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Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Bucks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Washington Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
TV: CSN (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Consistency on defense

The Wizards felt good about their performance on defense against the Nuggets on Thursday night, as they held a strong offensive team to just 85 points, including 33 in the second half and 12 in the fourth quarter. Now they have to carry that effort over from game to game, something that has been difficult for them to do so far this season.

Just look at the contrast between the Nuggets game and what happened in their previous two outings. Against the Nets on Monday they won, but only after allowing 66 points in the first half. And on Tuesday they lost to the Magic after allowing them their season-high of 124 points, including 73 from the bench alone. Milwaukee isn't a juggernaut offensively, but they are above average with 102.4 points per game (12th in NBA) and a 45.9 field goal percentage (8th).

[RELATED: Morris: 'Wall is the voice and I'm like the muscle']

Watch out for Giannis and Jabari

The Wizards will have their hands full with the Bucks' two young stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. Antetokounmpo, 22, is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.2 blocks and 2.0 steals per game, all the while shooting 51.6 percent. That's as well-rounded a stat line as you will see in the game of basketball. He's a 6-foot-11 big man who can run their offense as a point guard. Matching up with him is no easy task, no matter the personnel on defense

Parker, 21, is scoring 19.6 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The former second overall pick is blossoming into an elite scorer this season.

The Wizards are likely to try their lineup with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the floor together against the Bucks to counter Milwaukee's versatility:

"They've got a lot of length out there with Giannis and Jabari," Oubre said. "We've gotta match their energy or have more energy than them out there and pretty much run them into the ground. If we get into a halfcourt set, it's going to tough to score overtop of them."

More work for Gortat

With news that Ian Mahinmi will remain shut down for at least the next week despite his latest MRI clearing him of any structural damage, that means the workload will remain heavy for Marcin Gortat as the Wizards continue to play thin at the center position. Gortat already leads the team in minutes played (743) and has logged at least 36 minutes in six of his last seven games. 

Gortat is working hard, but he's okay with that according to his coach.

"He constantly reminds me that he's the Polish Machine and that he can play any amount of minutes as possible. He keeps telling me that if we go overtime that he can play 53 minutes. I like his heart and his determination, but I would like to keep it down in the low 30s. But he's feeling good. As a staff, we monitor his workload during practice," Brooks said.

[RELATED: Wizards send rookie McClellan to D-League]

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Austin Rivers believes he can help the Wizards on defense as much as anything

Austin Rivers believes he can help the Wizards on defense as much as anything

When asked at his introductory press conference for how he will fit on the Wizards' roster from a basketball perspective, guard Austin Rivers didn't first cite his three-point shooting, his ability to affect games scoring off the bench or his speed to run the floor with John Wall and Bradley Beal. The first thing he point to was his defense.

That may have surprised some people out there as Rivers has long been known for his scoring ability and not so much his skills on the other end. It's not that he can't play defense, it's just that most of the highlights he's produced over the years have been due to his high-flying finishes at the rim and wicked pull-up jumper from three-point range.

Defense, though, is something Rivers takes pride in and he hopes to continue developing as a defender in Washington.

"With how much Brad and John have to do every night, for them to not have to always guard the best guard on the other team, that's something I can come in here and do. Try to bring that competitive spirit and be one of the defenders on the team," Rivers said.

Rivers' defensive ability has produced some controversy among Wizards fans and media members on social media. Some insist he does not bring value on that end of the floor, while some numbers suggest he does have some defensive potential.

Last season, Rivers averaged a career-high 1.2 steals per game. He was tied for fifth on the Clippers in defensive win shares.

However, his 113 defensive rating was his worst since 2013-14. It was an outlier on the Clippers and not in the good way. He also ranked nowhere near the top of the league in deflections or contested three-point shots, two hustle stats that guys like Wall and Beal fair well in.

Rivers points to two attributes that he believes make him a strong perimeter defender. One is his versatility and the other you could call scrappiness.

"On defense [the Wizards] can switch one through three or one through four. I think that gives us a lot of dangerous options," he said.

As for his scrappiness, Rivers says it comes from the early days of his career.

"I had to figure out ways to be effective without [a jumpshot] and that's how I became a defender. I guess everything happens for a reason, right? I'm happy I did have those early career struggles because it made me find a side of me that I didn't do [early on]. Because I promise you I didn't play any defense at Duke," he said.

The last line drew laughter from those gathered at his introductory press conference. Rivers insists that he now takes that end of the floor very seriously. The Wizards certainly hope he can back up his words.

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John Wall offers thoughts on Wizards' biggest offseason additions including Dwight Howard

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John Wall offers thoughts on Wizards' biggest offseason additions including Dwight Howard

At his final media availability of the 2017-18 season, John Wall highlighted specific types of players he wanted to see added to the Wizards roster this summer. Most notably, he pointed to an athletic big and bench scoring.

The Wizards ended up adding those things and more.

They signed Dwight Howard and Jeff Green to free agent deals, traded for Austin Rivers and drafted Troy Brown, Jr. in the first round. Howard is the athletic big and Rivers is the bench scorer Wall coveted.

Whether coincidental or not, Wall got his wish. And he's excited for the possibilities now that the Wizards appear to have shored up some weaknesses.

In his recent interview with Chris Miller on our Wizards Tipoff podcast, Wall offered thoughts on each key addition.

On Howard: "Even though he's older, he's still an athletic big and still has respect in this league. I mean, averaging [16.6 ppg and 12.5 rpg], he's a guy who can score in the low-post and block shots, a guy that gets a lot of rebounds and a guy that can catch lobs and do things that when teams switch against us or we're attacking the paint, if they help for a second then we're throwing lobs. Now, do you get more layups? Probably. Or, you get more wide open threes because guys are going to have to crack down on him. If you don't crack down on him, that's an automatic layup or a lob. I think that benefits us a lot. It's going to help. If you look at [Clint] Capela, DeAndre [Jordan] and those types of guys that are athletic, JaVale [McGee]. Even JaVale at times, being athletic and just getting to the paint. Guys are stepping up and you're throwing lobs to those guys. We have a person that can do that."

On Rivers: "I think it's going to be fun and interesting. Austin is someone who I've always watched since high school. He's a competitive guy. He definitely can score the ball. High volume shooter, once he gets it going, he's going. I think it just gives us that guy that we've never really had off the bench, that can create for himself and can create for his teammates at the two-guard position."

On Green: "Just being able to switch one through four, a guy that can post up if you put smaller guys on him. He can guard every position. He's athletic and can run the floor with us in transition. He does the little things that a lot of people don't notice."

On Brown: "He's very poised for his age. He doesn't try to force anything. The only thing I would tell him is just be more aggressive... and make mistakes. Try to make mistakes and improve your game to get better. It's going to be hard to find minutes and at practice at times with [Kelly Oubre, Jr.] and Otto [Porter, Jr.] and those guys being there."

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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