Game recognize game.
Bradley Beal's comments to reporters when asked about matching up across from Zach LaVine embodied that adage.
"It is hell. It's hell," Beal quipped after the Wizards beat the Bulls 105-101. "Zach LaVine is a bona fide scorer in this league. He should hands down be an All-Star. I'm not debating. He's getting my vote."
Beal and LaVine matched each other with 35 points in the contest. And it came down to the wire. After Beal split a pair of free throw attempts to put the Wizards ahead 103-101, he picked LaVine up one-on-one on the Bulls' next possession. LaVine spun and sprinted past Beal, but bungled a game-tying layup attempt over a strong contest by Alex Len. Beal iced it with two more free throws.
"Every time we play it's like this, it's competitive," Beal said. "We're always seeing who can out-compete the other guy, who can lead their team to victory.
"He's been playing some of the basketball in the league over the last couple games. He came in, had 39 before this tonight. So he's electric, man. He has a great change of pace, can shoot the 3, he's a three-level scorer, man."
Indeed, the Bulls end their season series with the Wizards having won two of three. Beal finished the night still atop the NBA's scoring charts (33.3 points per game), while LaVine is posting career highs in points (27.4, 9th), assists (5.3) and rebounds (5.2) per contest.
Now, it's a matter of whether these two will meet again in an All-Star exhibition.