie awake, stewing over shots he missed, knowing if he made one or two more threes, it could have made the difference.
“The last couple of months have been frustrating as hell,” Bertans said.
“Of course, as a competitor in my position, you kind of blame yourself a little bit. You think about after the game what I could have done better or how I could have helped the team. For me, it’s simple, just make the shots.”
It has taken Bertans a while to get up to speed this season after arriving late to training camp due to a work visa issue and then missing weeks in Covid-19 protocol. But after hitting 5-for-6 from three on Monday, and then setting a new career-high by going 9-for-11 on Wednesday, the Latvian Laser appears to be calibrated.
Bertans is back to raining threes and changing games.
“No training camp, coming in late, then the protocol, missed three weeks, his conditioning. When you’re a high-level shooter, you need your legs,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s coming back. He’s fought through it. He’s a mentally tough kid. He was missing shots he normally makes in his sleep.”
Bertans helped the Wizards erase a 20-point deficit on Wednesday in a win over the Nuggets, the third straight for Washington. He had five threes in the first half and made four more in the second on his way to a career-high 35 points.
Bertans scored 35 points while attempting all of his field goals from 3-point range. That type of game would be odd for most, but not him. That’s what he’s paid to do: make threes and spread the floor.
“When he does have games like this, you just keep feeding him,” guard Bradley Beal said. “Keep giving him the ball as much as we possibly can. He’s always going to shoot it.”
The last two games have shown a completely different version of Bertans. Through his first 21 games this season, he shot just 33.1 percent from three. After going 14-for-17 in two games, his season percentage is up to 37.8. That’s not the 42.4 percent he shot from long range last year, but he’s on his way.
You know Bertans is feeling like himself not only when he’s making threes, but by how he talks about them. He’s a very confident shooter and likes to express that confidence in one-liners to the media.
After the Nuggets game, he said: “When the shot is falling, sometimes there’s not much the defense can do.”
He also added: “I think the couple of threes that I missed, I feel like those should have gone in, too.”
It’s not just Bertans, either. His teammates get a little cocky with his shooting as well. Last season, Beal memorably started walking down the court with his hands up after passing the ball to Bertans, knowing the shot would go in, and it did.
He may have summed up Bertans’ shooting night best:
“You can’t help off Davis. You might as well sprint back on the other end and count it,” Beal said.
Now that Bertans is back to making threes, defenses beware.
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