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Wizards take on East-leading Bucks
Coming off wins over the Thunder and Sixers already this week, the Wizards will host the Bucks on Friday night. Milwaukee owns the best record in the NBA at 29-11 and will certainly present a challenge. This will be the first of three matchups between the two teams. The Wizards and Bucks split the season series last season.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Thomas Bryant
Bucks: G – Eric Bledsoe, G – Malcolm Brogdon, F – Khris Middleton, F – Giannis Antetokounmpo, C – Brook Lopez
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left heel soreness – out), Markieff Morris (transient cervical neuropraxia – out)
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (right quad/left hip – doubtful), Donte DiVincenzo (left heel – doubtful), Eric Bledsoe (left hamstring – questionable), D.J. Wilson (left hip – questionable), Christian Wood (right ankle – questionable), Ersan Ilyasova (left quad – probable)
Wizards competing during tough stretch
In what is arguably the toughest month this season, the Wizards have gone 3-2 in January. With wins over the Thunder in OKC and at home against the Sixers in the past several days, the Wizards are putting it together at the right time. Dating back to 2018, the Wizards have won four of their last six games. The Wizards are ninth in the NBA in net rating this month, outscoring opponents by 5.4 points per 100 possessions. If you take away the team’s blowout loss in Philadelphia, the team would rank even higher. Bradley Beal ranks eighth in the NBA this month in scoring, averaging 28.8 points per game to go along with 5.2 assists per game, 47.7% overall shooting, and 39.6% from beyond the arc. Otto Porter Jr. has stepped up since coming back from injury, scoring 20 and 23 points respectively in the wins over the Thunder and Sixers. Washington will begin a stretch of games against Milwaukee, Toronto, Golden State, San Antonio, and Indiana during the rest of the month.
Led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.6 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 6.0 APG), the Bucks have the best record in the NBA. Stopping Antetokounmpo is always the key to beating them, but the Greek Freak will likely miss Friday's game. All five Bucks starters average 12.2 points per game or more per game, with Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Eric Bledsoe all border-line All-Stars. Brook Lopez can hit stepback 3-pointers now too, providing the spacing that Mike Budenholzer’s team thrives on.
Milwaukee has won 11 of its last 13 games dating back to December 14, with a 14-point average margin of victory in those 11 wins. The Bucks are the only team in the NBA to be inside the top five of both offensive (3rd, 111.1) and defensive (4th, 102.5) rating this season. Milwaukee’s net rating of 8.6 is also the best mark in the league.Milwaukee has taken on the Houston shooting chart, focusing on 3-pointers and points in the paint. The Bucks shoot 38.6 triples per game, second in the league, and also make 47.8% of their field goal attempts, fourth in the NBA. They also rank in the top three in defensive and overall rebounding percentage, leading the NBA in rebounds per game at 49.4.
Wizards at home
The Wizards continue to be one of the league’s best teams at home during the past few months, winning nine of their last 11 games at Capital One Arena. During those 11 games, the Wizards are scoring 115.2 points per 100 possessions and giving up 5.6 points per 100 possessions less at home than on the road. Thomas Bryant, Sam Dekker, Otto Porter Jr., Chasson Randle, Troy Brown Jr., Tomas Satoransky, Bradley Beal, and Jeff Green are all shooting 47% or better at home this season.
The Bucks are 10-7 on the road this season, with both their offensive and defensive efficiencies down from when they play at home. Considering they’re 19-4 at home this season, that would make sense. Milwaukee still ranks second in the NBA on the road with a 4.3 net rating, and the team is coming off a big win in Houston on Wednesday night.