The Milwaukee Bucks wanted to extend their winning streak to five games against the Washington Wizards, and they withstood Washington’s offense to walk away with a 142-129 victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 42 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists.
Things didn’t start very well for the Bucks. They struggled with their shots while the Wizards got their offense rolling, starting with a 15-9 lead midway through the first quarter as head coach Adrian Griffin called for a timeout. After the timeout, the Bucks’ offense started coming to life as they went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. The two teams would trade baskets throughout the quarter as the Bucks led 31-27 after the first.
The second quarter continued the theme of the first quarter, with both teams finding points around the rim while their three-point shots misfired. The Bucks could constantly reach the free-throw line to extend their lead to 14 points, but their defense couldn’t stop the Wizards’ attack and the visitors went into halftime with a five-point lead.
There was hope that Milwaukee’s defense would sort itself out. That still didn’t happen as the Wizards continued to collect points in the paint. Despite scoring easily, the Bucks could never create enough separation from the Wizards. Washington found some jump shots from deep and tied the game twice near the end of the third quarter. Thanks to some baskets by Giannis, the Bucks went into the final frame with a two-point edge.
After the Wizards briefly took the lead early in the fourth, the Bucks finally took control of the game. In three minutes of game time, the Bucks went on a 15-3 run to establish an eleven-point lead. Washington still tried to get back in the game, but a Pat Connaughton three and Giannis basket re-established a double-digit advantage. Malik Beasley sealed the Bucks’ win with a three-pointer before and after a Wizards timeout.
The Bucks will continue their road trip in Boston on Wednesday to face a Celtics team that just lost to the Charlotte Hornets.
What Did We Learn?
I tried going back and forth between highlighting the offense or the defense. This one was close for most of the game because Milwaukee’s non-existent defense allowed Washington to score efficiently. The Wizards didn’t shoot too well from three, but Milwaukee allowed an enormous 84 points in the paint. It wasn’t one particular issue that allowed this to happen. Sometimes it was transition baskets, as the Wizards had 17 fast-break points. The Wizards got dribble penetration, and some shots were just unlucky bounces, but the Bucks did a good job limiting offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Still, it didn’t matter who played center, as Brook Lopez, Giannis, and Bobby Portis could not consistently stop the Wizards in the paint. The Bucks did get a few stops near the rim, which allowed them to extend the lead and seal the victory, but I’m sure Griffin will not be happy with the team’s defensive effort.
The Bucks are bringing steel chairs to a fistfight.
Early in this season, people wondered how long Giannis and Dame would take to settle and boost Milwaukee’s offense. Most can argue that the two haven’t found a perfect rhythm, but that hasn’t slowed down the team down. During their winning streak, the Bucks have scored 128.6 points per game. It has been a variety of ways as well, between Giannis casually dropping 40+ points, Dame getting his buckets, or Malik Beasley catching fire. Regardless, teams that plan to beat the Bucks must equip themselves with the proper firepower.
We are sometimes numb to what Giannis does.
The Wizards also decided defense was optional and rim protection was unneeded. Giannis took what was given and thrived. Antetokounmpo scored 42 points on 23 shots and only missed three of them. This is simply Giannis being Giannis, but at the same time, 42 points on that efficiency is absurd. Maybe it’s the Wizards, as Giannis scored 55 points against them in January.
Do your dance Malik!
Malik Beasley has had an ok start to life in Milwaukee. We expected Beasley to come off the bench, get some shots off, and carry on with his day. Then after Holiday and Grayson Allen were traded, Adrian Griffin saw fit to give him the starting job. Beasley began the season slowly, but he has seen his shots falling and has been a critical cog in the offense’s recent improvement. Beasley even added a little wiggle, which I am becoming a fan of.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Congrats to Khris Middleton, who passed Sidney Moncrief and is now 4th on the Bucks all-time scoring list (just let him have this moment, Giannis). Next is ‘Big Dog’ Glenn Robinson, who is 610 ahead of Khris.
Game ball goes to the bucket-getting big guard! pic.twitter.com/QUSbzlmR8i— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 21, 2023
- Andre Jackson Jr. didn’t play meaningful minutes and only appeared for the victory cigar. AJ Green got the rotation minutes instead.
Asked Adrian Griffin about playing AJ Green tonight instead of Andre Jackson Jr.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) November 21, 2023
Here was his response: pic.twitter.com/czCHTmxSGV