The Milwaukee Bucks are a middle-of-the-road offensive team, but they looked more potent than the Golden State Warriors in handing the Wizards their worst loss of the season.
After taking two steps forward by winning 6 of 8 games to get in striking range of .500, the Wizards fell back Friday with a 123-96 loss in which they allowed career highs to Giannis Antetokounmpo and rookie Malcom Brogdon.They allowed 56.3% overall shooting (45 of 80).
"Everything went wrong," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We were giving up backdoors, offensive rebounds, straight-line drives. We weren't good."
John Wall had 10 points and seven assists after the first half but the Wizards' open-door defense allowed 73 points. Wall didn't play in the fourth quarter when the Bucks entered leading 100-78.
The Wizards' worst loss had come in the season-opener, 114-99 to the Atlanta Hawks.
That game actually was close through three quarters. This one was a blowout after the first 12 minutes and the Bucks ended up winning by 27.
"Throughout the season you're going to have like, one out of five games you have you just get your ass whupped," Wall said. "We just got our ass whupped in all phases of the game. We converted back to our old defensive ways."
There wasn't some major about-face done by Milwaukee which had lost 110-105 to the Wizards just two weeks ago. The Bucks tried to make others beat them, namely Otto Porter, instead of Wall and Bradley Beal. The shots were there for the Wizards but they were getting beaten to the rim even by the slow-footed Greg Monroe diving to the basket on pick-and-rolls.
Porter and Beal were confused on their switches. Porter and Wall were getting pinned under screens by Matthew Dellavedova. The frontline help from Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat was absent or extremely tardy.
"We're a team that gets out and run.... Every time we turned around we were taking the ball out the rim," said Wall, who led an attack that was outscored 27-8 in transition. "They were beating us to loose balls and getting to the free throw line a lot aand just slowing the game down at the pace they wanted to play.
"They do the same stuff every game. The first game we were able to make those guys shoot perimeter shots and keep them out of the paint. It was vice versa this game."
The teams play for a third time Monday at Verizon Center, and if the Wizards (13-16) can end the calendar year with a three-game winning steak -- Wednesday vs. the Indiana Pacers and Friday vs. the Brooklyn Nets -- they'd be at .500.
Considering their unpredictability, injuries and lack of bench production to begin the season, they'd be in a good spot in an Eastern Conference that's full of teams hovering just above or below the break. Play defense like they did in this game, they could easily lose all three.