Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Bucks on a roll, head east to meet struggling Wizards

Field Level Media
20 Nov 2023, 10:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports)

Two Eastern Conference foes will get familiar with each other quickly as the Milwaukee Bucks travel Monday to take on the Washington Wizards, a team they'll play twice in a stretch of five days.

Milwaukee comes into a short two-game road trip following their fourth consecutive win, a 132-125 defeat of the Dallas Mavericks at home on Saturday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way, outdueling Mavs star Luka Doncic with a 40-point, 15-rebound and seven-assist performance. Damian Lillard also added 27 points and 12 assists.

"We are building something special, you can feel it," Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin said. "I thought it was a great character game. Back-to-back, short-handed. Everyone stepped up."

Washington is coming in off its fifth consecutive defeat. The Wizards fell to the New York Knicks 120-99 in in-season tournament play on Friday.

The Wizards had four scorers in double figures, led by 19 from Kyle Kuzma and 18 from Deni Avdija. Eleven different Wizards players recorded points on the night.

"I like the fact that they're competing, the ball's just not bouncing in our direction. That adds to the frustration," Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. "I got to help to try and figure out a way to get something easy, get some easier looks for our guys."

Washington is led in scoring by Kuzma with 23.5 points per game through 12 games. Daniel Gafford leads down low with 7.2 rebounds and two blocks per game while Tyus Jones is dishing out 4.8 assists per night.

Jordan Poole, a key offseason addition for the Wizards, scored just eight points on 2-for-11 shooting on Friday night and is shooting below 40 percent from the floor on the season.

"I'm sure he's frustrated, you can see it because he wants it, he cares," Unseld Jr. said regarding Poole not playing up to expectations. "He puts in more than enough time, to his credit. You want to see that payoff."

Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks with 29.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per night. Lillard is averaging 6.2 assists in addition to his 24.8 points, and Brook Lopez is blocking 2.8 shots per game.

Milwaukee will have a big advantage when it has possession. The Bucks rank fifth in the league with 119.2 points per game while Washington ranks third-to-last in points allowed per game (122.9), as well as 26th in defensive rating.

On the injury front, the Bucks were without MarJon Beauchamp, Khris Middleton and Chris Livingston on Saturday, in addition to Jae Crowder, who will miss at least eight weeks with an abdominal tear. Middleton (knee) is expected to play Monday while Beauchamp (ankle) and Livingston (ankle) were ruled out.

Washington's injury report has just one name: Delon Wright, with his knee injury that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks.

The Bucks have had success against the Wizards in recent years, owning an eight-game win streak against them from 2019-2021 and winning three of the four games a year ago.

This season the teams will face off just three times, with the next matchup being an in-season tournament game on Friday in Milwaukee.

--Field Level Media

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