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Bucks vs. Wizards Final Score: Bucks fall without Giannis in sloppy 107-101 loss

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With Giannis out sick, Milwaukee struggles to win an ugly contest against Washington

NBA: Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

No Giannis, no problems for the Washington Wizards dispatching a Milwaukee club that looked out of sorts without their star player on the court in a 107-101 loss. The Bucks got word that their star would miss the game with an illness today, and the result was a team that looked lost offensively and a starting unit unable to hold its own.

Milwaukee came out leading for most of the first half, shooting proficiently from three as Jabari Parker hit two early from deep. As the second half got underway, the Bucks offense bogged down and the team missed a number of easy bunnies. Malcolm Brogdon starred in the fourth quarter, nailing a number of contested shots at the rim to keep Milwaukee’s offense from entirely stalling out, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks blew it defensively down the stretch. Allowing Markieff Morris to run free on an inbounds play down three with forty seconds left, his layup effectively sealed the game.

Jabari Parker led the Bucks with 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block while Malcolm Brogdon played stellar all day, with a career high 22 points, five assists and three steals. Greg Monroe added 12 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four steals and Michael Beasley had 18 points but left the game early in the third quarter with a left shin contusion.

Bradley Beal was the leading scorer for Washington with 26 points, while John Wall put up 16 points and seven assists and Otto Porter Jr. added 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Markieff Morris put up a solid 20 point, ten rebound performance to round it out.

Milwaukee shot 46% on the game after shooting 53% in the first half, while Washington shot 49% despite going just 10-32 from deep. Washington dominated on the boards all game, nabbing 17 more rebounds (49-32) than the Bucks including 13 offensive boards. Washington coughed up the ball 21 times on the game, leading to 27 Milwaukee points, but the Bucks were nearly as horrid controlling it, with 16 turnovers leading to 20 Washington points.

The game opened up with Washington bullying Mirza Teletovic in the post, before Jabari Parker started the Bucks’ scoring with a three-pointer. Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari combined for Milwaukee’s first 11 points, and they took a 14-13 lead midway through the first after a Tony Snell three. With Otto Porter Jr. keeping the Wiz in the game with two early threes, Jabari and Snell slammed home dunks to take a 22-20 lead. Washington graciously turned the ball over four straight times to end the first, and Michael Beasley benefited with several transition opportunities. Milwaukee left leading 31-24 after the first, feasting on Washington’s eight turnovers in the quarter for 12 points off those mishaps. Beasley led the team with 10 points, and Parker added eight.

After Beasley opened the second with four straight points, the Wizards answered with seven straight points before the Bucks’ noted blocking crew of Greg Monroe and Parker had successive swats on one possession, leading to a Terry three on the other end that put Milwaukee up 40-31.

Greg Monroe kept the offense from stagnating with a baseline jumper and trademark ground-bound 360 degree spin finish, and Milwaukee maintained a 53-43 lead after a pair of ‘Bari free throws with two and a half to go. A Parker slam dunk in transition was the final highlight for Milwaukee, and they went into halftime leading 57-49.

Jabari Parker had 14 points and four assists, with Malcolm Brogdon at six points and five assists, Greg Monroe at six points, seven boards and three steals and Michael Beasley tallying 14 points. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 14 points, Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris had 11 each while John Wall mustered only four points. Milwaukee shot 53%, with a blazing 64% (7-12) from deep while Washington shot only 43% including just 32% (6-19) on threes.

Washington opened up the second half on a 10-2 run with transition buckets and scoring off offensive rebounds, as John Henson picked up his fourth foul after merely minutes and left for Greg Monroe. After a John Wall no-look pass to Kelly Oubre for a dunk, Washington took back the lead, 64-63, prompting a Jason Kidd timeout. Milwaukee looked listless on offense and defense as the quarter proceeded, with Washington rolling forward on an 18-10 run with threes from Kelly Oubre Jr. and Sheldon McClellan giving the Wizards an 82-73 lead. Some Parker bully ball got him to the free throw line, and a Malcolm Brogdon pull-up jumper got the game back to 82-78 as the third quarter concluded.

A promising sequence went awry early in the fourth when Malcolm Brogdon cut the lead to 86-83 after a three-pointer, and then after a Greg Monroe steal, Moose threw an errant pass in transition that was stolen, leading to an and-one for Washington on the other end. After a Brogdon contested layup, Jabari Parker nailed a three to make it 94-88.

Brogdon hit another layup to get Milwaukee within four, but John Wall kept hitting midrange pull-ups in the heart of Milwaukee’s defense to maintain their lead. Brogdon remained the only Buck who seemed able to hit shots down low, and he nailed a rough and-one layup off a pass from Jabari Parker to make it 100-97 with three minutes left.

John Wall nailed another corner jumper, but Jabari Parker took a Washington miss and streaked down the court before a mini euro-step finish that brought the Bucks within 104-101. Washington got an offensive rebound, and on the ensuing ATO inbounds play, they let Markieff Morris stand directly under the basket for an easy score. Milwaukee then turned the ball over when inbounding it on the other end, and the Bucks conceded a 107-101 loss.

Thoughts:

  • Giannis was ruled out with an illness before the game. It was the first game he’s missed after starting 88 straight.
  • With Giannis out, Malcolm Brogdon took full advantage of the lack of ball handlers on the floor to start the game by probing the defense and constantly searching for kickouts to players on the perimeter. He held his own, finding Jabari on a swift cut through the lane at one point and avoiding turnovers against the typically suffocating defense of John Wall.
  • Greg Monroe has been stuffing stat boxes lately, due mainly to his increased propensity for stealing and flashing an occasional block. His other primary skill continues to be his ability to score competently when the Bucks are in a rut offensively. He provided some simpler looks at shots in the middle of the third when Milwaukee’s offense stagnated to an alarming degree, but wasn’t able to provide as much down the stretch today.
  • This was an ugly affair and it wasn’t just due to the absence of Giannis. Washington was generally sloppy all day, turning the ball over constantly and getting tap-outs on the glass. Likewise, Milwaukee rarely looked to have any sort of decent offensive flow sans getting out in transition a few times late in the first and early second quarter. Milwaukee’s first possession of the game started with a near shot-clock violation that ended with Henson holding the ball at the three-point line, then dribbling in to take a closer jumper...before he was called for a double-dribble. A prescient possession if there ever was one.
  • Matthew Dellavedova looked like much the same player as he was earlier in the season during his first game back from the hamstring injury. He still hurried around screens, tried some probing drive-and-kicks, plus didn’t look visibly hobbled. His shot, which has been a bit off all year, was a little short all day though including an air ball in the fourth. It could be something worth watching as he works his way back from what is typically a lingering injury, particularly given his penchant for short misses with his punchy, “unique” release.
  • The Wizards bench is generally hapless, and Milwaukee feasted on those opportunities in the last game at home. Tonight, their best sequences generally came late in the first quarter and middle of the second quarter against bench squads. Of course, the fact Washington’s bench players were merely small minuses on the day (besides Kelly Oubre Jr.) and not egregious minuses illustrates both the difficulty Milwaukee had all game, and how much the Wizards starters outplayed Milwaukee’s starters, all of whom had negative plus-minuses to Washington’s entirely positive unit.
  • Milwaukee had difficulty finishing shots down low all night. About the only one who hit them with any competency was Michael Beasley and Malcolm Brogdon, who hit a number of contested layups against Washington defenders all game.
  • John Henson subbed into the game for the final minute as a defensive substitution for Greg Monroe. On the subsequent play, he let Markieff Morris run completely free under the basket for an easy score to go up by five with 37 seconds left. His play is leaving an incredible amount to be desired at the moment.