Dynamic duos in spotlight when Wizards, Bucks play
MILWAUKEE — Two of the NBA’s best tandems will face off Sunday afternoon when Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker play host to Bradley Beal and John Wall and the Washington Wizards at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Antetokounmpo and Parker have been beasts for Milwaukee this season, averaging 24.0 and 20.4 points, respectively, on combined 51.5 percent shooting.
The Wizards, meanwhile, are getting 22.1 points per night from Beal while Wall is posting career-best averages with 23.5 points and 10 assists while leading the league with 2.3 steals per game.
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He recorded a season-high 18 assists Friday as the Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak Friday with a 112-105 victory over the Timberwolves.
“(He) killed us,” Timberwolves Coach Tom Thibodeau said of Wall. “Eighteen assists, pushed the ball, made plays so you know it only takes one guy to drive back, and that crushes you.”
Prior to the skid, Washington had won nine of 12 to hit the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Milwaukee had its three-game winning streak come to an end Friday night — in painful fashion.
With a national television audience looking in, the Bucks blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead and Carmelo Anthony hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute left to send the Knicks to a 116-111 victory.
“Going into the fourth, we had control of the game but our engines kind of turned off,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “Defensively and offensively, we just didn’t execute.”
Parker and Antetokounmpo scored 25 each in the game but combined for just three in the final quarter on 2 of 10 shooting.
“It’s just the process of being young,” Kidd said after his team’s 116-111 loss. “There’s going to be the good and there’s going to be points we can learn from. Tonight is going to be something we can learn from.”
Antetokounmpo ruffled some Washington feathers this season when he scored 39 in a night-before-Christmas meeting in Milwaukee.
“We felt like they whooped us badly but also you’re just up 20 or 30 points, keeping your star player in trying to get his numbers we kind of didn’t like that. We took that personal. We didn’t have (anything) written on the board. We didn’t say too much. It was a lot more chippy, a lot more trash-talking than it was in the past. As long as we got the win, we’re fine.”
Sunday’s game is the last between Washington and Milwaukee this season. The Wizards have taken two of the three meetings, winning twice on their home court where they’ve won six in a row against the Bucks.
Overall, Washington has won nine of its last 12 against Milwaukee.
The Bucks have played their last five games without starting point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who has been battling a sore hamstring. He was expected to return to practice Saturday though his availability for Sunday’s game was still uncertain.