The Milwaukee Bucks’ inability to score late in games is beginning to be...a problem.
Fresh off choking away a 20-point lead and failing to hold a fourth quarter lead against the Hawks on Friday, the Bucks Benny Hill’ed their way to another late loss in Washington on Saturday, as the Wizards used an 11-0 run in the final five minutes to turn a 100-95 deficit into a 110-105 win. The loss drops the Bucks back to .500 with a trip to Toronto (gulp) awaiting on Monday.
After not playing a second against the Hawks and Blazers, Mirza Teletovic saw early action and couldn’t miss for most of the night (25 points on 12 shots), while Giannis Antetokounmpo bounced back from his poor game against the Hawks by filling the stat sheet with 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Unfortunately, Giannis also turned it over seven times and looked Jabari-like in his lack of defensive play-making, failing to record a steal or block for the first time this season. Speaking of which: Parker was almost completely invisible, scoring just eight points (3/8 fg) with three turnovers in 24 minutes.
Antetokounmpo’s tentativeness was most likely a matter of overcompensating after his foul-plagued night against the Hawks, though his problems were in many ways a microcosm of the Bucks’ issues on the night. The Bucks shot 51% from the field and were +15 from three (13/25), the sort of numbers that would normally make it hard for the Bucks to lose. But Washington turned it over just nine times compared to the Bucks’ 20, and ultimately the Bucks’ superior shooting couldn’t compensate for the fact that Washington took nine more shots from the field and 13 more from the foul line. John Wall led Washington with 24 points and 11 assists, while Bradley Beal added 20 points and six assists and Kelly Oubre boosted Washington’s notoriously inept bench with 19 points on 11 shots.
Teletovic’s long three at the first quarter buzzer staked the Bucks to a 32-23 lead after one, but the Bucks allowed Trey Burke (YIKES) and the Wizards’ bench to rip off a quick 12-0 run to start the second. After heading into the half tied at 48, Antetokounmpo began the third with a bang, attacking the rim for six quick points and finding Henson for an easy bucket as Milwaukee jumped out to a 62-54. But a Wizards timeout was followed by 11 straight points to even it, before a lineup led by Giannis, Teletovic, Malcolm Brogdon, and Greg Monroe helped the Bucks open up a six-point lead at multiple occasions in the fourth.
Two Giannis free throws made it 100-95 with 4:28 left, but the Bucks went cold as Dellavedova, Snell, Henson and Parker returned, and the Wiz didn’t find much resistance as Wall and Beal drove for buckets to give the Wiz a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Tony Snell might have sealed the game with two missed threes and a costly turnover, while Giannis was called for another travel when he appeared to be tripped by Gortat in the final minute. Giannis finally snapped the Bucks’ 4:20 scoring drought with a dunk to make it 106-102 and Teletovic added a deep three to make it 108-105, but the Wiz salted it away from the line to condemn the Bucks to 0-4 on back-to-backs.