Bucks 131 – Wizards 115: Washington Won the First Two Minutes, Milwaukee Won the Rest | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Bucks 131 – Wizards 115: Washington Won the First Two Minutes, Milwaukee Won the Rest

Updated: February 3, 2019

During the first series of last Saturday night’s Bucks-Wizards game, Brook Lopez threw an ill-advised pass that Trevor Ariza stole and converted into an easy layup. The next time the Bucks had the ball on offense, it was Khris Middleton who threw the errant pass, and Bradley Beal was there to intercept it. Beal then threw the ball up to Satoransky, who took three dribbles, elevated, and did something that frankly was not at all safe for work, man or beast:

The Capital One Arena fans went crazy, the Wizards bench immediately went to shower Sato with hugs and praise. Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer, however, went apoplectic and called a Gregg Popovich-like timeout just 45 seconds into the game.

When Sato was asked about the dunk after the game he remarked, “I really didn’t see if I made it, but I saw the reaction of TB [Thomas Bryant] so it told me that I made it.”

Yes, only 45 seconds had elapsed, but considering the Bucks came into last night’s game with the NBA’s best record, and the fact that the Wizards were able to hit them in the mouth and jump out to a 5-0 lead, seemed to be a good omen for the Wizards.

But not so much.

In fact, when Bucks forward Khris Middleton was asked what was discussed during that quick, early timeout, he basically said that the Bucks were neither panicked nor worried. Just a little out of sorts to start the game.

“It was just about transition defense. We had two turnovers, forced or unforced. We just did not get back and gave them two quick baskets. That is all it was about. We knew what it was. Just get refocused and get back out there and play.”

The next two minutes of game time saw the Bucks turn a five-point deficit into a two-point lead. Giannis Antetokounmpo socred on two dunks and a layup, Malcolm Brogdon hit a 3-point shot, and Middleton also scored via layup. The score was 11-9 in their favor. But they did not stop there.

Thanks to Middleton, Giannis and a 26-foot 3-pointer by Brook Lopez, the Bucks were able to extend their two-point lead to nine points. The previously delirious Capital One Arena was now quite subdued, the Wizards bench tried their best to encourage the starters, and it was Scott Brooks, not Budenholzer, who called timeout and took that exasperated walk of shame towards the middle of the court.

To the Wizards credit, after that Brooks timeout, they played hard–specifically Sato and Thomas Bryant. The Wizards kept within reach of the Bucks, whose lead stayed between seven and 14 points. But the post-Sato dunk energy that filled the Capital One Arena earlier in the evening had completely disappeared. When the Bucks put their foot on the gas over the last 2:08 of the first half, the lead ballooned fromv14 points to 26 and the game was effectively over.

It was 73-50 at halftime, and although the Wizards have erased larger deficits this season–most recently against Cleveland, when they cut a 25-point deficit to three points before falling short–this felt different. The Cavaliers are notorious bottom dwellers in the Eastern Conference, while the Bucks are the best…and it showed.

The Bucks extended their lead to 32 points at the nine-minute mark of the third quarter, and when Giannis checked out of the game with 5:56 left in the quarter, the Bucks still had a healthy 25-point lead.

Jeff Green and Bradley Beal helped the Wizards cut the lead down to 15 points in Giannis’s absence, and during that three-minute span, the energy on the Wizards’ bench and in the Capital One Arena overall nearly matched the post-Sato dunk frenzy. But at the two-minute mark of the third quarter when the Wizards had an opportunity to cut the lead to 13 points, Otto Porter turned the ball over and Middleton hit a 3-pointer for the Bucks to extend the lead to 18 points. The Wizards never got closer the 16 points the remainder of the game.

After the game, Beal and Coach Brooks sang the praises of the Bucks, while also managing to throw a few subtle jabs at Giannis’s 17 free throw attempts (he made all 17):

“Giannis [Antetokounmpo] is a pretty good player. The way he’s playing right now, the 12 free throws that he got in the first half, and he was 12-for-12, 17 for the game. It’s hard to stop.” —Scott Brooks

“He’s difficult in transition for sure…. It made it a little tough. At half court we did a good job, it was transition that was kicking our butts and getting a lot of fouls. I know they shot over 20 free throws, which is outrageous.” —Bradley Beal

These two teams will play again next Wednesday in Milwaukee and the result may be the same–especially since Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe (who coach Budenholzer said should have been an All-Star) will play after sitting out tonight’s game with a sore Achilles. But if the Wizards can somehow figure out a way to re-create and/or bottle up that energy they had after Sato’s dunk and again in that third quarter, maybe, just maybe, they could upset this team—and find a blueprint going forward. After all, this is a potential first round playoff matchup

In the interim, let’s look at that dunk again, shall we?


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.