In their first, non-COVID-postponed matchup of the 2020–21 season, the Milwaukee Bucks held on against a depleted Washington Wizards squad that was missing Dāvis Bertāns and Bradley Beal—the NBA’s leading scorer—for a 125-119 victory.
After a solid first, the Bucks came out firing blanks in the second shooting 29.6%, going down 12 at one point. But in the final two minutes, they used an Alex Len flagrant foul to close the quarter on a Giannis-fueled 9-1 run and enter half down 65-64. Milwaukee came out of half guns-ablazing to build a small lead, but Washington battled back and still led by 1 entering the final period at 95-94.
The game remained back and forth until midway through the fourth after a couple Bobby Portis threes propelled the Bucks to a 8 point lead, which Russell Westbrook immediately erased after a timeout. Pat Connaughton and Jrue Holiday buckets re-established the Bucks lead, but this was again was equaled by Westbrook via his fifth trey. Thankfully, Khris Middleton stopped Russ at the rim with a chance for Washington to grab the lead and 25 seconds left. The Wizards then had to foul, allowing Middleton to seal a clutch W at the line.
Russell Westbrook gave the Bucks fits all night on his way to a game-high 42 with another of his many triple doubles to boot, reminding us all that despite some poor efficiency numbers this year, he’s still Russell Westbrook. Giannis Antetokounmpo sat on 9 boards for a while, but marvelously notched his second consecutive triple-double with just over 3 minutes left on his way to 33 points on a hyper-efficient 19 baskets. Rui Hachimura used a 7/7 start to pour in 29 for Washington, while Jrue Holiday shook off a rough start to finish with 18 as one of seven Bucks in double figures.
Stat That Stood Out
The Bucks were a stellar 22/25 at the line tonight, with a perfect 9/9 from Middleton and 4/4 from Holiday, to go with 7/8 from Giannis. Milwaukee ranks 26th in the league in FT% this year and have been known as a poor free throw-shooting team in recent seasons as Giannis has struggled there. Tonight, though, their success on freebies was a major reason they eeked out a win in this shootout, as they were in the bonus early in some quarters.