Washington Wizards (30-36) fail to take advantage of opportunities and lose a nail-biter to the Milwaukee Bucks (42-24), 135-134. This marks Washington’s 3rd loss to Milwaukee this season and their 8th straight loss to the franchise but there is a silver lining.
“It took a little bit of everybody to find a way to win this game,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Led by one of the best backcourts in the League, Beal and Westbrook scored a combined 71 points and shot 59% from the field. Russell Westbrook had a huge explosion in the 4th quarter and finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 17 assists in 40 minutes.
Bradley Beal finished with 42 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 40 minutes. A somewhat bittersweet night for the potential 2021 NBA league Scoring Champion.
On one end, he surpassed Gilbert Arenas for the most 40-point games in franchise history, 29. On the other, in the 17 games that Brad has scored 40 or more points this season, the Wizards are 2-15. How is that even possible? I am not the most superstitious person but something is definitely in the air when Brad scores 40 points.
“We’re putting ourselves in positions to win,” Beal said. “We’re getting better with executing and closing out down the stretch, but obviously we can be better.”
Since April 10th, the Washington Wizards are 11-3. In those three games lost, Washington has lost by one possession. The Wizards lost to the Spurs in OT by 3, Mavs by 1, and the Bucks last night by 1 point.
This tells me that this team is beginning to click and starting to play competitive basketball. Washington’s ability to defend the three, take smart mid-range jumpers and dominate in the paint has been the recipe for success.
The Bucks on the other hand had other plans.
Bucks/Wiz 3 Point Shooting
Some nights the basket seems wider usual and shots are falling, that’s exactly how it seemed for Milwaukee. In an impeccable 3 point shooting night, Milwaukee managed to shoot 11 of 18 from 3-Point at halftime and finished the game shooting 18 of 37 behind the arc. A few of those 3’s coming within the last 3 minutes sealed the fate of Washington.
Washington has been more conscientious with their shot-taking by limiting unnecessary 3 point attempts and playing defense well enough to get easy shots in transition. Last night, Washington dominated with 25 points on 19 forced turnovers and points in the paint but was offset by the Bucks points from behind the arc.
The Bucks scored 30 more points behind the Arc than Washington.
In the loss last night, Washington shot 22 threes and made 8 of them. Back in January, it was a nightly thing to see the team put up 35 or more 3’s.
Though the Wizards are more efficient in scoring than in recent months, last night showed that this team can be in trouble if involved in a 3 point shootout.
Bucks Foul Trouble
The bucks were terrible when it came to personal fouls. The Bucks committed 31 personal fouls compared to Washington and was in the penalty with more than 5 minutes left in the game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had an early night when he committed his 6th foul against Russell Westbrook with less than 3 minutes left in the game. The Greek Freak had a very quiet first half and started to come alive in the second finishing with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.
DiVencenzo also fouled out in the fourth quarter, thanks to impressive defense from Garrison Matthews. Jrue Holiday, one of the most underrated players in the league, put up 29 points and 6 assists in 31 minutes.
Garrison Matthews steps up in every moment and is not scared to put himself out there. Matthews checked into the game late and instantly made his presence known. He was fouled on two 3 point shot attempts, hit clutch free throws, and got important players into halftime. Just to think if he would have hit the Halfcourt prayer for the win.
Why was Daniel Gafford only in the game for 14 minutes? What is Scott Brooks thinking with this Center rotation? When we play Daniel Gafford, great things happen. In 14 minutes, Gafford managed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Washington has 6 games left in the season with four of those being away. They still hold on to the 10th seed after losing last night but will need to keep the high level of play up if they want to keep their spot.
Here is a clip of Russ knocking down Winston mid-air during Warm-Up