Behind second-year shooting guard Bradley Beal, Washington is off to its best playoff start in 32 years.
After a lackluster Game 1 performance in Chicago, the former Gator scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds Tuesday to lead his team to a 101-99 victory in overtime.
The Wizards head home for Friday’s Game 3 with a 2-0 lead. They haven’t won the first two games of a playoff series since 1982.
“We’ve got to come out like we’re down 0-1 or 0-2,” Beal told the Associated Press. “We’ve got to have that sense of urgency and just that drive and that motivation like we did early. We’ve got to be able to maintain that lead. We’ve got to continue to stay poised.”
Beal scored 11 in the fourth quarter to help eliminate Washington’s 10-point deficit and went 4-for-7 from beyond the arc after making no three-pointers in the opening game.
“I can’t take a lot of credit for the fourth quarter,” Beal said. “I think we got a lot of offensive rebounds and kickouts, and John (Wall) hit me on a couple. I was fortunate to be able to knock down some, and I just stayed with it.”
Bulls center and former Gator center Joakim Noah, NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, had 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in the loss.