For the first time since the 2007-2008 NBA season, the Washington Wizards are guaranteed to finish with a winning record after tonight’s win over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks, who were missing Brandon Knight, Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo and Larry Sanders, kept it competitive in the first half, mostly because of Khris Middleton‘s scoring outburst. Middleton finished the game with 20 points, but it was mostly negated after Bradley Beal got hot early in the third quarter. Beal scored 26 points to go along side 5 assists and got open looks all night long. He mixed it up well offensively, often times taking advantage of the driving lanes instead of constantly settling for the open jump shot. Once he got it going, it opened up pick-and-roll opportunities with Marcin Gortat, who also finished the game with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Beal has been struggling for the past few games, so it was nice to see him get it going offensively.
John Wall wasn’t spectacular tonight, but he did put up a solid 15 points and 8 assists. Wall didn’t look to insert himself with scoring, as Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal were knocking down shots from the perimeter right out of the gate. Trevor Ariza had a bounce back game with 13 points on 5-7 shooting.
Basically everyone who played for the Wizards contributed in some aspect. Trevor Booker scored 11 points, while Al Harrington chipped in with 12 of his own points off the bench, eventually helping the Wizards get a fairly easy win over the Bucks.
Even though the Wizards were leading by 17+ points with just a few minutes remaining in the game, Randy Wittman opted to play his starters, which was a bit puzzling, to say the least. You’d think he’d want to rest his main guys a bit before the postseason begins, but I guess he had other plans. Bradley Beal played 37 minutes tonight. That’s a bit much in a blowout game, if I’d say so.
Washington will be back at it on Monday night versus the Miami Heat, who they could potentially meet in the playoffs. It’ll be an important game for both teams.