October 23, 2020

Washington Wizards Game 37 Recap: Wiz use strong fourth quarter to top Bucks in Beal’s return


(Photo by: Sports Quotient)

(Photo by: Sports Quotient)

If you have figured out the Washington Wizards this season, then you might just deserve to win the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. Washington was in jeopardy of falling five games below .500 for the first time since Nov. 16, 2013 before rattling off back-to-back wins after knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks 106-101.

The latter was a dominant performance against the Chicago Bulls, the second best team in the conference, without Marcin Gortat (knee inflammation).

Bradley Beal played for the first time since Dec. 9 after dealing with another stress reaction in his right leg. The former Florida Gator came off the bench and entered for the first time at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter. Beal made a comment before the game that he might look to limit his minutes to 35 each game throughout his career. In his first eight minutes of action, Beal was a perfect 3 of 3 from the field for seven points as well as chipping in a couple rebounds and assists. For Washington as whole, defensive intensity led to efficient offense as they capitalized off of 27 Bucks turnovers with 36 points.

For the third consecutive game, the Wizards (18-19) were getting after it on defense and turned turnovers into easy opportunities on offense. In the first quarter, Washington had 14 points off of seven Milwaukee turnovers, five of which were steals by Garrett Temple (already a career high). A 9-0 run in the middle of the quarter allowed Washington to take a commanding lead. Wall got back to being “Optimus Dime”, with six assists in the quarter, and Washington held a 29-18 lead.

Wall finished with 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Milwaukee had an efficient scoring half — when they were able to actually get a shot off from the field. Headed into the intermission the Bucks shot 51.4 percent from the field but had 10 fewer field goal attempts than Washington because of their turnovers. The energy Washington had on defense translated into an efficient offense, and with the shots falling from beyond the arc (6), the Bucks were down as by much as 19. While Bucks’ interim head coach Joe Prunty was spending timeouts left and right — four in the half — the Wizards held a 56-43 edge at halftime.

Washington continued to get good looks at the basket to start the third quarter but with shots not falling, the Bucks were able to cut the double-digit lead to six. With the ball continuing to move, the Wizards put together a 7-0 run, all baskets assisted on, and re-secured their double-digit advantage. The same script was repeated as Washington missed seven straight field goals that allowed Bucks to cut the deficit to seven. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 13-point quarter to spark a 21-5 run to end the quarter. As inconceivable as it might have seemed, the Wizards trailed 74-71 at the end of the third quarter.

Washington reverted back to its first-quarter play by capitalizing on turnovers from Milwaukee. The Bucks had seven turnovers in less than four minutes of play in the fourth, allowing the Wizards to start out on a 12-0 run. Nene‘s physicality on defense along with Kelly Oubre‘s first minutes of the game catalyzed the response. The run extended to 20-5 in front of an electrified home crowd. Milwaukee responded with a 9-3 run to cut the deficit to just a couple of possessions, but Jared Dudley came through with back-to-back triples to give Washington the eventual 106-101 victory.

The Wizards will travel to Indiana to take on Paul George and the Pacers (22-16) on Friday (7 p.m.). After defeating the likes of Cleveland and Chicago on the road, Washington will look to continue their track record on the road against Eastern Conference contenders.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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