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Wizards' Bradley Beal breaks Michael Jordan record, continues scoring spree

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who broke a Michael Jordan scoring record Wednesday, continues to be the subject of trade rumors. Photo by All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who broke a Michael Jordan scoring record Wednesday, continues to be the subject of trade rumors. Photo by All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons

MIAMI, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Bradley Beal broke one of Michael Jordan's records, continued his scoring spree and helped the Washington Wizards earn just their fifth win in a game that served as a metaphor for the team's inconsistent 2020-21 season.

Beal began the game with two 3-pointers in the first minute to help Washington take an initial lead in the 103-100 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday in Miami. He went on to score a game-high 32 points.

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The performance showed that the Wizards can compete with any NBA team -- even last year's Eastern Conference champions -- but also was a glaring example of the team's overall inconsistent play this season, despite Beal's heroics.

Beal has scored at least 25 points in 17 consecutive games. The streak is a new NBA record to start a season, and broke Jordan's previous mark of 16 consecutive games from 1988-89.

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"It's pretty cool," Beal told reporters on a post-game Zoom conference call. "That's a remarkable achievement. It's not something you always shoot for, but it's amazing to hear all the stats that we come up with in our game.

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"To pass [Jordan] is always a great feeling. It's something you always put in your accolades, but at the same time, it felt even better getting it in a win."

Beal's brilliance has been consistent, but winning has been rare this season for the Wizards. Washington (5-13) entered the game with just one win in its previous six games. The Wizards had won just twice in 10 games before their road trip to Miami.

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Beal has scored at least 40 points three times this season, but the Wizards lost all three games. Washington posted a 1-9 record last season in games that Beal scored 40 points or more.

He has averaged an NBA-best 34.8 points per game this season despite the Wizards' woes. The visual of having one of the world's best players one of the NBA's worst teams has led to speculation that Beal would rather play for a contender.

He has added to the ugly picture with frequent displays of poor body language on the court and bench when his team struggles. Beal admitted last week that he has to improve his composure in those cases, but also responded, "Is the sky blue?" when asked if he was frustrated.

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The trade of Beal's longtime teammate, John Wall, in December increased speculation that Beal could be the next basketball star to leave the Wizards.

The two-time All-Star signed a two-year contract extension in 2019 and is signed with Washington through 2021-22, but continues to be the subject of trade rumors. The Heat has been one team linked as a destination for the veteran guard.

The Wizards' guard had a change-of-pace poise in his latest news conference. He appeared more optimistic and pleased with his team's effort instead of disappointed with another loss.

Beal said last off-season that he wanted to remain in Washington, D.C., and he never has publicly requested a trade. Wizards coach Scott Brooks also has signaled that the team also is not willing to move on from its brightest star.

"We're not interested," Brooks told reporters on Saturday. "I think I might tell [our general manager] Tommy [Sheppard] to block all the 29 other general managers' numbers. We're not answering."

Beal on Wednesday said Brooks "lit a fire" under Wizards players to improve their play as of late. He said their previous deficiencies with defense, ball movement, consistency and confidence were strengths in the win in Miami.

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"It's the NBA," Beal said. "It's the highest level of basketball. Teams aren't going to feel sorry for us. We have to be more consistent with our effort, communication, rebounding and everything that goes into it."

The Wizards have a rematch with the Heat at 8 p.m. EST Friday in Miami.

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