Washington started the game the way most teams tend to start Sunday afternoon road games, which is pretty lifeless. John Wall in particular wasn’t quite himself at the start of the game. He had more turnovers (5) than points (2) or assists (3) in the first half. Meanwhile the Bucks, who were playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo, were still able to jump out to an 8 point lead into halftime, thanks to big first halves from Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe.
In the second half, the Wizards started to turn it around when they turned to their small lineup with Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, and Marcin Gortat to get things going in the third quarter. That lineup went on a 23-10 run over a six minute stretch in the quarter to take a nice lead into the final frame.
Milwaukee slowly climbed their way back into it in the fourth quarter, but every time it got close, Wall delivered late. After struggling for most of the game, he hit three clutch buckets in the final five minutes to help Washington pull out the victory and get the Wizards back to .500 on the season. It was a dance-worthy performance.
Here’s what else we noticed in their Sunday afternoon win:
Oubre & McClellan keep bench in the game
It was another quiet game from the bench. For the second straight game, Scott Brooks turned to Sheldon McClellan instead of Marcus Thornton, but the change did little to help on the offensive end. The missed shots that Marcus Thornton usually took were just replaced with missed shots by Kelly Oubre, and little else. Oubre scored 7 points on 7 shots in the first half while the rest of the bench combined for 0 points on 3 shots. The offense wasn’t anything great, at least the defense kept the shorthanded Bucks in check on the other end.
In the second half, Oubre caught fire when the Wizards went small early in the third quarter. He made his next four to help the Wizards take the lead. But when the Wizards subbed the rest of the bench back into the game, Washington got a nice pick-me-up from Sheldon McClellan, who scored 8 points in the second half to give them enough of a jolt to keep the team in the game until the starters came back into the game in the fourth quarter.
Beal hobbles his way to a solid game
Bradley Beal’s hot start was one of the few things that was keeping the Wizards in the game in the first half, scoring 12 in the first half before this scary moment:
Beal was able to play through it and though he never found his outside shot (finishing 2-10 from deep, he was almost perfect from everywhere else. He was 8-9 inside the arc, made all of his free throws, and chipped in 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
We’ll see how his ankle is doing Tuesday after it finishes swelling up after the game, but it was encouraging to see that he was able to play through it in this one and help the Wizards pull out the win on the road.