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Beal leads Eastern Conference guards in All-Star voting first returns

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On Thursday afternoon, the NBA released the first returns for 2021 NBA All-Star fan voting, which opened last week and categorizes players by position and conference. With 1,273,817 votes, Bradley Beal ranks first among all Eastern Conference guards, ahead of the Brooklyn backcourt duo of Kyrie Irving (1,093,611) and James Harden (1,014,763). Russell Westbrook ranks ninth among Eastern Conference guards with 137,641 votes.

As of the release of voting returns, Beal ranks first in the NBA with 34.9 points per game, 4.0 points higher than the next-closest player (Kevin Durant).

After scoring 32 points against the Heat on Wednesday night, Beal has now scored 25-plus points in all 17 of his games this season, the longest such streak to start a season since the NBA-ABA merger, surpassing Michael Jordan’s record that stood since the 1988-89 season.

Beal’s performance this season is highlighted by a 60-point outburst against the Sixers on January 6, the most points he’s scored in a game in his career, tied for the most points in a game in franchise history and the second-most scored by anyone in the league this season. Beal is responsible for two of the five highest-scoring games in the league this season (60 and 47 points).

Beal is coming off a 2019-20 season in which he was denied a place in the All-Star Game despite averaging over 30.0 points per game and a career-high 6.1 assists. And while the voting period and game itself are meant to recognize the single-season accomplishments of players around the league, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at Beal’s year-long run. From January 1, 2020 until this week, a period of time in which Beal has played 44 games, he’s averaging 34.1 points per game. Dating back to last season, Beal has scored at least 20 points in 40 consecutive games, two shy of setting a new franchise record.

Asked about Beal’s candidacy after his 32-point game against the Heat on Wednesday night, Davis Bertans offered his thoughts: “I think there’s no question about it. His game speaks for itself…He’s an All-Star. He was supposed to be last year and this year, there’s no question about it.”

Fan voting is set to continue through Tuesday, February 16 at 11:59 P.M. Fans can vote on NBA.com, the NBA App and on Twitter, using the hashtag #NBAAllStar and either “Bradley Beal” or Russell “Westbrook” somewhere in the tweet.