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Another career night for Bradley Beal is not enough for the Wizards in an OT loss to the Bucks

Another career night for Bradley Beal is not enough for the Wizards in an OT loss to the Bucks

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 137-134 in overtime on Monday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. There were technically two All-Stars on the floor at Capital One Arena on Monday night and Bradley Beal was not one of them, yet down the stretch when the Bucks and Wizards traded blows possession after possession, it was Beal who raised his game the highest to force overtime.

The Wizards ultimately lost, even though reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo fouled out with 1:36 in regulation, but it shouldn't take away from what was a masterful performance by Beal, the best game of his decorated career. Beal dropped a career-high 55 points, one night after setting a career-high of 53 against the Bulls. Amazingly, the Wizards lost both games.

Beal is just the third player in NBA history to score 53 points or more in consecutive games. The other two are Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden.

Just getting the Wizards to overtime in this game was a remarkable feat. Beal scored 22 of the Wizards' final 24 points to force the extra period, which ended on a Troy Brown Jr. missed three.

Maybe the Wizards can bounce back on Wednesday when they are playing the Nets and not a team that is on pace to be one of the best in NBA history. But the net result was a third straight loss, as the Wizards continue to trend in the wrong direction coming out of the All-Star break.

2. Any time the Bucks are the opponent, the biggest question is who will guard Antetokounmpo. Not only is he the MVP, he also presents an extremely unique match-up from a size and speed perspective.

Rookie Rui Hachimura drew that assignment on Monday and didn't do all that bad, considering. He didn't stop Antetokounmpo often, but he was able to slow him on a few occasions and even force some misses and turnovers.

Antetokounmpo ended up with 22 points and 14 rebounds, which is below his usual output. Foul trouble contributed, but he also had to work a little harder for his points.

Antetokounmpo still mixed in some truly incredible plays, of course. Like, in the first quarter when he drove left past Hachimura and finished with a double-clutch reverse layup in traffic, an absurdly athletic play for a guy his size.

But just getting that match-up says something about what the Wizards think of Hachimura's defensive ceiling. They showed some trust in him that he could at least have some level of success in the NBA's best player.

It is always interesting to watch those types of duels when a rookie guards someone of Antetokounmpo's caliber. It's interesting because you know they are facing the most difficult defensive assignment of their lives and there is really only so much preparation that can be done by watching film and reading the scouting report.

3. Hachimura acquitted himself well on defense, considering the match-up. But he had some trouble on the offensive end while guarded by Antetokounmpo, a perennial defensive player of the year candidate. 

We are used to seeing Hachimura get off to hot scoring starts, but he never really got going against the Bucks. It was a rare occasion where he had little impact on the Wizards' offense.

Hachimura finished with 12 points, going 4-for-12 from the field.

4. This game nearly got out of hand in the second half as Milwaukee built a 20-point lead, but Shabazz Napier kept the Wizards in it almost all by himself. He went off for 27 points in the game, 18 of which came in the second half.

Napier had nine points in the third quarter, then 11 in the fourth. He shot 10-for-17 overall for the game and 3-for-7 from three.

Brooks said before the game the coaching staff has discussed putting Napier in the starting lineup over Ish Smith, in part because they like Smith's role in the second unit. Napier's performance against the Bucks further helped his cause.

5. The Wizards had to play the Bucks without two of their best players, including their second-leading scorer, Davis Bertans. He sat out due to right knee soreness, a new injury for him that wasn't revealed until early Monday by a tweet from the team. He is considered day-to-day.

Center Thomas Bryant was also sidelined due to rest in a back-to-back. Since he just came back from rehabbing his right foot, and is still on a minutes restriction, the Wizards decided to hold him out in the second of their two games.

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The Vault: Looking back at Bullets-Sixers Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Playoffs

The Vault: Looking back at Bullets-Sixers Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Playoffs

After a two-week break for paternity leave, it's time to spin the dial, line up the combination numbers and re-open the vault. Earlier in the NBA's hiatus, we looked back at Bullets playoff games from the 1970s and the 1990s. Today, we go to the 1980s and revisit Game 5 of the 1986 first-round playoff series between the Washington Bullets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Now, this is a game that older Bullets fans likely wouldn't want to relive. The Bullets not only lost the game, they got blown out, and it ended their season.

But it was also an interesting snapshot into an era of the NBA and of Bullets basketball and, in a way, it encapsulated what the Bullets were in the 1980s. They made the playoffs five straight years from 1983 to 1988 and lost in the first round each time. 

In 1986, the Bullets won only 39 games, yet they were the sixth seed. It was an especially bad year in the Eastern Conference, so bad that the Chicago Bulls set an NBA record that still stands as the worst team to ever make the playoffs. They were 30-52.

The Bullets won Game 1 against the Sixers, but fell on the road in Game 5 when basically all of their best players didn't show up. It was a major letdown.

But it was still a basketball time capsule worth looking back on. Here are five takeaways including pictures and GIFs of the best moments...

Bol's network debut

The NBA back then was not even close to what it is now in terms of worldwide reach. It was not far removed from the NBA Finals playing on tape delay and very few games were broadcast nationally. Usually, those national games featured teams like the Lakers and Celtics, not the Washington Bullets.

So this particular game marked the first time Manute Bol played on network television. The Bullets rookie was a person of intrigue because at 7-foot-6, he was the tallest player in NBA history at the time. Remember, this was before Gheorghe Muresan, Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming. 

Bol was also a fascinating player because as a rookie he led the league in blocked shots with a ridiculous average of 5.0 per game. He averaged more blocks than he did points (3.7). 

Bol playing in his network debut was a big part of the broadcast with color commentator Tommy Heinsohn remarking pregame that "when [Bol] first joined the NBA, a lot of people thought it was for freak value." Heinsohn, though, went on to twice compare Bol's rim-protecting prowess to Bill Russell.

Heinsohn also said later in the game the Bullets training staff put the roster through a strength exam and Bol tested at the level of "a child." He was tall, but extremely skinny, listed at just 200 pounds. And his thin frame was a major disadvantage against Sixers superstar Charles Barkley.

Despite being a foot shorter, Barkley absolutely dominated Bol in this game with his strength and low center of gravity.

Bol had zero points, two rebounds and one block in the game.

Bol had a song

To further illustrate the spectacle that Bol's network debut was, CBS aired a music video for him at halftime. It was called 'Bol-tending' and it was the type of video that was for some reason commonplace around sports in the 1980s and 90s.

Custom rap songs about teams and players were all the rage back then and even as a rookie, Bol had one complete with a killer saxophone solo.

The 80s were in full force

The Bol video was just one example of the remarkable 80s-ness of this game and the broadcast. There were so many things that may have been cool at the time that just aren't that cool anymore.

Like, this starting lineup graphic. It looks like a Prince album cover.

There were also a few hairstyles you just never see in today's NBA. There was the let-it-flow male pattern baldness of Gus Williams:

There was also Jeff Ruland's full and glorious mustache, which made him look like a cop who went undercover as an NBA player:

And you had Tom McMillen's moppy gray hair that made him look like a middle school science teacher:

It seems worth noting that Just For Men didn't come out until 1987, the year after this game was played. And this was actually McMillen's final NBA game. He had already announced his retirement and made it known he was going to run for U.S. Congress as soon as his playing career was over. They mentioned it twice on the broadcast.

Imagine a current NBA player's farewell tour including that as his next step. McMillen, who was a Rhodes Scholar before playing in the NBA, would win that election and two more to serve three terms in the House of Representatives hailing from Maryland's 4th District.

Sixers were loaded with stars

The Sixers had one of the most star-studded NBA teams ever assembled in 1985-86, though some of those stars were up there in age and not the players they once were. They had a whopping five Hall of Famers. That included Barkley, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Maurice Cheeks. 

Malone and McAdoo didn't play in this game due to injuries, Malone because of a fractured eye socket (ouch). But the other three had their way with the Bullets in Game 5.

Barkely, in particular, was unstoppable. He had a triple-double with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. And he just jumped off the screen as the best player on the floor.

This was a different era where a lot of the players weren't athletic or skilled enough to hang in today's game. But it is pretty obvious Barkley would still be a star. He was just unbelievably powerful and fast in the open floor.

Dr. J still had it

Erving may have been 35 years old, but he was still one of the best athletes on the court. He made a series of plays that were reminiscent of the ageless wonder we see these days in LeBron James.

Erving had a few vicious dunks that did not look like a guy at the end of his career:

And this one play where he leapt over the press section really stood out:

The NBA has come a long way since the 80s, but Barkley and Dr. J were both before their time. And the Bullets may now be the Wizards, but they are still waiting to break through in the playoffs, even decades later.

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Adam Silver: NBA not likely to make any decisions before May

Adam Silver: NBA not likely to make any decisions before May

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is bracing for several more weeks of uncertainty about the remainder of this halted season, revealing Monday night that he does not expect the league will be able to decide anything until at least May.

Silver spoke on the NBA's Twitter account as part of the league's new NBATogether initiative, in a conversation hosted by Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson. Silver touched on many topics, including how the league is looking at numerous scenarios for a return, but in every case the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic makes it impossible right now to move too far forward.

"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."

The NBA was the first of the major U.S. pro leagues to shut down because of the COVID-19 threat, doing so after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus. The league's regular season was to end April 15, and the playoffs were to begin April 18.

That isn't going to happen, and that has been known for some time. The NBA wants this season to resume, but simply cannot say with any certainty if it will or will not happen.

"We miss it badly," Silver said. "To all the families watching this, I know the NBA is a big part of their lives. We just want to assure everybody that while we're putting the health and safety of everyone first, we're looking at every possibility to get our players back on the floor and to play NBA basketball again."

Among the decisions that have yet to be made, Silver said: whether the regular season will resume in some form or if the NBA would go immediately into the playoffs - assuming the league can salvage this season at all.

Also on the drawing board: if games would be played in NBA arenas or practice facilities, how televising games would work and if the league would take everybody to one site to finish the season. Cities have expressed interest in that option and have reached out to the NBA to say as much, Silver said.

"We're in listening mode right now," he said.

The news likely wasn't unexpected, but it still hit All-Star center Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat hard when told that no decision on the fate of the season is expected anytime soon.

"It's a whole spectrum of the unknown," Adebayo told The Associated Press after Silver spoke. "But at the end of the day, it's about safety, it's about our families and it's bigger than us. It's a global thing and we've all got to take it even more seriously."

Silver also discussed Saturday's 45-minute conference call that he and other major U.S. sports leaders had with President Donald Trump. The president said he had been watching some replays of past major sports events, then asked the commissioners and others for their thoughts.

"It wasn't just a pep talk, but I think it was a reminder of what the meaning is of sports to Americans, to our culture in particular," Silver said. "What came back from all the leagues collectively was once we get the all-clear, however that's determined, of course with public health officials and by our government ... we're going to be ready to go. But first and foremost is the health and safety of everyone involved."

It has been, by far and for obvious reasons, the most personally trying season of Silver's tenure as commissioner. The NBA got into a major and costly rift with China in October after Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong around the same time as the league was making its annual visit to that basketball-wild nation for two preseason games that became incredibly awkward. Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, Silver's predecessor and mentor, died Jan. 1. Kobe Bryant, who was announced as a Hall of Fame inductee on Saturday, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

Silver spoke in mid-February about how he had concerns about the coronavirus threat. By mid-March, it had shut down his league and now, in many ways, much of the world is shuttered. As he said in an interview with AP late last month, Silver said he feels a responsibility for 55,000 people who generate at least some of their income by working in the NBA or at NBA games.

"That's what's keeping me up at night," Silver said.

There is also some very personal worry for Silver right now: His wife is expecting their second daughter, due to arrive in mid-May.

"There's a bit of additional anxiety in terms of going into a New York City hospital in the middle of all this," Silver said.

New York has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, and its healthcare system has been tested perhaps like never before by the demands of the pandemic.

"I think we're going to see a new approach to a lot of these problems," Silver said. "And maybe we were a little bit behind. This is a cruel wake-up call in many ways, given that we're talking about an enormous number of human lives, but we will come out of this better."

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