Bucks aim to deliver payback against Wizards
The first-place Milwaukee Bucks travel to Washington on Saturday with a chance to avenge their January loss to the Wizards.
Milwaukee (37-13) dropped a 113-106 decision to Washington on January 11, a night the club was minus All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo because of hip and quad injuries.
The Eastern Conference leaders should be at full strength Saturday as they go for their ninth win in 10 games. The Bucks moved 24 games over .500 for the first time since 1986 as all five starters scored in double figures in a 105-92 win over the Raptors in Toronto on Thursday.
Antetokounmpo scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 28 minutes, and Khris Middleton had 18 points as the Bucks beat Toronto for the third time in four meetings.
D.J. Wilson scored a career-high 16 points and Eric Bledsoe added 14 as the Bucks squandered most of a 24-point third quarter lead before holding on for the win after Toronto got within 98-92.
"You know, we kept our composure, we kept playing hard," Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I was in foul trouble and they kept playing hard, they kept moving the ball, kept playing defense. It's big. It's big to know that I can trust my teammates when I have foul trouble and I'm not able to help them."
Among those picking up the slack was Wilson, a second-year forward who went 3 of 6 on 3-pointers.
"My main priority is not scoring at all; that's just something that comes and it happened to come tonight knocking down shots and whatnot," Wilson told the Journal-Sentinel. "I'm just focused on bringing energy, playing hard, playing great defense, rebounding and letting the rest fall into place."
Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday's win at Detroit because of a bruised sternum. Guard Sterling Brown returned after missing one game because of a sore right wrist.
The Bucks are averaging 117 points per game, second in the NBA, while the Wizards are averaging 112.7.
Washington (22-29) had lost two straight before Wednesday's 107-89 rout of the visiting Indiana Pacers.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points, Jeff Green added 23 and Chasson Randle had 13 points for the Wizards.
Beal made 9 of 15 from the field and added six rebounds and six assists. Randle shot 5-for-7 as Washington improved to 16-9 at home one night after a bad loss in Cleveland. The Wizards are 1-8 on the first nights of back-to-backs, 7-2 on the second.
"It's strange," Brooks told the Washington Post. "I knew going into the game we would come back ... somehow, we just play with good juice, good energy and a lot of focus on that second night."
Washington shot 52.6 percent from the field, including 12 of 28 from 3-point range.
The Wizards started strong. They led by 14 at intermission and scored the first eight points of the third quarter to pull away.
"That's something we struggle with. Getting off in the beginning," Beal told the Washington Post. "But we're learning how to put teams away, understanding what that means, and constantly being aggressive on both ends of the floor. We finally had that tonight, and it was collective. That's the way we need to play."
Forward Otto Porter Jr. left the game with a sprained left big toe and his status for Saturday is uncertain.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019