Bradley Beal: Wizards' Play-in Win Among 'Most Beautiful Things I've Seen All Year'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 21, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) reacts after he made a 3-point basket during the second half of the team's NBA basketball Eastern Conference play-in game against the Indiana Pacers, Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Washington Wizards crushed the Indiana Pacers 142-115 on Thursday in the NBA play-in tournament to advance to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal led the team with 25 points, and after the game, he praised his team's fantastic performance.

"It's probably the most beautiful thing I have seen us do all year," Beal told reporters.

Washington shot 58.1 percent from the field and hit 14-of-28 three-pointers en route to the blowout. The Wizards led 66-52 at halftime before scoring 48 third-quarter points and led by as many as 38. They outscored Indiana 72-40 in the paint.

Russell Westbrook was one assist and two rebounds shy of a triple-double at halftime, and Daniel Gafford had five first-half blocks.

Overall, it was an excellent night for the Wizards, who finished the regular season by winning 17 of their last 23 games.

Now they'll battle the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Beal averaged 31.3 points per game during the regular season, and the Wizards will need his scoring prowess to have any chance at pulling off the seven-game series upset.

One potential X-factor is his hamstring, however, as Beal recently missed three regular-season games with a mild left hamstring strain.

Beal talked about the injury with reporters postgame, per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk:

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

Bradley Beal says his hamstring is "feeling better... obviously I am still being cautious about certain movements... 7-game series, there is no change in my approach. Everybody is hurt during this time. Mine is a little bit more significant but it is all about the team."

Beal suffered the injury late in the Wizards' May 8 win over the Pacers before sitting three games between May 10-14.

He returned for the regular-season finale against the Charlotte Hornets last Sunday and also played in the Wizards' play-in loss to the Boston Celtics last Tuesday.

The three-time All-Star looked good Thursday, shooting 9-of-17 from the field:

x - Washington Wizards @WashWizards

HIGHLIGHTS: Bradley Beal dropped 25 points in 28 minutes tonight!#WizPacers | @RealDealBeal23 pic.twitter.com/pAdyy0bbGT

Beal and the Wizards will look to keep their momentum going on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the 76ers, with Game 1 occurring in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.