Facing the reigning NBA champions, led by one of the most dominant players in the league, is a tall task for any team, but Bradley Beal and the Wizards proved once again to be a team on the rise with another early-season statement win.
The Wizards (7-3) and their sixth-ranked defense held the Milwaukee Bucks (4-6) and former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo under 100 points, the second straight time Washington has accomplished the feat, and came away with a 101-94 win at Capital One Arena, on a night where the team honored Hall of Famer and Bullets legend Bob Dandridge.
Led by Brad’s 30-point, eight-assist night, Washington’s combination of star power and depth proved too much for a Bucks team that couldn’t find many positive contributions outside of their star player. The Wizards on the other hand, got a terrific showing from Brad, who shot 14-of-22 from the field while Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell combined for 30 points to help the Wiz win their second consecutive game.
After the game, No. 3 discussed how the game’s intensity reminded him of the type of basketball he’s used to playing later in the season.
“I feel like I played a playoff game tonight,” BB said.
It was an even-battle in the first half, with the stars coming to play as Brad wasted no time getting comfortable, scoring 15 first-half points on 7-of-11 shooting while Antetokounmpo scored 10 on the other end. No. 3 had no trouble finding his looks against the Bucks defense, as he picked on Milwaukee with his burst around hand-offs and screens to find clean shots in the paint.
Despite going into the half down 52-49, the Wizards were quick to show off their depth as the bench added 11 points in a third quarter that favored the Wizards 33-19. Guided by BB’s seven points, the Wizards captured the lead with seven minutes left in the third, and closed the period on an 18-8 run.
Up 82-71 heading into the fourth, the Wizards held off multiple scoring bursts by the Bucks, who eventually brought the lead down to four with 1:39 left in the game. But a dagger three courtesy of Spencer Dinwiddie with 20 seconds left squashed any remaining hopes of a late-game comeback for Milwaukee, and gave the Wizards a clutch win that snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bucks.
In the midst of one of the best starts in franchise history and with a coach who has put his faith in multiple new faces to make an impact for the team, Brad and the Wizards have come together as a team built around chemistry and trust, thanks to head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
“When your coach is like that behind your team, he’s engaged and locked in, communicating, and telling everybody what to do, you love that,” No. 3 said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”
The Wizards play again on Wednesday, November 10 in a road matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-4) at RocketMortgage FieldHouse. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m ET.