On Jan. 8, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal went off for 41 points on 16-for-29 shooting (4-of-9 from deep and a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line), just two days after he exploded for 60 points on 35 field-goal attempts.
Per Basketball-Reference creator Justin Kubatko, that made Beal just the ninth player in NBA history to score at least 40 points in the game immediately following a 60-point performance, an extremely impressive feat for the 27-year-old 2-guard.
Bradley Beal became just the ninth player in NBA history to score at least 40 points in the game immediately following a 60-point game.
Beal and Wilt Chamberlain (multiple times) are the only players in that group to do so in consecutive losses. pic.twitter.com/jwcxfie071
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) January 9, 2021
Unfortunately for Beal, though, both of those games came in losses for his Wizards, the former a nine-point defeat to the Boston Celtics and the latter five-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, both teams Washington is looking up at in the Eastern Conference standings at this early point in the season.
This is nothing new for Beal and the Wizards, however, as, per our research, in games where he scores at least 40 points, the St. Louis native possesses the worst record in NBA history at 6-18. (Note: To qualify for our research, players must have at least 10 40-plus-point games).
That’s right, in Beal’s impressive 24 40-point-plus performances, Washington has come out on the losing end 18 times.
That’s still far from the record for most defeats in 40-point games, which belongs to Wilt Chamberlain, whose teams lost an unfathomable 113 times when the all-time great scored at least 40, followed by Michael Jordan (64 defeats in such games) and Kobe Bryant (43 losses in 40-plus-point outings).
Regardless, no player’s teams have ever had a worse win percentage when their star scores at least 40 points (minimum: at least 10 such performances) than Beal and the Wizards’ 25 percent win rate in those contests.
That’s extremely troubling for both the player and franchise, and if Beal does one day wind up wanting out of Washington (there are no such indications at this time), it’ll be easy to pinpoint why.
Beal recently discussed his frustration with the Wizards’ defending, which has been a big reason why they’re off to a 2-7 start, good for last place in the East at the time of this writing:
The Wizards are now 2-7 on the season. pic.twitter.com/2rp7VoBcvv
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 9, 2021
Beal’s right: At the moment, Washington boasts the fifth-least stingy defense in the NBA, giving up 114.6 points per 100 possessions.
If they don’t turn that around quickly and improve to at least a mediocre level of point-preventing, it won’t matter how many buckets the magnificent Beal pours in – the losing will more than likely continue and Beal’s record in 40-point games will only worsen.
Beal badly needs some help from his Washington teammates, not so much in the scoring department but on the less glamorous side of the ball.
Alberto de Roa contributed research to this article.