February 27, 2018 | BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
The Washington Wizards learned never give your opponent confidence because, in the end, it may come back to bite you. Luckily, for Washington, that was not the case as they never trailed against the feisty Milwaukee Bucks team. Nevertheless, the Wizards saw their double-digit lead disappear, and this game came down to the final seconds, but in the end, Washington played smart and survived in the 107-104 victory.
“I don’t know man, we blew a 20-point lead,” Bradley Beal said after the game. “This is a playoff team we just played today. And they didn’t give. We did horrible job taking care of the ball in the second-half. We stop being aggressive. And, I fault myself for that.”
(Photo: Gary Dineen via Getty Images)
Beal and company set the tone with a 14-0 run to start the game. They outscored the Bucks 40-22 in the first quarter. But, Milwaukee continued to shoot and outscored Washington in the third quarter. The Bucks were down by three going into the fourth and got the lead down to a single point, but could not overcome the Wizards.
Careless Third Quarter
Washington had a 14-point lead going into halftime and played as if the game was over. Milwaukee came out in the third quarter going on an 18-6 run. Giannis Antetokounmpo led his team with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. Additionally, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe had a combined 34 points. Even, Jabari Parker chimed in 19 points off the bench on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.
Washington had no answers for the surging Bucks until late in the fourth quarter when Beal knocked down a very contested jump-shot as he shushed the crowd.
“That’s a big shot,” Beal said. “I just always feel like the ball is going to be in my hands I gotta make a plan. My teammates trust me to do it, and I got the confidence in myself to be able to get the play done.”
Impactful Second Unit
If the Washington Wizards are going to be contenders, then they need their second unit to show up every night. That starts with Kelly Oubre. He finished the night with 13 points and shot 5-of-13 from the field.
Though no-one off the bench had an amazing game, Washington’s bench outscored Milwaukee’s 41-35. A small victory that help maintain the Wizards’ lead this game, especially in the second half.
National Television Perseverance
Washington giving up leads is nothing new. It is something fans have endured a lot this season. Nevertheless, when it mattered, Beal and his team showed they can withstand major comebacks. Almost a week ago, the Wizards did it against LeBron James and the Cavaliers as that game came down to the final seconds.
Again, they did it with Milwaukee. The Bucks cut the 21-point deficit down to one point and never tied or led in this game. Granted, the Wizards do not want to make it habit of allowing their opponents to gain composer, but they showed they can still come out victorious even if they created their own adversities.
Yes, the Wizards had many failures in the game, but the team excelled in the paint. Washington outscored the Bucks 52-40 in the paint. The Wizards accomplished this as their big-man Marcin Gortat finished with only six points. Milwaukee was only 20-of-40 in the paint, which is something Washington will take so close to the rim.
Bradley Beal led the team with 21 points, but Otto Porter Jr. helped out with 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from downtown, totaling 17 points. Markieff Morris also had 14 points on 75 percent (6-of-8) shooting. Five others scored at least eight points in the win.
The win was not pretty considering the Wizards shot 16-of-24 in the first quarter and started off with such a dominance over the Milwaukee Bucks. Nevertheless, Washington is 3-1 since the All-Star Break with wins over Cleveland, Philadelphia, and now, Milwaukee
Next Game: The Wizards will go home and face the Golden State Warriors on national television. A win tomorrow could again be a statement win. But, Washington cannot play like they did against Cleveland or Milwaukee against the defending champions. Or, it will be embarrassing to say the least.