Washington Wizards beat reporter Chris Miller Tweeted out three simple words after Bradley Beal knocked down one his five three pointers on the night in the fourth quarter, “Pay the Man.” The way the 22-year-old has played in the first two games of the season warrants that comment, as Beal is in a contract year and is looking for a max extension.
On Friday night, Beal led the Wizards in scoring with 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-6 from behind the arc, as Washington came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-113.
Washington starts the season 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
Despite the loss, Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 27 points (23 in first half) with nine rebounds and three steals. Greg Monroe had his way in the paint as he recorded 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. Michael Carter-Williams added his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 assists.
John Wall wasn’t Batman tonight - even though he knocked down a huge three-pointer with 1:28 left in regulation - but he was nonetheless spectacular as he posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists while shooting a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. With Beal in foul trouble in the first half, Ramon Sessions came off the bench and gave the Wizards important minutes as he finished the game with 23 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
When you look at the shooting numbers, the Wizards should’ve pulled away as they shot 51.5 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three (12-of-21), and 81.8 percent from the charity stripe (36-of-44). Yes, that’s not a typo; Washington had 44 attempts from the free throw line, compared to only 28 from the Bucks.
Milwaukee was very efficient on offense as well, shooting 51.2 percent from the field, but what fueled their lead throughout most of the game was the myriad of turnovers the Wizards recorded, 21 to be exact. The Bucks capitalized with 20 points off those miscues and dominated the paint 50-to-32.
In the end, it was the three-point shot that pushed the Wizards past the Bucks. Washington put together two big runs to put them over the top. Down 94-84 with 8:55 left in regulation, the Wizards went on an 11-0 run that was highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by Sessions and Beal.
Then with 4:22 left and the game tied 98-98, Washington went on a 13-6 run with another three-point barrage by Bradley Beal and Ramon Sessions. That combo would knock down three-pointers on three-straight possessions, giving the Wizards a 111-104 lead with two minutes left.
The Bucks would make it interesting as Khris Middleton (18 points) would execute the four-point play to make it a 116-113 ballgame with 12 seconds left in regulation. It wasn’t enough as Gary Neal (13 points) would put the game out of reach with two free throws.
After only scoring 88 points against the Orlando Magic opening night, head coach Randy Wittman should be pleased with the offense as they scored 30 more points against a better defensive team.
The Washington Wizards will travel to D.C. and play the New York Knicks tomorrow night in their home opener, while the Milwaukee Bucks will play their first road game of the season Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.