Wizards meet league-leading Bucks Tuesday night
The Wizards take on the league-leading Bucks on Tuesday at 9:00 P.M. at the VISA Athletic Center in what will be the penultimate seeding game for both teams. The Wizards, coming off a loss to the Thunder, are looking to earn their first win of the seeding period. Milwaukee, coming off a loss Monday night against Toronto, has already locked up the one-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will be without a number of its key contributors against the Wizards. Eric Bledsoe, Donte DeVincenzo, Wesley Mathews and Khris Middleton are all listed as out.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks announced pregame that Troy Brown Jr. would start at point guard while Jerome Robinson would start at shooting guard.
VISA Athletic Center | 9:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Troy Brown Jr., G – Jerome Robinson., F – Isaac Bonga, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Thomas Bryant
Bucks: G – George Hill, G – Kyle Korver, F – Pat Connaughton, F – Giannis Antetokounmpo, C – Brook Lopez
Wizards: Garrison Mathews (personal reasons – out), Shabazz Napier (right ankle sprain – out)
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (tooth; oral surgery – active), Eric Bledsoe (right knee soreness – out), Donte DiVincenzo (right elbow contusion – out), Wesley Matthews (right adductor soreness – out), Khris Middleton (rest; load management – out)
Wizards see plenty of opportunity in final two seeding games
With two games left on the Wizards’ seeding schedule and their long, unprecedented 2019-20 season winding to a close, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks says the team’s focus hasn’t wavered – and that the goals they set going into Orlando still apply despite their lack of wins in the bubble.
“We’re still going to teach, we’re still going to grow and we’re still going to work on the correct habits.” said Brooks after Sunday’s game against OKC. “That’s what we’re all here to do…It’s about working on the right habits and we’ve been doing that. I’d like to see all of us get rewarded in the last two games.”
For a number of young players, the benefits of the time spent in Orlando are apparent. Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Jerome Robinson and Isaac Bonga all look like far more developed versions of themselves compared to what fans last saw in March. Brooks has credited them for how far they’ve come individually and noted how important that will be in seasons to come. Brooks also credited the leadership of veterans Ish Smith and Ian Mahinmi, who have provided a steady presence for the team’s mostly young roster on and off the court throughout the restart process.
Robinson shows flashes as a passer
Jerome Robinson is set to make his first start of the seeding period Tuesday against the Bucks. Robinson’s reputation, both coming out of college and as he joined the Wizards via trade from the Clippers, was that of a score-first guard with upside on both ends of the court. Robinson showed flashes that fit that description prior to the season’s suspension and even more so during the restart in Orlando. But one aspect of his game that has popped during play in the Disney bubble has been his passing. Robinson spends most of his time on the court as an off-ball guard, limiting his ability to rack up gaudy assist numbers, but he’s taken advantage of more opportunity in Orlando.
Among Wizards players averaging at least 15.0 minutes per game, Robinson ranks fourth on the team with a 12.8% assist percentage and is coming off a career-high six against the Thunder on Sunday. Washington played Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City without backup point guard Shabazz Napier (sprained right ankle) thrusting more playmaking duties on multiple players, including Troy Brown Jr. and Jerian Grant. But no one took more advantage of the opportunity than Robinson. Against the Thunder, Robinson recorded three assists in pick-and-roll play, two to off-ball cutters and one in transition, pushing the ball ahead to Troy Brown Jr. If Robinson can continue to make strides as a passer, adding to his already capable two-way skillset, he’ll open up even more opportunity for minutes in a guard-heavy rotation next season.
Shorthanded Bucks unfazed by quick turnaround
The Bucks will be playing on short rest Tuesday night, having taken on the Eastern Conference’s second-ranked Raptors the night prior. Milwaukee was defeated 114-106 by Toronto, but was playing without defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (tooth; oral surgery). A lack of rest, however, hasn’t been much of a problem for the Bucks this year. Dating back to the start of the 2019-20 regular season, the Bucks are 8-2 on zero days rest and are outscoring opponents by nearly 12 points per game in those outings. That Bucks team, though, was much different than the team that takes the court Tuesday against the Wizards. While Antetokounmpo will make his return, Milwaukee will be without three Monday night starters and Donte DiVincenzo, one of the team’s most impactful reserves.