Bradley Beal scored 32 points, Tomas Satoransky (18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) recorded his first career triple-double to lead Washington past the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks. The Wizards got huge second halves from both Trevor Ariza and Jeff Green in the 113-106 victory. Milwaukee was led by Kris Middleton’s 25 points and Eric Bledsoe had 18, both teams saw their starting fives all score in double figures. It was a good win for Washington because they’re still under .500. The Bucks have also won a few games this season in which Giannis wasn’t in the lineup. In a week with three home games against Eastern Conference opponents, Washington is two of two thus far.
Scott Brooks used a small ball lineup that wasn’t very small outside of Chasson Randle to start the fourth. On the floor with Randle during that stretch were Sam Dekker, Trevor Ariza, Otto Porter and Jeff Green. That group opened up an eight point lead, later in the quarter Satoranksy and Beal returned to the floor. Brooks kept the front court of Porter, Green and Ariza on the floor for the entire period. Green’s versatility exploited the matchup at center where Brook Lopez had to step out and defend him. That mismatch led to Jeff scoring 12 points, including knocking down three triples. It was a matchup that gave the Bucks fits as bigger defenders on Green were beat off the dribble and smaller defenders were taken to the block.
The trio of forwards did a good job on the glass, matching Milwaukee with 10 a piece. It also helped Washington’s defense, they held Milwaukee to just 40% shooting from the floor and 33% from beyond the arc in the quarter. Meanwhile Washington shot 56% from the floor and 55% from three point land.
Washington got off to a strong start, their defense kicked in towards the end of the first quarter to help them take a 40-26 lead. Beal and Sato were huge in the period, both were being aggressive while not forcing the issue. Beal scored 15 off of 5-of-7 shooting while Satoransky had nine off of 4-of-9. Neither missed a three point attempt as they sparked the run. Milwaukee started off strong but it was obvious just how much of a role Giannis plays from a creator standpoint, no one outside of Bledsoe and Brogdon were truly comfortable putting the ball on the floor. Lopez did have a good quarter, scoring eight including knocking down two three pointers.
Turnovers really hurt the Wizards in the second quarter. A lineup featuring Mahinmi, Randle, Dekker, Green, and Otto struggled to score the ball and get stops on the defensive end. Milwaukee got right back in it, getting stops and scoring in transition. Brooks called timeout when their deficit was cut to eight with 8:46 left in the half. The starters came back in over the next few possessions and Washington was able to close the quarter strong, taking a 10 point lead into the half.
The Bucks stayed in the game in the first half by forcing eight turnovers in the second quarter. An 8-0 run to start the second half allowed them to cut their once 14 point deficit to just two. Middleton did most of his damage in the period, scoring 11 points. Fortunately for Washington, Ariza scored 12 points in the period to help keep his team afloat. After a first half that saw them miss countless open shots, the three-ball began falling for Milwaukee and they outscored Washington 35-28 in the third. That offensive production allowed them to cut trail by just three heading into the fourth.
Sato. He continues to get better, well more comfortable. He’s attacking the basket more, his ability to turn the corner and hit that floater time and time again makes teams pay for doubling Brad. His size helps Washington on the defensive end and especially on the glass. Tomas led the team with 12 rebounds tonight, Otto was right behind him with nine. He had an uncharacteristic six turnovers, but he also played a role in Bledsoe shooting just seven of 21 from the floor. His teammates celebrated his milestone by dousing him with water after the game. It was a good outing for Tomas.
Beal. Brad showed his all-around game yet again with a 32 point, seven assists, five rebound performance. One part of his game that has really evolved is the way he uses screens. At first it was just coming off of them to shoot, now as a playmaker he’s snaking them much better. Several times throughout this game he held his defender behind him and had the big that was helping on the screen in no mans land by keeping his dribble alive. That led to easy shots for him and others.
Ariza & Green. Whenever they’re both aggressive offensively, it changes things for Washington. They both have a tendency to fade into the background offensively at times, but with Wall out they can’t afford to do so. The two of them combined for 40 points while knocking down 10 three pointers. What they do defensively is great, but when they’re aggressive on the other end, it gives teams headaches on the defensive end.