Wizards outrun Bucks in Washington
WASHINGTON--Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman knew exactly what he wanted his team to do against the Milwaukee Bucks, and it complied.
“They don’t want to play at a high pace—and we do. Who’s going to win out?” Wittman asked.
The answer was obvious.
John Wall had 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the up-tempo Wizards romped past the Bucks 115-86 Tuesday night for their first double-digit victory this season.
After three early losses by at least 15 points to Boston, Atlanta and Oklahoma City, Wittman simplified the defense and it’s paid off. Washington scored a nine-point win Saturday night over Orlando and followed it up against Milwaukee.
“When they made their runs, we stepped up and made some shots,” Wall said.
Washington took control in the last 8 minutes of the second quarter and outscored the Bucks 28-8 to take a 64-46 lead into halftime.
The Bucks went on a 20-8 spurt of their own in the first 7 minutes of the third to cut the margin to 72-66, but got no closer.
“It’s team defense. We’re going to make mistakes, it’s just covering for each other,” said Otto Porter, who also scored 19 points.
Milwaukee was led by Khris Middleton, who had 14 points in the team’s worst loss of the season.
“We’re not a secret,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We’re not a surprise as last year, and that means teams are going to prepare for you and you can’t have any mental breakdowns. For a young team, we’re still a long ways away from the mental side of our game being at the level of the best teams in this league.”
Milwaukee forward Jabari Parker did not travel with the team to Washington due to a sprained right foot.
“Hopefully, it’s in a few days that he’s back playing,” Kidd said. “It’s not a serious injury. The things that he’s done at this point, it’s all right for him to be sore. Hopefully he’s back sooner than later.”
Meanwhile, guard O.J. Mayo practiced on Monday but was sent back to Milwaukee for an examination. Kidd hopes Parker and Mayo, sidelined all season with a strained right hamstring, can play Thursday at Cleveland.