Preview: Bucks at Wizards
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards won back-to-back home games in unconvincing fashion, but at least they were victorious, unlike the Milwaukee Bucks, who opened a two-game road swing with a second-half debacle.
The Bucks (22-20) were outscored 56-36 after halftime in a 97-79 loss at the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon. Milwaukee plays a rare second consecutive day game when it faces Washington on Monday on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
John Wall had 23 points and 16 assists in Washington's 119-113 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. That came after the Wizards (25-18) held on for a 125-119 victory over the struggling Orlando Magic.
Washington led Brooklyn by 23 points in the first half and never trailed in the game yet needed the extra session to secure the win after the Nets controlled the third quarter and outscored the Wizards 68-48 in the second half.
Brooklyn closed regulation with a 16-5 run capped by Quincy Acy's 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 24 points. His own 5-0 run in overtime put Washington in front for good.
"It felt like we played three games: one in the first half, one in the second half and then an overtime game," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We had some bad possessions in the first half, and then we started off in that third quarter slow. And we got to fix that problem."
The Wizards have a chance to finish their five-game homestand with a winning record by beating the Bucks. However, Washington started this stretch with a 110-103 loss to Milwaukee as Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 12 rebounds.
"It's going to be a physical game," Beal said of the rematch with Milwaukee. "It's going to be a playoff-type game, it's pretty plain and simple. They're a team that plays hard. They are playing well right now too. We need to take advantage of it, take advantage of our home court, treat it as it is a playoff game."
Since the win in Washington on Jan. 6, the Bucks have dropped three of four games, all by at least 13 points.
Milwaukee shot a dismal 31.6 percent from the field against Miami, which sank 46 percent of its attempts overall and finished with 11 3-pointers. The Heat jumped the Wizards for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.
"They've won seven in a row now and they're playing hard on both ends," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said to the Sun Sentinel about the Heat.
Antetokounmpo had 22 points. Khris Middleton scored 16 points but missed 13 of 16 shots. Milwaukee's reserves finished 3 of 18.
Milwaukee held Wall and Beal, Washington's top scorers, to 12-of-38 shooting from the field in the first meeting.
"You understand that Wall and Beal are going to be the focal point and I thought that we're guarding those two. It wasn't just one-on-one, it was team defense," Kidd said after the previous win over Washington. "Everybody helped each other and tried to make it as tough as possible.
"They're going to make shots. They're that talented, but just make sure that they've worked hard enough and then make them work on the other end."