The Washington Wizards lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 110-103 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Things got heated: Saturday night was yet another reminder that NBA fans deserve a Wizards vs. Bucks playoff series. These teams do not like each other and that was on full display in this one.
It was all so predictable. Last year, the Wizards openly talked trash about the Bucks after a defeat in Milwaukee when Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed in late in a blowout to run up the score. Early in the fourth quarter on Saturday, John Wall did some talking with Antetokounmpo while the latter was at the free throw line. Matthew Dellavedova interjected and Wall turned his attention to him. Jodie Meeks even stepped between them, sensing tension.
It was just minutes later that Dellavedova would be ejected. Bradley Beal (20 points, five rebounds) dribbled past him and Dellavedova grabbed him by the shoulders from behind, dropping him to the ground. Beal was immediately incensed and hopped up to get in his face as teammates ran over to help.
No pushes or blows were thrown, but Wizards fans booed loudly as Dellavedova left the court and several Wizards players like Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Jason Smith waved in glee at word of the ejection.
The Wizards have been known to beef with other teams and the Bucks are near the top of that list. This game added more intrigue to their future matchups and if they ever meet in the playoffs, it could be an eventful series.
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Streak halted: The Wizards and Bucks proved an even match, but the Wizards couldn't get stops down the stretch and as a result saw their season-high four-game winning streak snapped. They are now 9-4 since John Wall returned from injury and 23-17 overall on the season.
Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He had 21 points in the second half including a fadeaway jumper over Oubre in the final minute. Tony Snell then blocked a Beal three to essentially seal the game.
The Wizards have been playing much better lately in part because they are moving the ball better. That was the case for much of the game against the Bucks until late when their offense hit a wall, much like it did the night before against the Grizzilies. The Wizards managed just 18 points in the fourth.
The good news is that the Wizards had all five of their starters in double figures early in the third quarter. Wall (16 points) was a big reason for that, of course. He had six assists in the first quarter alone as he found open shots for everyone on the court. Wall finished with a season-high 16 assists.
Meeks got some buckets: Before the game, head coach Scott Brooks talked about the shooting struggles of Meeks, a veteran whose shooting percentages are way down this season. He entered the game shooting just 35.2 percent from the field, well below his 41.6 career average. And from three, he was shooting just 30.4 percent compared to his 37.2 career mark.
Meeks didn't exactly dominate, but he did hit have some moments that represented a step in the right direction. Meeks got hot at the end of the third quarter and popped two threes to help the Wizards take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter. Brooks said the team is confident in Meeks, who shot 40.9 percent from three last year. Perhaps Saturday was an indication he's starting to find his rhythm.
Otto out: The Wizards were without starting small forward Otto Porter, who missed the game due to a right hip strain. His back and hip tightened up in the Wizards' win over the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday and he left in the second half without returning. Given the timing, it was not a surprise that he sat this one out. Now the Wizards have a nice break before their next game, giving Porter ample time to heal. Oubre started in his place and put up 14 points on 3-for-6 from the field.
Up next: The Wizards are off for the next three days before hosting the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. That's the same Jazz team that beat them by 47 points earlier this season, the second-biggest margin in a loss in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.