For the second time in nine days, the Washington Wizards fell to the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-95 Washington went cold in the second half, and the worst rebounding team in the NBA, outrebounded the Wizards 44-39. The Wizards couldn’t hold on to the basketball with 24 turnovers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo once again went off with 27 points and 20 rebounds to go along with six assists.
Once again, the Wizards wasted a solid outing from John Wall, who finished with 27 points and nine assists to go along with three steals and two blocks.
3. Bradley Beal Continues to Be Stifled by Bucks’ Defense
Once again Bradley Beal struggled against the athleticism and length of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks did a great job of holding Beal from drives and breaking down the defense. In turn, Beal opted to pass out of sets or forced tough shots.
Being primarily defended by Malcolm Brogdon with a nice mixture of switching with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton frustrated Beal and hampered the Wizards offense. Beal shot 3-of-11 in the second half (0-of-3 in the fourth quarter). He finished with 19 points, snapping his streak of 10 games with 20 or more points.
Bucks do a great job of protecting and holding Beal at bay, exploiting his average handles. They force Beal into a lot of step back jumpers and treys. In the last two meetings, including Monday’s Beal is 2-of-14 from three against Milwaukee. His long misses as well as a game-high seven turnovers helped the Bucks get into their transition, outscoring the Wizards on fast breaks 18-6.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a hilarious answer when he was asked about his football pass 😂
— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 16, 2018
In the end, Beal was a game-worst minus-24. There is a good possibility, the Wizards could see the Bucks in the postseason, and if they are to, Beal, along with his coaches, must figure out a different, more efficient approach to make him and his teammates’ game easier.
2. Greek the Freak Too Much for the Wizards’ Wings
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a hard cover no matter who he plays. However, it appears the Wizards have a hard time identifying the Bucks’ spacing and transition. Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter both look lost in covering Antetokounmpo. He finished with 27 points without taking a three-point shot.
Markieff Morris was not much help either. And because Washington’s front court was out of position, it allowed Antetokounmpo to grab seven offensive rebounds in route to his game-high 20 boards. Moving forward, if a postseason matchup is in sight for these two teams, the Wizards must figure out a way to slow down the fast break of Milwaukee and front and hold Antetokounmpo a lot like the way Milwaukee has done Beal.
1. John Wall Was Brilliant on Both Ends of the Floor
John Wall did all he could to help the Wizards change the outcome. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the first half. While the Bucks adjusted its defense on Wall in the second half, the four-time All-Star stepped up his defensive efforts trying to create something for his team.
Wall was aggressive putting the Bucks on the heels. He consistently beat the weak side help or drew it to free his passing lanes. His aggressiveness was a huge factor in his scoring as he had 13 free throw attempts, making 12. Unfortunately, the Bucks did adjust and with double teams and two-man fronts, Milwaukee forced the ball away from him.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) January 15, 2018
Still his impact was felt throughout the third quarter. His efforts on both ends of the floor helped Washington go on a 14-2 run to erase an 11-point deficit turning it into a one-point lead. But, when he went to the bench early in the fourth quarter for rest, Washington got out of rhythm offensively. They never recovered from that point on with Beal primarily running the sets and the Bucks denying the ball from Wall.
Again with any future matchups in April or May in mind, Wall will certainly need more support and Scott Brooks and his staff will need to figure how to keep their offensive sets running through Wall despite the defensive attention.