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Beal scores 55 in Wizards' overtime loss to league-leading Bucks
Bradley Beal scored a career-high 55 points, his second straight game with 50-plus points, as the Wizards (20-36) fell 137-134 in overtime to the league-leading Bucks (49-8). Beal became the first player in franchise history to record consecutive 50-point games and the first player in the league to do it on back-to-back nights since Kobe Bryant in 2007. Beal finished the night 19-33 (.575) from the field, 8-13 (.615) from 3-point range and 9-10 (.900) from the free throw line.
“[He’s] special player,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said of Beal postgame. “[He’s a] special player doing everything that he can possibly do to keep putting us in a position to have success. Now we didn't win. We haven't won enough games that we would like to have won, but Brad's a winner. He does it time and time again. Tonight, we just came up short. No excuses. We had our chances. Great game playing against the team that's probably going to be playing basketball in late June. What I love [about] our guys is that this is how we played before the break and now we have it back, even though we lost the game. But we still had that competitive spirit, the enthusiasm that it takes to win in this league and now we have to just keep it going forward.”
With the Wizards down 10 with 7:40 to go, Beal hit a pull-up 16-footer to cut the deficit to single digits. From that point, Beal scored 17 consecutive points for the Wizards over the course of the next five minutes. One possession after a Shabazz Napier scored to snap the streak, Giannis Antetokounmpo was called for an offensive foul – his sixth – and sat the remainder of the game. Beal hit another 3-pointer, his seventh of the night, to tie the game at 121 and scored on the following possession to give the Wizards a two-point advantage. After Milwaukee tied the game on a pair of free throws, the teams went scoreless over the final 54.6 seconds of regulation, sending the game to overtime.
In the 7:50 that he played in the fourth quarter, Beal scored 22 points on 8-11 (.727) from the field and 4-4 (1.000) from 3-point range.
Beal scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Wizards a 132-128 lead with 1:57 left in overtime. That, however, marked the end of Washington’s offensive hot streak. Khris Middleton scored seven points in the next 1:16, including a 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds left to give the Bucks a 135-132 lead. Beal hit a pair of free throws with 15.4 seconds left, his 54th and 55th points of the night, setting a new career high and cutting the Bucks’ lead to one. The Wizards then fouled Middleton, who made a pair of free throws, giving him 40 points on the night. Washington would get the last shot – a difficult corner three from Troy Brown Jr. that rimmed out at the buzzer.
“We showed heart, that's what it was – for a full 48,” Beal said. “I think we got off to a slow start...17 and whatever it may have been. We just clawed back, we showed some resilience. In our head, we're viewing this as a first-round match-up if we get there. This is kind of our message to them. We know how tough of a team they are. They're the best team in the league right now. We're going to compete with the best of them and we're not going to go out without a fight.”
Beal’s performance was his 15th consecutive game with at least 25 points. The performance broke a tie with Walt Bellamy for the second longest such streak in franchise history. Beal needs just two more games with 25-plus points to tie the franchise’s all-time record of 17 straight games, also held by Bellamy.
The Wizards trailed 57-47 at halftime. Milwaukee shot 52.9% from 3-point range to Washington’s 28.6% – and outrebounded the Wizards 23-19. Washington’s outlook only worsened early in the third quarter as Milwaukee built its lead up to 20 points before the comeback commenced.
Washington was without top reserves Davis Bertans (sore right knee) and Thomas Bryant (right foot injury management) against Milwaukee, a substantial blow to the Wizards’ depth against one of the league’s best top-to-bottom rosters. With Bertans and Bryant out, Napier stepped up to carry the bench unit, scoring a season-high 27 points on 10-17 (.588) from the field to go along with seven assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals.
Next up, the Wizards host the Nets (26-30) on Wednesday at 7:00 P.M. before embarking on a four-game road trip out West that features matchups with the Jazz, Warriors, Kings and Blazers.