While Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out with an illness, the Milwaukee Bucks let Khris Middleton take the spotlight and the scrubs close the show as they closed out a plucky Washington Wizards team, 115-108. It didn’t take long for Middleton to get comfortable in this game, coming out blazing hot before the Wizards started nailing their own jumpers to give the Bucks just a 27-26 lead after one. Their offensive fortunes flipped to begin the second period, before giving way to a series of sound passing possessions that resulted in a 55-52 advantage at half. A game of runs commenced in the third, with Washington making a late run of triples that closed the gap to turn it into a 84-83 game for the fourth. The Wiz made it close down the stretch but the Bucks continued their perfect run in the preseason.
Khris Middleton’s jumper was pure from the outset on the evening, taking the reins offensively with Giannis Antetokounmpo out en route to 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists on 9-14 shooting. Ersan Ilyasova again outclassed an opponent in the preseason, going for 18 points and three boards. Sterling Brown finished with 18 points on a tidy 6-9 shooting.
Bradley Beal played only 23 minutes on the night, but went 7-14 from the field for 20 points. Thomas Bryant was hot from behind the arc, going 4-8 from deep for 17 points overall. The rookie Rui Hachimura showed plenty of energy on the boards, and while his free throw stroke was abysmal (1-8), he gave the Wiz a lift with 10 points and 12 boards.
Stat That Stood Out
Milwaukee held a noted advantage at the charity stripe for the game, ending at a near-perfect 23-24. It was a marked contrast to the Wizards woes at the line, headlined by Hachimura, as the team wound up just 13-26 from the free throw line. I think I know what drill Scott Brooks might have in store for tomorrow...