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Wizards stay hot at home, beat Bucks, 113-106
The shorthanded Wizards are in the middle of their toughest stretch of the season, but they’re passing the test – especially at home – with flying colors. Friday night against one of the East’s best in the Bucks, Washington put together a performance for the history books en route to an impressive 113-106 victory.
Bradley Beal continued to make his case for an All-Star nod with 32 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but Tomas Satoransky had a night of firsts on a couple of fronts. Satoransky notched his first career triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds (a career-high), and 10 assists, becoming the first Czech player in NBA history to record a triple-double. The Wizards also tied a franchise record with 18 3-pointers (54.5%), many coming at critical times to keep potential Bucks runs at bay.
“I knew about it,” said Satoransky. “Keef [Markieff Morris] was actually telling me, ‘Oh, you gotta go get it.’ And actually, shout out to Brad [Beal]. He called that play because he knew I was one assist shy from it. It was all love from him.”
“It's a good win for us,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “I thought our guys really competed against the best team in the East, with their record, one of the best. I thought, obviously, Tomas [Satoransky] did a great job of really orchestrating the game and controlling the tempo of the game and making sure guys were in right spots and [getting] good shots. His first triple-double, it was cool to see. The guys, everybody, enjoyed it, and that's what teams do. You have to celebrate your teammate's success, and it's fun to see that after the game.”
Washington started hot from the field, shooting 65.2% and 62.5% from 3-point range. Beal tallied 15 points in the first and helped the Wizards dominate on the break to run out to a 40-26 advantage. After scoring just 17 in the second, Washington still entered the halftime break up 10 after controlling the boards and out-shooting the Bucks on the perimeter. Without star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (right quad/left hip) in the lineup, Milwaukee had to lean heavily on Khris Middleton (25 points, eight rebounds on the night) and Eric Bledsoe (18 points, nine assists). Four other Bucks reached double-figures Friday.
Milwaukee made its move in the third, starting the frame on an 8-0 run en route to outscoring the Wizards 35-28 to close the gap to three entering the fourth quarter. Trevor Ariza helped keep the Bucks at bay with four big 3-pointers in the third, scoring 12 of his 20 points on the night. For Washington, having Ariza find his shot from deep is a big part of a shift the team hopes to continue on the whole in the second half of the season.
“I told you in the second half it was going to happen," said Brooks. "It's been two games in a row. I'm not going to talk too much about it other than we've been passing the ball well, we've been spacing it well. When we have Otto [Porter] on the court now, we have an extra shooter with Trevor [Ariza]. He was bound to make some of his threes. He's hasn't shot the ball well from three, but that's not the only thing he brings to the table [or] what he brings to our team. He brings a lot of toughness, a lot of just knowing how to play, high IQ. But it's nice for him to mix in a couple of makes along the way. But I think he's confident in his shot and hustle as well.”
Down the stretch, it was Jeff Green’s turn to shine. The veteran forward tallied 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, while Beal and Ariza chipped in six apiece to secure the victory. Milwaukee got the Washington lead down to three twice early in the frame, but the Wizards never led by less than two possessions for the final 8:50.
“It was great. It was great for us," said Beal. "We fed off of last game (a 123-106 win over the Sixers). That is the type of energy we need and continue to have. It was all about our effort, continuing to challenge each other, accept that challenge individually and as a team. It is always on the defensive end. We allow our offense to take care of itself.”
Washington’s last game before the trip to London will be another tough test against Toronto on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff against the Raptors is set for 1:00 P.M. ET.