After leading by as much as 28-points in the second quarter, the Washington Wizards managed to squander the seemingly insurmountable lead, and the Milwaukee Bucks cut the deficit to as little as 4-points. Despite the atrocious second half, scoring just 10 points in the third quarter, the Wizards still sneaked out of Milwaukee with a ‘W’, 114-107.
The Bucks are essentially tied with the Utah Jazz for the worst defense in the NBA, and it definitely showed in the first half. Trevor Ariza scored 17-points in the first quarter, and the Wizards went on to put up 75-points in the first two periods. Led by Ariza’s hot shooting, the Wizards cruised to a 20+ point lead and it seemed all but over for the Bucks. Bradley Beal was knocking down threes, Martell Webster scored in bunches, and Marcin Gortat got multiple easy baskets at the rim. Needless to say, the Wizards completely fell apart in the second half.
Washington scored just 10-points in the third quarter and went about 7 minutes without scoring a basket in the period. John Wall continued to play careless basketball, turning the ball over off lazy passes, and the Bucks eventually took advantage of the easy opportunities. Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton combined for 40-points tonight, most of which came in the second half. They got to the basket at will and their teammates started to feed off the energy. Ramon Sessions and John Henson also chipped in with 26 combined points off the bench, which also helped ignite Milwaukee’s comeback.
Thankfully for Washington, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza were able to knock down two huge three point shots with just minutes remaining in the game to put the Bucks away. Ariza scored 28-points on 9-12 shooting, while 17 of his points came in the first quarter. He also knocked down 5 of his 7 three point attempts.
Bradley Beal scored 23-points and certainly showed up in the clutch, but I thought he still did a poor job of picking his shots. Beal is a good finisher around the basket, but he still settles for way too many ill-advised perimeter shots.
Besides Ariza and Beal, the Wizards wouldn’t have gotten the win if their second unit struggled tonight. John Wall scored 9-points on 4-14 shooting and dished out 13 assists, but he turned the ball over 7 times. He has a tendency of not showing up against teams like Milwaukee and that was the case tonight. Wall could’ve gotten to the basket any time he wanted to, but he constantly settled for jump shots, which obviously didn’t go in. Andre Miller did a good job of controlling the game once Wall took a breather, putting up 6 points and 6 assists in just 12 minutes of action. Given how bad John Wall was tonight, Miller probably should’ve played more minutes than he did.
Drew Gooden also scored 13-points against his former team tonight. He knocked down a corner three point shot, which was a bit surprising, but his ability to score from the perimeter will probably earn him a roster spot for the rest of the season. He also mixes it up well in the paint, and I thought he did a good job of following up missed shots.
Martell Webster also scored 15 points on 5-7 shooting off the bench. He missed the last few games with a sore back, so it was good to see him out there doing what he does best–scoring the ball.
Overall, tonight’s game was probably the ugliest Wizards win of the season. Nonetheless, a win is a win. Washington will be back at it on Monday against the Miami Heat.