WASHINGTON -- You don't often see emotions mixed in basketball to the degree they were for Bradley Beal on Monday night. After his team fell just short against the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, he described the game as simultaneously "terrible" and "the most fun [he's] ever played in."
That is a bizarre range of extremes. But it also makes perfect sense if you either watched the game or took a glance at where Beal's recent surge has placed in NBA history.
Take for instance the fact Beal scored 55 points, a career-high, one night after setting a career-high with 53 points against the Bulls. He became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962, 58 years ago, to have 53 points or more in consecutive games and lose both of them.
Two losses in two games, but 108 points scored. That will certainly leave you conflicted.
Also look at the way the game transpired. Beal scored 22 of the Wizards' final 24 points in regulation to force overtime. It was a miracle effort against a Bucks team currently on pace for the third-most regular season wins in NBA history. The 20-35 Wizards even forcing an extra period against this team and after trailing by 20 points was impressive in its own right.
Still, they lost. And that left Beal talking out both sides of his mouth.
"I'm a winner, so you can throw those 55 out with the last 53," Beal said seconds before adding: "We showed some resilience. In our head, we're viewing this as a first round match-up if we get [to the playoffs]. This is kind of our message to them."
Really though, no matter the result, this was arguably the best game of Beal's career and not just because of the point total. You could build a case for other games of his, ones where he had triple-doubles or that actually resulted in Wizards wins. But scoring 22 of his team's 24 points in a span of about seven minutes to will them to overtime was a next-level takeover.
And Beal happened to have this night with the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and fellow All-Star Khris Middleton on the court. Beal, of course, was not a 2020 All-Star and this was yet another moment that made people say he should have been one.
"He’s an All-Star," guard Shabazz Napier said. "We expect that."
Beal was not an All-Star, though. And the more he plays like this, the more he does indeed make it seem ludicrous he wasn't one. After these last two games, for example, he is now averaging 30.1 points per game, the most in the Eastern Conference. Only James Harden (35.3) is averaging more this season.
Speaking of Harden and Chamberlain, Beal joined them as one of only three players in NBA history to score 53 points or more in consecutive games. He is the first to drop 50 on back-to-back nights since Kobe Bryant in 2007. Those are some of the very best scorers of all-time.
So, maybe Beal's name wasn't included with Middleton and Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons, and the other Eastern Conference All-Star reserves. For now, he will just have to settle with Chamberlain, Bryant and Harden instead.
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