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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Giannis-less Bucks

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Giannis-less Bucks

The way the Wizards won for just the fourth time on the road wasn’t pretty, but they erased a 12-point deficit despite 19 turnovers to win 107-101 and take the season series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

John Wall (16 points, seven assists) recovered from a miserable start with four first-quarter giveaways to knock down a pair of pull-up jump shots late in the fourth as the Wizards get back to .500 at 18-18. They won 3 of 4 over Milwaukee all in less than a month.

Bradley Beal (26 points) led them, followed by Markieff Morris (20 points, 10 rebounds), Kelly Oubre (17 points, five rebounds), Otto Porter (13 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, two blocks) and Marcin Gortat (seven points, 12 rebounds).

Jabari Parker (28 points) led the Bucks who were sparked early by Michael Beasley (18 points) who left the game and didn’t return after just 15 minutes. Malcolm Brogdon (career-high 22 points) and Greg Monroe (12 points, 12 rebounds, four steals) also contributed.

--The Bucks’ best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, came to the arena sick and was replaced in the starting lineup by Mirza Teletovic (five points). The Wizards responded by attacking his matchup with Morris. That forced the Bucks to help and created passing lanes to get others easier shots. They also had a 49-32 edge in rebounding, including 13-5 offensively.

--Beal re-injured his right ankle, stepping on Brogdon’s foot after making a layup but was able to stay on the floor after limping off during a second-quarter timeout. Beal missed one game after spraining the same ankle Dec. 28.

--Beal only shot 2-for-10 from three-point range, but he had repeated open looks with Antetokounmpo not there and Bucks coach Jason Kidd relying on Monroe more than starter John Henson (two points, 14 minutes) in the middle. While Monroe (32 minutes) is a better offensive option, he’s weak on help defense and had to close out Beal on occasion and was late. Beal did most of his damage when attacking the paint but could’ve had a bigger output if the long balls were accurate. But he was 8 of 9 shooting inside the arc.

--Brogdon made the start with Matthew Dellavedova, and he’d had great success vs. Washington matched up mostly with Trey Burke. But he had to face Wall and had difficulty running the halfcourt offense. When the second half started, Brogdon couldn’t get them started because of Wall’s pressure and he was quickly pulled for Dellavedova. But Dellavedova (two points) was a diaster offensively and couldn't knock down his open looks. Brogdon returned to lead them in the fourth with 14 points.

--For the second game in a row, Sheldon McClellan (eight points, three rebounds, two steals) is the first shooting guard off the bench and not Marcus Thornton who had another DNP. McClellan doesn’t have to do anything special or try to force shots on offense. He’s there for his defense – Thornton’s weakness – and athleticism as he be effective in the open court. McClellan had a three-point play conversion for a 89-83 lead and took a charge on Parker midway through the fourth. Morris responded with a mid-range jumper for a 91-83 lead. 

--Oubre found his stroke after a bad stretch of games since his Dec. 16 concussion. He was 3-for-7 shooting in the first half and had a strong offensive rebound and putback during a third-quarter run to give the Wizards a 74-68 lead. They had 16 second-chance points at that juncture of the game, a key component in the comeback. The Wizards ended with a 20-4 edge in second-chance points.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Bradley Beal has injury scare on fall vs. Bucks]

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Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

Wizards hope meeting between superstar backcourt can jumpstart Bradley Beal's playoff production

With an 0-2 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Raptors, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks called for a meeting with his two All-Star guards once his team returned to Washington. Brooks met with John Wall and Bradley Beal, hoping to solve an issue that plagued them particularly in Game 2, a blowout loss.

Brooks is intent on getting more out of Beal offensively and since Wall is the quarterback of their offense, it made sense to have him present. After Beal scored nine points and shot just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from three, it is clear to Brooks that the Wizards need more to climb back in this series.

"We need to have Brad play well. It's no secret that you need your best players to step up and play well," Brooks said.

Both Brooks and Wall, who each spoke after Thursday's practice, said Beal needs to be more assertive in the offense. Beal averaged 28.8 points against the Raptors through four regular season games and Wall did not play in any of them. In theory, things should be easier for him now with another star player drawing attention.

That has not been the case, however. Beal is averaging 14.0 points through two games while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three. 

Even if his shot isn't falling, the Wizards want Beal to force the issue.

"I feel like I tell him at times that he needs to be more aggressive. Be more aggressive and look for your shot," Wall said. "He even says it that he has to be more aggressive himself. Even if he's missing or making shots. That's how he's been all season. We need that same type of player, to be aggressive and get at least 20 shots or more per game. That's when our team is probably at our best."

Beal has been limited to 14 shots per game by the Raptors when he averaged 18.1 during the regular season. Wall said he and Beal often talk within games about how Beal would like to be set up and the meeting with Brooks involved some of that dialogue.

While Beal's struggles stand out, the same could be said for Otto Porter, the Wizards' third-leading scorer. Porter was held to 12 points in Game 2 and did not attempt a single three-pointer. For a guy who finished third in the NBA in three-point percentage (44.1), that is difficult to justify.

Like Beal, the Wizards need Porter to impose his will a bit more and according to Brooks, the right lower leg strain he suffered late in the regular season is not to blame.

"He's 100 percent healthy," Brooks said. "It's always been a little bit of a problem. We want Otto to be more aggressive. We gotta run some more plays for him and the defense has done a good job on him. We need him to play well."

Like Beal, Porter had success against Toronto in the regular season. He averaged 18.5 points on 59.2 percent shooting, including a 24-point game on March 2. 

The Wizards need Beal and Porter to step up, knowing the series could hinge on if they do.





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Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.




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