The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Washington Wizards on Monday night, which on the surface is a wholly unremarkable result given the way the season has gone for both teams, but while the end result was the expected one, how they got there was not.
Milwaukee led by 13 points after three quarters and seemed destined to cruise to a win, but as Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out in 25 minutes, Bradley Beal erupted for his second straight 53-plus point scoring performance. Beal had 53 in a loss to the Bulls on Sunday night and then came out on Monday and followed it up with 55 points, setting a new career-high in the process and becoming just the third player along with Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden to have back-to-back 53-plus point games.
Beal had 22 in the fourth quarter, helping Washington claw back into the game, including briefly taking the lead late after he knifed through the defense for a layup.
In overtime, Beal continued to do his part to try and drag the Wizards to a win, but ultimately came up just short in a 137-134 loss, as he had 55 points to go along with three assists and two boards.
Khris Middleton shined for the Bucks in what was a short outing for Giannis — who still had 22 points and 14 boards in 25 minutes — as Middleton scored 40 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds in the victory, including what ended up being the game-winner in overtime.
Middleton’s turn into a legitimate star-level player, as he continues to grow into a larger role, has had such a tremendous impact on the Bucks’ ability to withstand games where Giannis is either out or dealing with foul trouble. On the other side, Beal producing back-to-back 53-point games is truly spectacular and to do so against the league’s best defense shows the caliber of scorer and offensive player he is.