Bradley Beal became the first player since Kobe Bryant to score 50 points on back-to-back nights when he dropped a career-high 55 in the Washington Wizards’ 137-134 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Beal shot 58% from the field, including 8-of-13 from 3-point range, one night after he shot 56% and scored 53 points in a loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“I was just locked in, and I just was having fun,” Beal said. “Probably the most fun game I’ve ever played in.”
Bryant, who was honored in a memorial service on Monday in Los Angeles, scored 60 against Memphis and 50 against New Orleans on March 22-23, 2007, the final two contests of his historic four-game streak of scoring 50 or more points.
“Oh, man, that’s crazy,” Beal said. “Didn’t know that. That’s who Kobe was. That was his drive, and that ceremony today just brought the feeling, the tears all back again.”
Unlike Bryant’s Lakers, who won all four of those games, Beal’s Wizards lost both of his 50-plus games, and the eighth-year guard joined Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden and Devin Booker as the only players in NBA history to score 50 in consecutive games and lose twice. Beal is the first to do so on back-to-back nights.
Beal also became the first Wizards player in franchise history to score 50 in consecutive games. Since the franchise rebranded as the Wizards in 1997, only Michael Jordan had scored even 45 points in back-to-back games for Washington.
“One thing that I’ve learned to respect in learning about the death of Kobe is … it’s not about how many points I’ve scored, it’s not about how many All-Star Games I make, it’s not about how many All-NBA teams I make because at the end of the day, when I’m gone from here, you guys aren’t going to remember that, nor are you going to care — and I feel like that’s how we feel with Kobe,” Beal said. “So, you know, I feel like the impact that you leave on others and your teammates and everybody around you is what’s most important. So I think that’s what I take to heart the most and carry that for the rest of my life.”
On Monday, Beal had the ball with a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, but he opted to pass to Rui Hachimura, whose last-second shot was blocked by Felipe Lopez.
“I probably should’ve shot the ball at the end of [regulation],” Beal said. “Granted, Rui was wide-open. I should’ve threw a zip pass to him. I kind of lobbed it to him, so I set him up for failure.”
At the end of overtime, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said his team tried to keep the ball away from Beal, and Troy Brown Jr.’s 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.
“We definitely didn’t want [Beal] to take the last shot,” Budenholzer said. “We feel fortunate that we made one more play than them probably down the stretch.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.