Following a disaster of a game in Utah on Monday night where the Wizards lost by 47 points, second-most in franchise history, Bradley Beal couldn't sleep. He had a game the next night in Portland against a good Trail Blazers team, but Beal just didn't feel right after two games where himself scored a combined 21 points.
Beal instead stayed up late watching film, both of himself and other players around the NBA. He was a in a slump and needed a reminder of what makes him one of the NBA's best scorers.
"That’s all I did last night. I barely slept. I was really upset with the way we played as a team and myself individually," he said. "I just watched myself making shots. Just seeing the ball go in, getting confidence off of that and seeing my rhythm and my mechanics."
Whether it was the film session or not, Beal regained that rhythm. He poured in a career-high 51 points in a 106-92 win against the Blazers, the most ever scored by an NBA player at Portland.
The guy whose record he beat? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who had 49 points at the Rose Garden in 1972. That's a decent name to be associated with.
"I’m proud of that, for sure," Beal said. "He’s a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). I’ve got a long way to go before I’m considered in that category."
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Beal had 19 points in the first half and was well on his way to a big night. Then, he had 19 points in the third quarter. Beal played the entire second half and kept it going until the final minute when he dunked with 24.9 seconds remaining for his final points.
Along the way Beal hit a series of timely shots. The Blazers cut the Wizards' lead to nine points with 10:34 left, so Beal answered with a stepback jumper.
After the Blazers cut the lead to nine again at 9:49, Beal responded with a three. Then, when the Blazers got it back down to nine points with 1:28 to go, Beal hit another three that essentially sealed the win.
"They basically couldn’t stop him," center Marcin Gortat said.
"He was due," head coach Scott Brooks said.
Beal's 51 points were just the 12th time in franchise history a Wizards or Bullets player has hit the 50-mark. The last was Wall on Dec. 6 of 2016. Before that, no Wizards player had scored at least 50 since Gilbert Arenas in 2007.
Before this game, Beal had combined for 50 in his previous four outings. It appeared that opposing teams had found the antidote to stopping him with John Wall not on the floor. Either that, or his eye injury was affecting his vision, balance or both.
Beal had worn protective eyewear the last two games, each time taking them off after slow shooting starts. After this performance, don't expect to see them again.
"Yeah, those are done. If I get hit in the eye, I get hit in the eye," he said.
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