The Wizards got off to a fast start, jumping out to a quick 23-12 lead. John Wall was picking apart the Bucks' defense with apparent ease, and had 6 assists in the first quarter alone. The Wizards forced turnover after turnover and capitalized in transition.
John Wall piercing the Bucks' defense with his eyes pic.twitter.com/3liRANaI4Z— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) January 14, 2016
Milwaukee cleaned up their ball handling in the second quarter, but the Wizards bench came up big, scoring 24 points (19 from Ramon Sessions and Bradley Beal, playing his first game back after missing 19). The Wizards went into halftime up 56-43.
The third quarter was a classic Wizards meltdown. The aggressive defense that forced so many turnovers in the first half became sloppy, allowing Milwaukee players to sneak to the rim in halfcourt sets and leak out in transition. And the shots - good shots! - were not falling. After having six assists in the first quarter alone, John Wall did not have a single one in the third. The quarter ended with a 21-5 Milwaukee run, and what was once a 19 point lead had become a one-point deficit.
Randy Wittman elected to play Kelly Oubre over Gary Neal in the late third and early fourth quarter, and the move turned out to be a productive one. Oubre and Nene reignited the Wizards on both ends of the floor. The Bucks refused to go away and the Wizards struggled to protect the rim, but back to back threes from Jared Dudley gave Washington a little breathing room, and Wall and Beal sealed the deal at the line. The Wizards win, 106-101.
Notes from the game
Beal returns, but the Wizards can't catch a break
Beal made his first three shots, and attacked with abandon throughout all of his 23 minutes. Though he wouldn't make another field goal after the first three, ultimately going 3-8, the threat of his shooting opened up the floor and he dished two assists in addition to playing aggressive defense.
But as one starter returned, another left: Otto Porter left the game after a hard fall in the third quarter. Officially listed as "questionable to return," he did not play again that night. No additional information has been released on Porter.
Well, the Wizards almost went a game without another injury popping up. So close.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) January 14, 2016
Wizards struggle to protect the paint
Perhaps unsurprisingly, with both Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries out the Wizards lacked the size inside to effectively protect the rim. The Bucks scored 62 points in the paint, and they did it every which way possible: Drives, putbacks, cuts - the Wizards struggled to stop all of it. In the abysmal third quarter, 20 of the Bucks 31 points came in the paint.
The Wizards had 16 turnovers (not great). Wall was the main culprit with six, and Nene added three more. But Milwaukee had 27 turnovers, leading to 36 Wizards points. Garrett Temple was incredible, with 5 steals (plus 5 assists and 0 turnovers of his own). Dudley and Nene each had three steals. American Hustle, indeed.
John Wall highlight of the night