First up on Saturday night was Bradley Beal, and he went out and dropped 50 on Indiana in a win that moved the Wizards past the Pacers up to the ninth seed.
Stephen Curry said he knew Beal dropped a 50 spot, which meant Curry needed 22 points to hold on to the NBA scoring lead by the end of the night.
Curry scored 24 in the first quarter on his way to 49 in three quarters.
Among the races that will come down to the final week of this strange NBA season, the scoring title is worth watching just for the entertainment factor. Most seasons this title long locked up by now as one person — the last three seasons it was James Harden — had pulled away and has an insurmountable lead. But this season Curry and Beal are battling it out down to the last week.
Curry is averaging 31.9 points per game this season, Beal 31.4. Then it’s a bit of a drop to Joel Embiid in third at 29.2.
How hard Beal can chase Curry for the title this final week will depend on how seriously he tweaked his hamstring — Beal had to leave the game in the fourth quarter Saturday and did not play in the overtime because of it. Beal spoke to reporters after the game, usually a sign an injury is not very serious, but we will have to wait and see how it plays out.
As great as Beal has been in this scoring chase, it feels like Curry has another gear if he wants it.
With both the Wizards and Warriors fighting for play-in position in the final week of the season, don’t expect either player to take a bunch of time off and coast into the title. Also, because the games are serious, don’t expect a “David Robinson jacks up 41 shots to make sure he passes Shaq for the scoring title” kind of game either (Robinson scored 71 in the final game of the 1994 season and did get the crown).
But this race is tight. One “off” night with a scoring total in the teens could swing this race. It’s going to be fun to watch Curry and Beal go down to the wire.
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Stephen Curry scores 49, Bradley Beal 50, scoring title race comes down to final week originally appeared on NBCSports.com