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By the numbers: Beal's first 10 games of the season
After a 2019-20 season in which Bradley Beal finished second in the league in scoring, averaging 30.5 points per game, the All-Star guard has taken his game to another level this season. Below, we take a look at his first 10 games of the 2020-21 campaign by the numbers.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Beal, averaging 34.9 points per game, currently leads the league in scoring by a wide margin. The next-closest player is Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who is averaging 28.6 points per game. For some historical perspective, only six players in NBA history have finished a full season averaging 34.9 points per game or more: Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden and Michael Jordan. Since 1989, it has only been accomplished twice.
Beal also leads the league in 40-point games (2), 30-point games (6) and is tied for the league lead in 20-point games (10).
TOTALS THROUGH 10
Beal has scored 349 total points through his first 10 games of the season. Only six players in NBA history have scored more points in a season’s first 10 games: Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden, Michael Jordan and Jack Twyman. Prior to Harden scoring 373 in 2019-20, no player had scored 349 points or more since Jordan in 1988-89 and 1986-87 – and prior to that, no player had done so since Barry in the 60s. Before Beal’s run to start the 2020-21 season, Walt Bellamy (1962-63) held the previous franchise record for points in the first 10 games of a season with 340.
60 ON THE SIXERS
The peak of Beal’s 10-game run came on January 6, when he scored a career-high 60 points against the Sixers. That night, Beal shot 20-35 (.571) from the field, 7-10 (.700) from three and 13-15 (.867) from the free throw line, setting season highs in field goals made and attempted, threes made and attempted and free throws made and attempted. The performance tied a single-game franchise scoring record set by Gilbert Arenas in 2007, though Arenas scored 16 of his 60 points in overtime. Beal amassed his 60 points in regulation, including 57 in the first three quarters alone. Beal’s game went well beyond just putting the ball in the basket – he also added seven rebounds and five assists. With the performance, Beal became the fifth player in the NBA to score 60 points in a game since the start of the 2018-19 season and joined Stephen Curry as the only players to do so this season.
In the game following his record-tying 60-point showing against Philly, Beal stayed hot. He scored 37 points in the first three quarters against the Celtics and went on to finish with 41 points in 38 minutes of action. In doing so, Beal became the first player this season to score 40-plus points in consecutive games. Beal has scored 40 in consecutive games five times in his career and is the only Wizards player to have accomplished the feat even once since 2005.
With the 41-point performance against Boston, Beal had totaled 101 points in two games, becoming one of just seven players since the start of the 2011-12 season to average at least 50.0 points per game over a two-game span.
In scoring 34 points in a win over the Suns on January 11, Beal extended his NBA-best streak of 20-point games to 33, which is 20 more than the next-closest player, Cleveland’s Collin Sexton (13). More impressive is Beal’s streak of 25-point games to start this season. He topped the 25-point mark in all 10 of his games played, becoming just the fourth player since 1976 to start a season with such a streak. Only Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Orlando Woolridge have accomplished the same feat. Jordan, who started two seasons with similar streaks, and Iverson are the only players start a season with 11-or-more consecutive games of 25-plus points.
Beal’s 34-point game against Phoenix marked the 300th game of his career with at least 20 points, which ranks second in franchise history, trailing only Elvin Hayes’s 421 games. Beal passed Jeff Malone, who has 291 such games, when he scored 39 points against the Magic on December 26.
Through 10 games, Beal has a usage rate of 35.8, which trails only Dallas’s Luka Doncic (37.3) among players averaging at least 15 minutes per game this season. Last season, Beal ranked fifth in the league with a 33.8 usage rate. Beal’s 117.8 offensive rating is the highest of his career by over four points, topping his 113.5 offensive rating from the 2016-17 season. He’s also on track for career highs in rebounding percentage (7.4), defensive rebounding percentage (10.9), offensive rebounding percentage (4.1), true shooting percentage (60.8) and pace (106.58).
Stats and research: Wizards Communications, NBA Stats, Elias Sports Bureau and Basketball Reference