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Bradley Beal: The Dragon Warrior

After a night like that, there is only one place to begin, and that is at the end.

Tie game. Seven seconds on the clock. Facing the San Antonio Spurs. 9:25 Eastern time, Wednesday, November 4th, 2015.

That’s when Bradley Beal unrolled the Dragon Scroll he’s spent three seasons chasing and realized that “there is no secret ingredient.” That’s when it all came together: The stroke. The opponent. The moment. The victory.

Vanquished is the talk of “playoff Beal.” No more will we utter the words “if” or “when.” This is Bradley Beal, The Dragon Warrior, and there is no going back.

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Let’s go back. Five nights ago in Milwaukee, Bradley Beal proclaimed “nobody can stop me. Plain and simple.” He said it with confidence and complete conviction. The believers rejoiced. The doubters wanted more: “Let your game speak.”

And so he did. His game spoke each and every night: 24 points in Orlando. 26 in Milwaukee. 24 against the Knicks.

Then came Wednesday night. Enter Kawhi Leonard: The reigning Defensive Player of the Year. The most feared individual defender in the NBA. “The Claw.” He had held Durant to 6/19 and Melo to 4/17. Surely, Bradley Beal was in for a wake up call. Surely, “plain and simple” was not so plain and simple.

But the alarm never sounded. The wake up call never rang. And thousands of Wizards fans found themselves witnessing the truth manifest itself out of the Bradley Beal dream.

Against the best defender in the NBA, Beal shot 11/22 . He scored 12 first half points to keep the Wizards close, then scored 7 of his 25 points in the last four minutes to close. He ran Kawhi around screens, around the baseline, around the world. He ran the floor in transition.

And in the end, he ran the play to perfection.

When his moment arrived, his stroke was true. “As soon as I jabbed, I knew it was good,” he said. The world stopped on its axis as the shot left his hand. Kawhi watched from the paint. The crowd silenced.

“DAGGER!”

Euphoria.

After the game, Bradley Beal had his mic-drop, walk off moment with Chris Miller.

Call it #BlueMagic. Call it a dream. Just know this: The top just fell over.

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The Real Deal has arrived.

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