Bradley Beal might have set a career high with 60 points Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, but that did nothing to improve his mood following the Washington Wizards‘ 141-136 loss at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
“I’m pissed off,” Beal said. “I’m mad. I don’t count [them]. … Any of my career highs, they’ve been in losses. So I don’t give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I’ve had.
“I just want to win. Sometimes you might be able to score 40, 50, 60, whatever the case may be, but I just want to win, whatever that looks like. We came up a little bit short tonight.”
Beal’s 60 points also tied the Wizards’ franchise record, set by Gilbert Arenas in 2006. He was on fire through the first three quarters, pouring in 57 points in the game’s first 36 minutes. But after Washington made up a 10-point deficit to start the fourth quarter with Beal on the bench, he returned with the Wizards tied at 119 with 7 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the game.
From that point on, however, Beal made just one shot and then split a pair of meaningless free throws inside the final 10 seconds with the game well out of reach, as Philadelphia — which shot 61.7% from the field and went 18-for-29 (62.1%) from 3-point range — hit enough shots to eventually pull out a high-scoring slugfest.
“I think they got stops and made more plays than we did down the stretch,” Beal said, when asked what the difference was late. “I think [Joel] Embiid hit a tough 3 … they were making a lot of shots. They hit a lot of tough shots.
“They shot 60% from the field and 62% from 3. You can’t win a game like that.”
For Beal, the afternoon leading up to the game was consumed by the events in Washington, where a mob of people who support President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Beal has made his home in Washington for the past eight-plus years since the Wizards took him third overall in the 2012 NBA draft. He said it was hard to see what was happening and not think about how things would have been different if the people storming the Capitol had been Black.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers and Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce echoed the sentiment earlier Wednesday.
“It’s very emotional,” Beal said. “It’s very disheartening in a lot of ways, because just the lack of sense of urgency there was to respond to what was going on versus protesters and Black Lives Matter over the summer. That was a direct standout from all over the world. Everybody addressed the same issue.”
Earlier Wednesday, Beal retweeted a post from President Trump from the summer, when Trump said anyone who violated federal property during Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon, would face 10 years in prison.
“So we’ll see if he has his foot in his mouth or that is something he really, truly stands for,” Beal said. “Because of the people who were invading our Capitol … they invaded the Capitol. It’s unheard of.
“It’s disheartening this is where we are with the country.”
Beal, who added he was frustrated about the decision not to charge the officers involved in the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer, said that patience will be required to enact the change he and so many others within the NBA community have spent so much time fighting for.
“We continue to fight the good fight,” Beal said. “We continue to get in front of these lawmakers and politicians and we continue to lay the hammer down to changes being made, but the biggest thing is the P-word — patience. Changes aren’t going to be had overnight. We have to understand what that looks like and what that means.
“Patience is going to be required.”
The Sixers, meanwhile, improved to a league-best 7-1 thanks to another stellar performance from Embiid, who finished with 38 points on 11-for-20 shooting — after missing his first six shots — to go along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in 37 minutes.
And, in typical fashion, Embiid wasn’t exactly shy in crediting himself for dragging the Sixers to the win with one big play after another down the stretch.
“They pay me to take over the game,” Embiid said. “They pay me to dominate. That’s my job.
“I always give credit to my teammates. [But] I finished.”
Meanwhile, Embiid’s longtime nemesis, Russell Westbrook, left the game inside the final minute and went straight to the locker room while grabbing at his right hand. After the game, Westbrook said that he’d dislocated a finger and that he’s unsure if it will require him to miss any time.
“That s— hurt,” said Westbrook, who finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 12 assists in 39 minutes. “But I’ll be all right.”