Fresh off of a career-high 39-point outburst, Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Milwaukee Bucks (14-14) into the second part of a home-and-home against the Washington Wizards (13-16).
Last Friday’s domination of the Wizards started with Giannis (39 points / 8 rebounds / 6 assists), but saw contributions from everybody. Jabari Parker (21 points / 8 rebounds / 2 blocks / 2 steals), Malcolm Brogdon (17 points / 7 assists / 2 steals) and Greg Monroe (12 points / 11 rebounds / 4 assists) particularly made life difficult for Scott Brooks’ squad, and even Mirza Teletovic went scoreless (0-9 from the field) but was fourth on the team in +/- with +23.
Hopefully the Bucks had a relaxing holiday weekend going into tonight’s rematch, including Michael Beasley and his injured foot. He may miss tonight’s game after sitting on Friday, but it’s clear that any minutes Beasley can’t play will be taken by Teletovic, who will replace Beasley’s inside-the-arc finesse with shameless outside-the-arc shot-launching.
And while we’re still coming off of the holiday season, it should be noted that Bucks fans may be able to unwrap a belated gift this spring in the form of a rehabbed Khris Middleton. Middleton, who has been sidelined with a torn hamstring since late-summer, is confident in his chances to return this year, but notes:
“A hamstring is definitely nothing to play with. There are chronic hamstring injuries where guys think it is fine and they go out there and try to run and pull it again. That’s something I definitely don’t want to go through.”
For all of us, I hope Middleton’s rehab is going as well as Jabari’s did last year, and that he’s able to ease back into his role on the team once he’s fully ready, and not a moment sooner.
In case you were wondering whether or not the Wiz were happy with their performance on Friday, Scotty Brooks is here to clear things up:
“Everything went wrong,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. “We were giving back doors, offensive rebounds, straight-line drives. We weren’t good tonight. There’s no way around it. They outplayed us. They outworked us.”
The Wizards have struggled so far this season, in no small part to the drop off from their starters (who are a good group) to their bench (who are not). John Wall and Bradley Beal have been able to play through any differences with one another, but Ian Mahinmi has been sidelined with significant knee issues, which throws their front court rotation all out of sync.