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Wizards fall to league-leading Bucks 151-131
The Wizards (15-31) were defeated 151-131 by the Bucks (41-6) Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum in the last outing of a four-game road trip. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with a season-high 47 on 16-26 (.615) shooting and has now scored 35-plus points in four consecutive games. Milwaukee was led by Khris Middleton, who totaled 51 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Beal, who is averaging 40.3 points per game in his last four games, joins James Harden as the only players in the league with a streak of four-plus games with 35 points or more. Beal and Harden are now also the only players this season with multiple instances of back-to-back 40-point games.
Two days after setting career highs in free throws made and free throws attempted, Beal again found himself doing a great deal of his damage from the line. Beal went 17-18 (.944) from the stripe against the Bucks, topping his newly set career high for free throws made and matching his high in attempts. Beal went 14-15 (.933) from the line in the first half alone, becoming the first Wizards player since Gilbert Arenas in 2007 to hit 14 free throws in a single half.
The Bucks entered Tuesday’s game with the best record in the league, but were without defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed the game with right shoulder soreness. In his place, Milwaukee started Ersan Ilyasova, who helped springboard the team to an early lead. Ilyasova scored the Bucks’ first four points and seven of the team’s first 10 while the Wizards missed on their first five field goal attempts. Milwaukee went 8-9 (.888) from three to start the game and opened up a 20-point lead late in the first quarter. An 8-0 Washington run, led by a pair of threes and seven points from Davis Bertans, put a dent in Milwaukee’s advantage. Bertans finished the game with 15 points off the bench and was a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc.
The Bucks, however, caught fire yet again midway through the second quarter, blowing their lead back up to 32 points with 3:58 left in the half. Most of Milwaukee’s dominance in the first half came on the boards. The Bucks outrebounded the Wizards 30-13 and held a 13-6 advantage in second-chance points in the first half.
The Wizards trailed by 25 to start the second half, but managed to work the deficit down to 10 with less than a minute remaining in the third. Beal put home a one-handed, transition dunk just over 30 seconds into the quarter, passing John Wall on the franchise’s all-time field goals made list. Beal and Isaiah Thomas combined for 25 of Washington’s 41 points in the third quarter, shooting 8-14 (.571) from the field and 3-3 (1.000) from 3-point range. In the fourth, neither team managed much separation before a Beal 3-pointer sparked a 10-2 Wizards run that took just 94 seconds and cut the lead to seven. That, however, was the best rally the Wizards were able to manage and the Milwaukee lead once again ballooned to 20 points. In the final three minutes, the Wizards went 0-6 (.000) from the field while the Bucks closed 4-6 (.667) to seal the win.
“Even without Giannis [Antetokounmpo] we knew this team could put a lot of points up,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “They have terrific basketball players that know how to play. They have a lot of experienced basketball players. They’re on fire. They just shot. We didn’t take away anything.”
Thomas Bryant scored eight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season.
Up next, the Wizards begin a six-game homestand Thursday against the Hornets at 7:00 P.M. before matchups with the Nets, Warriors, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Bulls.