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Bradley Beal shakes out of slump to set records in historic performance vs. Blazers

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USA Today Sports

Bradley Beal shakes out of slump to set records in historic performance vs. Blazers

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."

[RELATED: JOHN WALL LOVES HIM SOME SEAN TAYLOR]

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.

[RELATED: HOW WIZARDS CAME UP WITH G-LEAGUE NAME]

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Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Nic Batum and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Spectrum Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

On the road again

The Wizards have played eight of their last nine games at home, but that is all about to change. Wednesday night's game against the Hornets will begin a five-game road trip and a stretch where 10 of their next 13 games are out of town. This will be a good test for the Wizards who have won six of their last nine, but still struggle to find consistency from game to game.

The Wizards' troubles against losing teams have been well-documented and this stretch will be an opportunity for them to right some wrongs. They begin with the Hornets, who beat them in their last meeting on Nov. 22. They will also see the Mavs and Hawks soon, two teams that pulled off upsets against them earlier this year.

PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER

Otto needs to get going

The Wizards could use more from Otto Porter who over the past year-plus has proven a capable third scoring option, but has not been providing much in that sense lately. Over his last seven games, Porter is averaging just 8.9 points on 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 20.8 percent from three. He's doing other things well, but the Wizards need more from him on offense.

Porter said he's trying to get his legs back after missing the team's game against the Bucks on Jan. 6, and only so many plays are run for him, but head coach Scott Brooks thinks there is more Porter can do to get himself opportunities. Brooks would like to see Porter get open and shoot more often. He wants Porter to be more aggressive and John Wall said pretty much the same. We'll see how Porter responds in Charlotte.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

Hornets are playing better

It hasn't been a great season overall for the Hornets, who are 17-25 and currently 11th in the Eastern Conference, but they have been playing better lately. The Hornets have won four of their last six games including victories over the Pistons and Jazz. They also beat the Warriors and Bucks in recent weeks.

Kemba Walker has been leading the charge, per usual. Over his last 11 games, Walker is averaging 23.1 points 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals. Four games ago he dropped 41 points on the Mavericks. He will be a handful for Wall, but Wall is also playing very well lately with averages of 25.3 points and 11.0 assists per game in his last eight appearances.

PODCAST: BREAKING DOWN JOHN WALL'S SHOE DEAL

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Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Voting for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game's starters is now closed and though they have not fared well with fan ballots, the chances Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal are picked as reserves seem good.

The All-Star reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks thinks the Wizards should have two representatives.

"They're definitely both having All-Star years," Brooks said. "I can't vote for either one, but they are definitely in my mind two of the best guards in the East."

Wall, 27, is averaging 19.9 points and leads the Eastern Conference with 9.3 assists per game. He also leads all NBA guards with 1.1 blocks per game.

Bradley Beal, 24, is seventh in the East with 23.7 points per game and third among Eastern Conference guards. He is averaging a career-high 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

[PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE]

The 25-19 Wizards are currently in the playoff picture, which should help their cause for two All-Stars. But there is a lot of competition at the guard position.

Beal has done plenty to make the case he should be a first-time All-Star. He leads the Wizards in points and has played in every one of their games.

What could hold Wall back is that his numbers are down from last season and the fact he missed 11 games due to injury.

Brooks, though, thinks he should be in there and that it shouldn't be all that close.

"I think John is the best point guard in the East," he said.

Wall is certainly up there among the best point guards in the conference. His competition would be guys like Kyrie Iriving, Kyle Lowry and maybe Ben Simmons. Wall is a more versatile player than Irving and has better numbers than Lowry or Simmons.

The All-Star starters are announced on Jan. 18 and the full rosters will be revealed on Jan. 23. We'll see if Wall and Beal make the cut.

[PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER]