KD Climbs the Ranks! Passes Big O for 7th All-Time in 30-Point Games

USA Today via Reuters

Denver Nuggets had Aaron Gordon, the Warriors had Draymond Green, Milwaukee Bucks had Jrue Holiday. Every championship team needs a leader that thrives in the nitty-gritty of the game. So, when the Phoenix Suns forged the most talented backcourt this offseason, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the basketball world just expected a total offensive takeover.

The 3 players have harmonized to complement each other on the court. This renders their latest addition, Beal, to impact the game beyond the stat sheet. Beal opens the floor for KD, Booker, and even Grayson Allen (league leader) through his presence on the court. Moreover, when he’s dishing dimes, the Suns’ starters shoot nearly 50% from the three. But Beal’s sacrifices leave him with a shorter stick on the offensive end. And Kevin Durant, after Bradley’s 7-point outing vs Cleveland, wants him to rise, which was pretty evident with the way he spoke at the post-game pressers.

After the game, Durant gave Beal his due credit for bolstering the team’s scoring, saying, “Brad’s done a good job of making the extra pass, getting into the lane, finding guys.” However, the sniper then radiates an urge for Beal to put the ball in the basket himself. He added, “We actually want him to be more aggressive.”

While Durant posed a challenge across to Brad, Devin Booker, and their HC, Frank Vogel deemed praises on Beal’s leaning on doing the unnoticed work. Highlighting Beal’s inclination to guard Zion Williamson in the previous game and crashing the offensive board against the Cavs, Booker said, “He’s doing a little bit of everything out there at the same time as setting us up for open looks.” Moreover, Vogel credited him as the team’s “best paint toucher.”

All of this comes naturally since it was the Devin and Kevin show that led the charge for Phoenix yesterday in a 122-101 victory over Cleveland. With this win, their team is now promoted to the sixth, automatic playoff spot in the West Conference, where they are tied with the Pelicans. Booker led the way to a game-high 40 points, and Durant with 32 points. Their star guard was expected to relieve the duo from the scoring pressure, but he is still settling in pretty nicely considering his spurts of playing the PG role. He is finding new, innovative ways to put a major impact elsewhere.

Bradley Beal stats

While Bradley Beal is performing his duties well, he can use some extra hustle in other areas, considering he had 77 points on 3 of 9 shooting, alongside assists tonight, with 1 turnover and 6 rebounds. Over the last 10 games, Beal averages 12.5 points, 7.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds. With multiple single-digit scores within the stretch, his highest total within the last 10 games came against the Bucks. Beal posted 28 points in the March 17th game, going 11-15 from the floor for a whopping 73.3% clip.

Beal comes off 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists last season. This year, his scoring plummets to 17.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists. While a lot of that decline comes through the numerous injuries this season, it also factors in the small sacrifices he makes for the squad every game (along with a few off nights, of course).

The 2023 tenure marks Beal’s worst offensive production in the last 9 years. However, it still comes far from questioning the shooting guard’s ability to flirt with 30 points a night.

Suns’s next matchup is slated for April 6, 2024, tipping off at 10:00 PM, against the Timberwolves.

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