Bradley Beal's Clutch Game-Winner Stuns Kevin Durant and OKC Thunder
If you're looking for your shot of the year, Bradley Beal just entered his name into the conversation.
Beal's Washington Wizards were tied, 99-99, with the Oklahoma City Thunder with 12.2 seconds remaining. After pump-faking Kendrick Perkins into the air, Beal leaned in, double-clutched and let go of a beauty.
Nothing but the bottom of the net as Washington took a 101-99 lead with 0.3 seconds remaining.
The Wizards would end up winning by that very score.
Beal finished the game with a team-high 22 points. Teammate Martell Webster matched him at 22, with Emeka Okafor tallying 12 points and 12 rebounds of his own.
On the other end, Kevin Durant led the Thunder with a game-high 29 points and an additional eight assists and seven rebounds. Serge Ibaka added 26 points and 11 rebounds on 12-of-17 shooting.
The victory pushes Washington to 5-28. The loss drops Oklahoma City to 26-8.
Within moments of the staggering finish, Zach Harper of CBS Sports posted a Tweet of the Night candidate. It's one that would make boxing legend Evander Holyfield proud:
REAL BEAL HOLYFIELD— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 8, 2013
I suppose this is a fitting nickname, considering Beal just KO'd the Thunder.
Beal was not alone with the heroics, however, as Durant drained a 24-foot three-pointer to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, Durant was outdone by another sharpshooter as the clock expired.
Expect the March 27 battle between the two teams to be all the more enticing.
On an individual note, this was Durant's 25th game of the season with at least 25 points. It was his 19th game with multiple three-point field goals.
Most importantly, it was Oklahoma City's fourth loss in nine games. They're now a half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for first in the Western Conference.
As for Beal, this was his fifth career 20-point outing. It was the third time he reached the plateau in five games.
The win marked Washington's second victory in 15 games. The Wizards remain the worst team in the NBA in terms of win percentage.
Perhaps this victory will spark a turnaround in D.C. If not, this will be one great highlight to remember for a promising rookie.
It should be one of many to come.
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