Washington out to buck losing trend in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Bucks will return home from a successful road trip to host the struggling Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
After dropping the opener of a five-game swing in Oklahoma City, the Bucks won the final four games, including a 113-94 win against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
"I think five games in whatever this has been, nine or 10 days, and everybody in the league's gotta do it. But hopefully we're a team that can do it a little bit longer, a little bit smarter, a little bit harder than everybody else," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
"The fifth game on a road trip was one of those nights I thought the guys dug down and were really good."
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists against Brooklyn. Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points and Eric Bledsoe had 15 for the Bucks, who won all four games by double digits.
The Bucks have the best record in the Eastern Conference, 23-6, since Dec. 7.
"We're playing so well right now," Bledsoe said. "We're playing so great off of each other and I'm trying to help out where I can."
The teams are meeting for the second-time in a week. Antetokounmpo had 37 points and 10 rebounds, and the visiting Bucks defeated the Wizards 131-115 on Saturday night.
Brook Lopez added 21 points and Khris Middleton scored 20 for the Bucks, who avenged a Jan. 11 loss at Washington, a game they played without Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee shot 50 percent from the field -- including 43.6 percent (17 of 39) from 3-point range -- and converted all 24 of their free throw attempts.
Bradley Beal led the six Wizards in double figures with 24 points, Jeff Green added 20 and Otto Porter Jr. scored 18.
Washington has lost four of five, including a 137-129 decision to the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Monday. And on Tuesday, the Wizards announced bad news off the court on Tuesday: point guard John Wall ruptured his left Achilles tendon while slipping and falling in his home.
The team said that Wall's surgery has not been scheduled. He is expected to be able to return to full basketball activities about a year after the operation.
Wall had developed an infection after surgery on his left heel in January and the rupture was discovered during a procedure to clean out that infection.
On Monday, Atlanta jumped out to an early lead and held off a late Washington rally. Nine players reached double figures for the Hawks, who outrebounded Washington 51-39 and finished 20 of 41 from behind the arc.
"We have to do a better job of not allowing them to get in a rhythm and get comfortable," Green said. "That first nine minutes, they had us on our heels. We kept our composure and got back in the game, but we just have to be better as a team."
Washington has allowed 268 points in its past two games.
"It's something we've been trying to figure out all year," coach Scott Brooks said. "We've been an inconsistent defensive team."
Beal had 18 of his 27 points in the fourth for the Wizards, who fell three games back of eighth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Green scored 26 points, Trevor Ariza had 25 and Jordan McRae added a season-high 20 off the bench for Washington, which has 29 games left to make up ground.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 6, 2019