Beal hits another level as Wizards grasp to playoff hopes

Beal hits another level as Wizards grasp to playoff hopes
Photo credit Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards are hanging on to their playoff hopes by a thread, thanks in large part to a career-best season from All-Star Bradley Beal.

With 12 regular-season games to go, the Wizards (30-40) sit 3.5 games back from the eighth and final playoff spot, currently in the possession of the Miami Heat (33-36).

About eight games ago, Scott Brooks did the math, breaking their remaining schedule down to four give-game series.

"We have to win all the series," Brooks figured, telling The Sports Junkies during his biweekly appearance, presented by Greenberg & Bederman.

"The first series we won three-out-of-five," he said.

The Wizards are ahead in their second series, two-games-to-one, with Utah (Monday) and Chicago (Wednesday) up next to close it out.

Beal – who's already averaging career highs points (26.2), rebounds (5.3), assists (5.6), steals (1.5) and minutes (37.7) this season – has turned it up another notch.

Over their last eight games (two series), the 25-year-old is averaging 29.1 points per game, 7.5 assists, 6.6 boards, 2.3 steals and 40.2 minutes.

Brooks was jokingly asked by one of the hosts if he intends to hold Beal to a minutes restriction down the stretch, or, "Are we just gonna wear his (butt) out?"

"Wear him out," Brooks responded after a hearty laugh. He didn't appear to be joking, if Beal's minutes are any indicator.

Whether the Wizards ultimately make the playoffs or not, Beal – scoring 40 points in each of their last two games – has indeed found another level in crunch time.

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