Beal sees way clear in 51-point outburst


Los Angeles (AFP)

Washington guard Bradley Beal, struggling to find his role in the absence of Wizards star John Wall, finally saw his way clear in a 51-point outburst against the Trail Blazers in Portland on Tuesday night.

"I was more locked in, more focused," Beal said. "In the previous games, I was thinking way too much out there instead of playing my game.

"(On Tuesday) I was just playing and having fun, ultimately, and I kind of knew at halftime that it was going to be a good one -- but I didn't think I'd get 50 points."

In five prior games without Wall, Beal averaged more than two turnovers a game. In two prior games he had connected on just 30.7 percent of his shots from the floor.

But after the Wizards were thumped by 47 points in Utah on Monday, Beal was determined to turn things around.

"I put everything on the table," Beal said. "Regardless of whether I made or missed shots, I was going to be a better leader, have good body language and do whatever it took to get a win."

Beal, able to shed the uncomfortable protective goggles he'd worn since he was struck in the face in a game last week, took a career-high in shot attempts with 37 and made a career-high in field goals with 21 and scored a career-high in points with his 51.

It was the 12th time in Wizards history a player reached the mark, and it was the most points scored in Portland against any Trail Blazers opponent in the club's 47-year history.

"It's an honor," Beal said of being mentioned alongside Lou Hudson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who both scored 49 against the Blazers in the 1970s.

"I have a long way to go before I'm even considered in that category. To hold that record in this building, that speaks volumes, with all the guys who have come through here and done miraculous things.

"I'm proud of it, but I'm more proud of the win we got."