The Wizards have made a habit this season of pulling off upsets, now to the point that they aren't all that surprising anymore. By beating teams like the Sixers, Heat, Nuggets and Celtics, they have proven they can on any given night find another level and challenge some of the NBA's best.
On Tuesday night, they will have their most difficult task yet against the Milwaukee Bucks - though some late news that Milwaukee's star player will be out could make it a bit easier on them. Also consider: All of the Wizards' most impressive upsets so far have come at home. This one will be in Milwaukee where the Bucks are 21-2 and haven't lost since Dec. 16.
The Bucks also have the league's best record overall at 40-6, which has them on pace to win 71 games this season. That would be the third-best record in NBA history.
Milwaukee will be without Antetokounmpo, who appears on track to win his second consecutive MVP award. He is putting up even better numbers this year with averages of 30 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
But as good as the Bucks are, the Wizards hanging with them and even beating them cannot be ruled out. And the Bucks happen to have a weakness the Wizards may be able to exploit.
Milwaukee has the best defense in the NBA based on defensive rating (101.6), but they have major trouble guarding three-point shots. The Bucks are last in the NBA in threes allowed (14/g), last in three-point attempts allowed (39/g) and 20th in opponent three-point percentage (36.0%).
All six of Milwaukee's losses this season have come when opponents make 15 threes or more. And when teams make 16 or more, Milwaukee is 9-5 which is solid but not nearly as good of a win percentage as their overall record.
The Wizards, meanwhile, are 5-3 when they make 16 threes or more in a game. That's not amazing, but it's much better than their 15-30 record on the season.
Getting hot from three seems to be the most likely way, if not the only way, the Wizards can pull off a victory on Tuesday night. It is basically an impossible task these days to contain Antetokounmpo and the Wizards, like every team, do not have an obvious option to guard him. The reigning MVP has scored 43 and 37 points in his last two meetings against Washington.
Yeah, it won't be easy. It could even be ugly. But, if we have learned anything this season, the Wizards can't be counted out , no matter who they are playing.
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