In the 10 games since Beal learned he was not voted an all-star reserve by the league’s coaches, the eighth-year pro has averaged 36 points to increase his scoring average to 30.1, second only to Houston’s James Harden (35.3). Beal has posted new career highs in consecutive games, with 53 points on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls and 55 in Monday’s overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I’m a winner, so you can throw those 55 out with the last 53,” Beal said after becoming the first player in NBA history to score at least 50 points on consecutive days and have his team lose both games.
With his performance in Monday’s losing effort, which included eight three-pointers, Beal joined Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain and Harden as the only players in NBA history to score at least 53 points in consecutive games. He also became the first player to eclipse 50 points on back-to-back days since Kobe Bryant in March 2007. Bryant, who was eulogized during a memorial service Monday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, accomplished the feat during a stretch of four straight 50-point games.
“That’s who Kobe was,” Beal said Monday. “That was his drive, and that ceremony today just brought the feeling, the tears, all back again. I think everybody watched, and it was spectacular.”
Beal, who passed Jeff Malone and moved into second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list behind Elvin Hayes on Sunday, scored 22 of the Wizards’ final 24 points in regulation against the Bucks to help force overtime in Washington’s eventual 137-134 loss. His 55 points are the third-highest single-game total in franchise history, behind Gilbert Arenas’s 60 points against Bryant’s Lakers in 2006 and Earl Monroe’s 56 against the Lakers in 1968.
“Bradley, he’s a monster right now,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday during an interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan. “He’s been on a tear pretty much all season, but lately he’s been really special.”
After Monday’s loss, Beal reflected on what he has learned from the various tributes to Bryant since the Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.
“It’s not about how many points I score. It’s not about how many all-star games I make. It’s not about how many all-NBA teams I make. Because at the end of the day, when I’m gone from here, you guys aren’t going to remember that, nor are you going to care,” he told reporters. “I feel like that’s how we feel with Kobe. I feel like the impact that you leave on others and your teammates and everybody around you is what’s most important. So I think that’s what I take to heart the most and carry that for the rest of my life.”
Monday’s game featured another statistical oddity, marking the first time in 58 years that two players each scored at least 40 points in consecutive meetings. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, who had 40 points Monday, scored 51 in the Bucks’ 151-131 win over the Wizards last month. Beal finished with 47 in that game.
Beal now has three 50-point games in his career, tying him with Arenas for the most in franchise history. He’ll have a chance to make it four on Wednesday, when the Wizards, who are 4½ games out of the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, host the Brooklyn Nets.
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