On Monday night, the Washington Wizards showed that their first-round victory over the Chicago Bulls was no fluke. They handed the top-seeded Pacers a 102-96 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the opening game of their Eastern Conference semifinal series and put the league on notice that Bradley Beal is the real deal.
The 20-year-old scored a game-high 25 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field (3 for 5 from three-point range) and 6-for-9 shooting from the free throw line. Beal also registered seven assists and five steals.
“I’m just having fun on a great team,” Beal said after the victory. “Whenever we play together and play the right way, it motivates me to be the best player I can be.”
So far, he is putting in one of the best playoff performances for a 20-year-old in NBA history. According to John Hollinger’s Game Score, a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game, Beal already has three of the highest scores among the top 15 and two in the top 10, including the second-best overall:
For the playoffs as a whole, he is No. 1:
“Bradley Beal’s a superstar in this league,” Pacers guard Paul George said after the defeat. “He’s on the rise.”