Beal follows All-Star snub with franchise-best run

NBA

SAN FRANCISCO — Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks couldn’t help but crack a smile while discussing Bradley Beal‘s All-Star snub late Sunday night.

After watching Beal rack up another 34 points in a 124-110 win over the Golden State Warriors, Brooks praised Beal’s latest performance while reminding the rest of the basketball world just how talented his shooting guard has been for years.

“He’s been pretty good ever since I’ve been here, four years now he’s gotten better,” Brooks said when asked how much Beal’s snub has motivated the Wizards’ best player. “We all know [what happened]. Unfortunately he didn’t get it, but the players voted him second, that says a lot. The coaches, we think we know it all, we think we see it all, but the players know it. They know — he’s impossible to guard. He’s one of the elite [scorers]. Right now, there’s James [Harden]. He’s the only one scoring more points than him. He’s really efficient. … Can you imagine if he was an All Star what he’d be doing right now?”

Brooks made it a point to say he was joking as his news conference ended, but the joke has been on the rest of the league since All-Star reserves were announced and Beal didn’t make the squad.

He came into Sunday night’s contest averaging 36.0 points a game since the All-Star snub on Jan. 30, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. With his performance in Sunday’s win, Beal set a franchise record for most games with at least 25 points, with 18.

The soft-spoken Beal is taking both the praise and the All-Star snub in stride as he continues one of the better offensive stretches in recent memory.

“Honestly, I could care less about how I’m playing as long as we’re winning,” Beal said. “Because my career highs and those good games, what is the record? We’re 1-9 when I score 40 or something. That’s terrible. I’m not happy about that. I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Oh yeah, but I scored 40.’ No, we got to win and that’s what I’m about.”

While discussing the impressive nature of Beal’s new record, Brooks heaped praise on the man who has carried the Wizards offense throughout the season, along with sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

“Two words, he is a consistent winner,” Brooks said. “And that’s what it is about. In this league, you can have a game here and there, but in order to be special you have to play with consistent play and Brad does. … There were some defensive strategies out there tonight, and we see that they were double-teaming him and then running a box-and-one and then it seemed like a box-and-one with a double-team. He finds a way. He finds a way to get buckets; he finds a way to get his teammates open, but the level of consistency that he plays with to me is what keeps him at that level of special.”

Beal said he didn’t know why the Wizards are just 1-9 in the games in which he scores 40, but he is hopeful that better days are ahead as the Wizards cling to faint hope of clinching a playoff berth. With the win, the Wizards are now four games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are 9-9 over the past 18 games when Beal has scored 25 points or more.

“You definitely want to leave your mark,” Beal said of setting the scoring streak. “If [records] happen along the journey, those are great accolades. I’m definitely humbled and honored by them, but they don’t motivate me to go out there and do what I do. I play for a higher purpose more so than accolades.”

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