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Milwaukee vs. Washington: Middleton, Beal Shine In OT Thriller

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I love the NBA

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Just when it looked like the Milwaukee Bucks would coast to an easy victory on the first leg of a back-to-back, the Washington Wizards had other ideas as they mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, but ultimately came up short 137-134 in overtime.

While their record might not indicate it, the Washington Wizards are a fun basketball team to watch. They operate like a well-oiled machine offensively. They pushed the Bucks to the brink in what might go down as one of the more entertaining Bucks games this season.

Three Observations

Khris Middleton vs. Bradley Beal was a treat to watch

Both of these players got off to quick starts offensively, but once the Bucks lead ballooned, Bradley Beal went OFF. He and Middleton were trading jumpers, threes and layups all throughout the must-watch fourth quarter on Monday night. Both Middleton and Beal were unconscious and nothing was stopping them, except the final buzzer. Middleton pirouetted his way to 40 points on 15-of-28 shooting. He was white-hot from midrange, and him making just 2-of-8 triples makes this offensive performance even more impressive. He also contributed five assists and had two gorgeous dimes to George Hill late in the ball game. As for Beal, he scored 50+ points for the second-consecutive contest. He tortured Milwaukee to the tune of 55 points while hitting 8-of-13 tries from deep. He was CLEARLY showcasing for a trade to the Bucks ;). Jokes aside, watching these two players going at it offensively late was like watching two heavyweight boxers go blow for blow.

It was another encouraging outing for Eric Bledsoe for the second consecutive game.

It seems like all he needed was some extended rest from basketball to find his early-season form. He was attacking the Wizards defensively from the beginning of the game, whether it was getting to the rim or collapsing the defense and finding open teammates. While the Wizards do not pose problems offensively, seeing Bledsoe get back to the beginning of the season Bledsoe is a great development for the Bucks. In 33 minutes he contributed 23 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists in 33 minutes. He was also efficient from the field, knocking down 7-of-11 shots overall and 4-of-6 from downtown. In a game that featured a plethora of offense and not very much defense late, Eric finished a game-high plus-15. That’ll do!

Robin Lopez was awesome last night.

I have definitely been the biggest RoLo critic this season, but he stepped up in a big way with the absence of Brook Lopez last night. Robin is not Brook, and that’s ok! While his final stats won’t blow you away (11 points), he made some big plays throughout the victory. He had a gorgeous touch-pass to George Hill for a corner trey ball in the first half and also stuffed Rui Hachimura with one second left in regulation to force overtime. RoLo also knocked down 3-of-4 shots from deep, and without his solid contributions, tonight would have ended quite differently.

Bonus Bits

  • It was an odd game for Giannis Antetokounmpo who came out of the gates hot but played only 25 minutes before fouling-out. Bad? Fouling out. Good? Only 25 minutes played during the first game of a back-to-back. The Greek Freak still amassed 22 points and 14 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting. It was clear, regardless of foul trouble, that his minutes were limited yesterday.
  • Donte DiVincenzo double-doubled in 29 minutes off the bench.
  • George Hill added 14 points.
  • Shabazz Napier? Shabazz Napier. He dropped 27 points.
  • I do not like Moritz Wagner.