Milwaukee 109, Washington 105 (OT), Game 19 of 82
This was a tough loss, for Washington’s players and fans alike. A Milwaukee team that had lost five of its last six came into Verizon Center on Friday night and outplayed the home-standing Wizards. Each team had periods of good play, but Milwaukee (4-15) took control in overtime. Washington (9-10) answered in the extra period with a flurry of bad shots and even worse passes. The loss broke Washington’s five game home winning streak.
Washington (9-10) has had guys hurt this year, but on Friday Milwaukee (4-15) missed guys as well (regulars Zaza Pachulia, Caron Butler, Larry Sanders and Carlos Delfino). As part of the continuing theme, the Wizards had two other players injured during the contest. Martell Webster sprained his left ankle in the 1st quarter and didn’t return. Nene came out of the game in the third quarter with right foot tendonitis, and he too didn’t return. It’s good for Washington that rookie Otto Porter was activated before the game. Porter played 14 minutes, going scoreless but adding two rebounds and one assist.
Marcin Gortat scored Washington’s first four points for an early lead. O.J. Mayo followed with seven points in a 77-second span, as a part of 13 points in a two-minute span. That run helped the Bucks take control of the first half. Even as Milwaukee went four minutes in the second quarter without a point, they defended well enough to keep the lead. Khris Middleton (20 points), John Henson (11) and Mayo (10) scored enough to lead Milwaukee to a 56-43 halftime lead. John Wall led Washington with 11 points in the half.
The Wizards came out with renewed vigor in the second half. Trevor Ariza’s 12 points and Wall’s 9 in the third quarter got Washington close
(78-74, Milwaukee). However, Nene’s injury made comeback efforts more difficult. Wall scored another 10 in the fourth, while Gortat added 8 as the teams exchanged leads until the end of regulation. The Bucks’ Brandon Knight hit a cold-blooded three-pointer with 15.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 102. Then, it got ugly.
Milwaukee outscored the host Washington 7-3 in the five-minute overtime. No, the Bucks weren’t necessarily dominant, but the Wizards missed all six of their field goal attempts, and turned the ball over twice. Other than Trevor Ariza getting fouled on a three-point attempt and making all three subsequent free throws, the Wizards looked sloppy in their offensive execution. Maybe the four days off were a detriment.
Washington shot 39.8% from the field, and tallied 46 rebounds, 22 assists on 33 baskets, 12 steals, 14 turnovers and 10 blocked shots. Wall had 30 points and 8 assists. Ariza had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Milwaukee shot 45.7% from the floor, and totaled 48 rebounds, 24 assists on 42 baskets, 6 steals, 15 turnovers and 3 blocked shots. Middleton led the Bucks with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Knight added 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Henson added 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Next on the schedule for Washington are a home game against Denver (Monday), at Atlanta (Friday, 13 December) and a home game against the high-flying Clippers (Saturday, 14 December). These three teams like to get up and down the floor. Are there other Wizards willing to run with Wall and make good decisions with the ball against these opponents?
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