It was clear early the Washington Wizards were in for a long night, the Milwaukee Bucks have the ability to impose their will on opponents with their physical style of play. The Bucks closed quarters and halves strong like good teams tend to do. There was a pivotal stretch in their 131-115 win over the Wizards where the game was decided.
The Wizards got off to a good start when Tomas Satoransky posterized Brook Lopez, but it was short lived. The Bucks got on track, closing the quarter strong to carve out a 12 point lead. Lopez and Antetokounmpo both scored in double figures to set the tone for their team.
Milwaukee closed the first half on a 17-5 run, doing so over the remaining 3:46 of the half. They then opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run to strengthen their hold on the game. At one point the Bucks led by as many as 30, but Otto Porter sparked a rally for Washington that allowed them to cut the deficit to 15. The problem was getting over the hump, when the three ball is falling like that in this day and age it's almost impossible to deal with. Unless of course, you're scoring at a similar clip.
The Wizards would make a run in the fourth quarter, but like every run made during the course of the game, Milwaukee responded accordingly. At time it was Giannis or Lopez, during the second half it was Middleton and Brogdon late.
Through the course of this game, Milwaukee showed just how dangerous they are when fully healthy and why they're atop the standings in the East.
Washington's offense is seldom the issue, but they missed open looks. Couple that with allowing their opponent to shoot a blistering 43% (17 made threes) from beyond the arc and it put the Wizards in a very tough position.
Giannis (pictured above) had a MVP caliber performance with a 37 point, 10 rebound outing. Khris Middleton cemented why he was an All-Star, scoring timely baskets time and time again en route to 20 points. Their defense as a team is tough to deal with and there's just an overall sense of them playing bully ball regardless of the position.
The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal's 24 points, Jeff Green had 20 and Otto Porter had 18 points. The three point line wasn't the only place that Milwaukee created separation, they shot a perfect 24 of 24 from the line. The Wizards converted 19 of their 26 attempts.
Following the game, Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks talked about the challenge of slowing down Giannis. " It's hard to stop. His strides are so long. It's tough to stop. He just comes at you and he's strong." Brooks went on to point out that his team played well when he was sitting, but 32 minutes of Giannis was more than enough to make life rough on Washington.