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Giannis Antetokounmpo’s triple-double not enough as Bucks lose 117-113 to the Wizards


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Milwaukee has been a better defensive team on balance since Doc Rivers took over as head coach Jan. 29, but even he hasn’t been able to figure out why one of the league’s best teams struggles so mightily on the road.

Tuesday was another example, as after two days off in the nation’s capital the Bucks were outplayed by the lowly Wizards in a 117-113 loss.

The Bucks fell to 47-28 overall while the Wizards broke a three-game losing streak to improve to 15-61.

“I just think they outplayed us,” Rivers said. “Give ‘em credit. I thought they were faster, quicker. They attacked. We took two days off for a reason – to get our legs. And I felt like we were very sloppy. That may have had something to do with it. I don’t know. I don’t know if we took them light or not, to be honest. I just thought they outplayed us.”

And in the loss, some bad defensive habits re-emerged from the first half of the season for the Bucks – namely poor transition defense. That was highlighted, in a bad way, at the end of the first half when Washington’s Jared Butler picked a missed Antetokounmpo free throw off the rim with five seconds left and Anthony Gill laid it in on the other end as time expired.

Washington then went on a 12-1 run to open the second half with the final five points coming quickly off easy transition buckets following Milwaukee misses. That run gave Washington a 70-55 lead, and they needed all of that 15-point advantage.

“We didn’t get any stops all night,” Rivers said. “They crushed us in transition. This is what they do. We talked about it before the game. We had like, inexcusable transition ‘D’ plays to start the third quarter. Three or four time they snuck from behind us, they drove us. Yeah, it’s a disappointing loss. Not much more to say about it.”

The Bucks got within five at the end of the third and 91-88 after Antetokounmpo opened the third quarter with a bucket, but the Wizards responded with a quick 9-0 run to go back up by a dozen.

Butler hit 2 three-pointers and Deni Avdija had a three-point play in that stretch.

Milwaukee once again got within a possession at 104-102 with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left in the game but could never bookend stops with enough baskets.

“I think they made more of the little play than we did,” Pat Connaughton said. “They got into a rhythm, they hit some big shots, but at the end of the day it just felt like we couldn’t get that one extra possession, that one extra shot, that one less turnover, that one extra rebound, whatever it was that caused us to not be able to kind of get the win that wanted.”

And it was perhaps fitting that the clinching Wizards basket came in transition – after Khris Middleton made a layup to draw the Bucks to 115-113 – when Gill got loose for a layup attempt. He missed the first one thanks to a late rear contest by Pat Connaughton, but Gill was alone and was able to collect it and put it back in with 8.3 seconds remaining.

“You know that they’re a team that will play fast, they’re a team that will thrive in transition,” Antetokounmpo said. “We didn’t do a good enough job to get back.”

He then ticked off some poor transition plays that stood out to him, and Wizards players that like to run.

“I think today they played well and they made us pay,” he said.

Middleton finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Antetokounmpo had a triple-double. They were the only starters to reach double figures. Bobby Portis had 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench while Connaughton had 15 points.

Corey Kispert had 27 points and Butler added 17 to lead Washington in the upset as six total players reached double figures for the Wizards.

Giannis Antetokounmpo records another triple-double vs. Wizards

The Bucks’ MVP candidate had a workmanlike 35-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist triple-double on Tuesday night, giving him 10 triple-doubles on the season. It was the 45th regular season triple-double of his career, and fifth against the Wizards.

It is the most he’s had against any one team in regular season play. He also has had four against Indiana and Miami. He’s recorded one against the Heat in the playoffs, also.

Unfortunately it was not enough for Milwaukee to overcome late double-digit deficits against the Wizards.

Antetokounmpo may have gotten the triple-double in the first half had he not been sent to the bench with two fouls at the 4-minute, 26-second mark. He finished the first quarter with five points, assists and rebounds and the half with 11 points and seven assists and rebounds.

He had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists after three quarters in helping the Bucks whittle a 15-point deficit down to 91-86 heading into the fourth.

Antetokounmpo also broke a tie with LeBron James for most career games of 30 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and five or more assists with 128. Wilt Chamberlain is No. 3 all-time with 148 and former Bucks stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson are tied for first with 157.

It is 25th such game this season for Antetokounmpo, good for seventh-most in a single season. Robertson is sixth, as he had 28 in 1970-71.

Antetokounmpo also remains pace to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for a second straight season. And it would match – you guessed it – Robertson in 1960-62 as the only players to do so in back-to-back years.  

Jordan Poole has double-double to lead the Wizards

Milwaukee native Jordan Poole has had a rough first season in Washington, as the 24-year-old is shooting just 32% from behind the three-point line in averaging 17 points per game. But against the Bucks he recorded just his second double-double of his season and sixth of his career.

Poole scored 16 points and a season-high 13 assists, and his playmaking helped Kispert and Butler each reach season-high in points.

Originally picked No. 28 by Golden State in 2019, Poole helped the Warriors win a title in 2022 but was part of an offseason trade for Chris Paul.

Johnny Davis, a La Crosse native and University of Wisconsin alumnus, was the No. 10 pick of the 2022 draft by the Wizards. After playing just 28 games in his rookie year, the 6-foot, 5-inch shooting guard had appeared in 44 prior to Tuesday’s game. He’s played more the last half of March, seeing about 18 minutes of action his last nine games (two starts).

He played 18 minutes off the bench on Tuesday but was whistled for four fouls. He was 0-for-2 from the floor and had two rebounds and an assist.

Five numbers

1-6 Bucks record without Damian Lillard

17 Fouls called on both teams in the first 14 minutes, 10 seconds of the game (11 on Milwaukee, 6 on Washington). Over the final 10:50 of the second quarter the officials blew the whistle just six more times (5 on Washington, 1 on Milwaukee). The Wizards were 8 for 11 from the free throw line in the first quarter to stay close to the Bucks and trailed 28-27 after one. For the half, Washington finished 9 for 12 and Milwaukee was 6 for 11.

18-20 Bucks road record. Orlando is the only team in the top six of each conference to have a losing record on the road. The Bucks have two road games left at the end of the regular season at Oklahoma City on April 12 and at Orlando on April 14.

Antetokounmpo: Under .500? Wow. I don’t know. I don’t know. When was the last time we lost in Washington? (Nov. 7, 2021) Yeah. So…I don’t know, man. I wish I did. Obviously we gotta be better on the road. Hopefully moving forward in the last seven games — I don’t know if we have road games left — but we have to be better. Hopefully we can carry that over to playoffs.

Antetokounmpo then went through the Bucks’ two West Coast trips where there were a combined 2-7.

“This was probably one of the toughest years for us on the road. Hopefully next year we can be better.”

Due to the In-Season Tournament, the Bucks will only play 40 road games this season rather than the traditional 41.

211 Three-pointers made this season by Malik Beasley, putting him ahead of Lillard (210) in their race to set the single-season franchise mark. Ray Allen set the Bucks record with 229 made threes in 2001-02.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, Beasley was just 1 for 10 from behind the three-point line in the loss to the Wizards and 2 for 13 overall.

4,500 Career free throws made for Giannis Antetokounmpo after going 5 for 9 against Washington. He is just the 58th player to make at least 4,500. Only eight active players have more.

Pat Beverley leaves Bucks game injured in third quarter

Bucks point guard Pat Beverley limped right to the locker room in the middle of the third quarter after his right foot landed on the right foot of Poole following Beverley’s rear contest block on the Wizards guard.

It was a big blow for Milwaukee, who was already without starting point guard Damian Lillard due to a right groin strain.

With Washington leading 78-64, Poole pulled up from 16 feet for a jumper. Beverley closed and blocked the shot and as Poole landed he splayed his right leg out in front of him. Beverley’s momentum carried him to the right of Poole’s body, but their feet met on the court.

Beverley immediately stayed down grabbed his foot as play continued on the other side of the court. After a Bucks miss, the ball quickly came back the other way and Poole went right at Beverley – but his legs slid out from under him on the west spot from their early contact. Poole hit the court hard as he slid into Beverley’s legs and lost the ball.

Play was stopped and the court was finally mopped up, and Malik Beasley took a foul so Pat Connaughton could sub in for Beverley who went right to the Bucks locker room.

Beverley, who was already playing with a torn ligament in his right wrist, played 22 minutes and had five rebounds, three assists, two points, one block and one assist.

He returned to the Milwaukee bench in the final seconds of the third quarter with what the club called a right ankle sprain, but did not play again.

After the game, Beverley was moving around the locker room without a noticeable limp and indicated to reporters that he was fine.

“I think it’s a sprained ankle,” Rivers said after the game. “I think he’ll be fine. I don’t know whether he’ll miss games or not.”

More: How Giannis Antetokounmpo learned to get over himself to play the best basketball of his career

Damian Lillard ruled out with new injury

Following the Bucks’ loss in New Orleans on March 28, Damian Lillard met with the media with stitches in his lower lip. He talked about getting kneed in one of his calves.

One injury he didn’t volunteer was a right groin strain, which caused him to be ruled out Tuesday night in Washington. It is the first time the all-star has been listed with that injury this season. Bucks head coach Doc Rivers said before the game in Washington that the all-star point guard already in Milwaukee.

“It’s something you gotta be careful with,” Rivers said of the injury. “Not a concern. Everything came out well in all his tests. He may even play tomorrow. But, it would be tomorrow or Toronto (on Friday), most likely.”

Lillard missed Milwaukee’s win in Atlanta on April 30 due to personal reasons.

More: Damian Lillard says he’s happy in Milwaukee but still seeks comfort in Bucks offense

Patrick Baldwin Jr. out for Wizards

Sussex native and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumnus Patrick Baldwin Jr. did not play Tuesday night against the Bucks, as he has been assigned to Washington’s G League team to help their playoff run. He is joined on the Capital City Go-Go by Milwaukee native Michael Foster Jr., who averaged 10.6 points and 7.5 rebounds for the developmental squad in its regular season.

Baldwin Jr. has played in 32 games (four starts) for the Wizards this season, shooting 27.7% from behind the three-point line and averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Originally drafted by Golden State in the first round in 2022, Baldwin Jr. was part of an offseason trade that also sent Milwaukee native Jordan Poole to Washington for point guard Chris Paul.



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