Early Saturday afternoon, O.J. Mayo was handed down a one-game suspension from the league after his shove to Greg Stiemsma of the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. On the subject of suspensions, Ersan Ilyasova returned from his and was inserted back into the starting lineup for Milwaukee.
On a warmer-than-usual March Saturday night, the Washington Wizards withheld blowing a 28-point lead and still managed to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks by the final score of 114-107.
In the first half, the Wizards recorded a new season-high for points by pouring on 75 against Milwaukee. Of that 75, 30 were from the three point line, making it the second time this season that Washington has made 10 or more threes in a half. Twenty of Washington’s 75 in the first half came from Trevor Ariza, as he embarrassed the Bucks from the outside and even inside. Ariza nailed four triples in the half, and the fourth one helped him pass Antwan Jamison to rank fourth on the Wizards’ single-season total for three pointers made.
“They made some shots, but we put up no resistance. There we no real adjustments. We just focused on defending our guy. They’re one of the best teams in our league as far as throwing the cross-court passes.” Larry Drew said afterwards.
Alongside Ariza’s outstanding half, Washington received nine points from former Bucks forward Drew Gooden. Gooden scored nine points in the third quarter, including seven points in his first seven minutes of play. Amazingly enough, the Wizards didn’t even need their All-Star point guard John Wall for most of the night. Wall only managed to score four points for Washington in the half and yet they still sat pretty cozy heading to the locker room at the midway point.
For Milwaukee, Brandon Knight led the team with 16 points followed by 10 from Khris Middleton. Washington built a ridiculous 28-point lead at one point and time in the first half.
“I thought the first half we played like a team that wanted to feel sorry for ourselves, given what our situation is. Having to travel last night, I thought we felt sorry for ourselves, and played like we felt sorry for ourselves in the first half.” Drew said.
Washington started the second half as if they thought the game was over. The Bucks had other plans, starting the second half on a 12-0 run to cut Washington’s lead to only 10 (75-65). “We kind of knew if we play the same way [in] the second half good things would happen for us.” Ersan Ilyasova said
The Wizards went on a seven minute scoring drought until Trevor Ariza banked a shot off the glass inside with just under four minutes remaining in the third. Before Ariza’s made basket, the Wizards went 0-for-9 from the field. They actually scored a season-low 10 points in the quarter.
“We’ve got to keep moving. Our team is based on movement. Even though we were up by 30, we let them get into a rhythm. They were making shots and feeling comfortable. We’ve got to do a better job of that.” John Wall said.
Milwaukee turned things on in the fourth quarter and climbed within four points with 6:43 left to play. Milwaukee closed the gap to three after being down 28 with just under three minutes to play, but Bradley Beal knocked down a trey to give the Wizards an eight point lead with 1:23 left that ultimately sealed the deal. Beal finished with 23 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. After two free throws from Trevor Ariza, the Wizards went on to defeat the Bucks by a final score of 114-107.
“We were lucky enough to hang on and pull it out.” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said afterwards. “Give Milwaukee credit, they didn’t give in. We came out in the third quarter and played like we were going to run the clock out and go home. We took shortcuts defensively and we just stopped playing.” Wittman said.
For Washington, Ariza led the team with 28 points and Bradley Beal scored 23, along with 15 from Martell Webster off the bench. The Wizards have won eight of their last nine games and are now one game behind the Chicago Bulls for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards improved to 2-1 this season against the Bucks and will finish the season series against them on April 12 in Washington
For Milwaukee, Brandon Knight finished with 25 points while Khris Middleton added 15. The Bucks lost their third straight game and will look to get off the skid on Monday against the Orlando Magic.