MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Washington Wizards are on a mission.
Bradley Beal scored 21 points, hitting a clutch 3-pointer and a free throw down the stretch, to help the Wizards hang on for a 107-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points and Markieff Morris 14 for Washington which stayed hot after snapping the Philadelphia 76ers’ seven-game winning streak Sunday with a 109-94 victory.
“Great teams win on the road,” Beal said after Washington won its fourth consecutive road game and fifth in the last six away from home. “You won’t have success unless you win on the road.”
The Bucks lost a chance at clinching the season series with the Wizards who hold the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington improved to 2 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Bucks. The road team won both games of the series.
“We want to be a great team,” Beal said. “We are not there yet, but we want to be a great team.”
The Wizards led by as much as 21 in the first half and completely outplayed the Bucks. The second half was another story as Milwaukee found some playoff intensity. Washington let the lead slip to one five times in the fourth, but then made the stops and baskets for the win.
“Our guys took their punch, and we fought back,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t give in. We just kept fighting and battling.”
What makes the Wizards’ streak impressive is that they’re doing it without All-Star point guard John Wall. It was their eighth win in the 11 games since he underwent successful knee surgery on January 31.
“In his absence, we’re making sure everybody steps up,” Kelly Oubre Jr. said
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Jabbari Parker had a season-high 19 points for Milwaukee.
In the fourth, Morris hit a clutch jump shot and added a dunk before passing up an open look and finding Beal open for a 3 and a 106-101 lead with 59.7 seconds left.
Khris Middleton, who had 17 points, converted a 3-point play and after a Wizards turnover, Tomas Satoranský came up with a rebound in a scramble under the Bucks’ basket. Washington got the ball on the ensuing play. Beal made one free throw for the final point. After a Bucks’ timeout, Antetokounmpo inbounded the ball to Eric Bledsoe who lost control of the ball and Washington escaped with the victory.
“We did a great job of fighting back,” Bledsoe said. “They did a great job of keeping their composure and making plays.”
Looking lost on offense and trailing 64-50 at the half, Bledsoe, who had 17 points, sparked the resurgence in the third with eight points during an 18-6 run, including his second 3 that pulled Milwaukee to 70-68. The Wizards immediately called time out to regroup. They pushed the lead back to seven. Jason Terry hit a wide-open 3 with 13 seconds left in the third that cut the lead to 84-81.
The Wizards grabbed the opening tip and raced out to 21-point lead.
Morris hit a 3 that started a 14-0 run before Giannis Antetokounmpo drove the lane with four minutes gone for the Bucks’ first points in seven trips. Beal pushed the lead to 26-5 with a running layup off a pass from Tomás Satoranský. Kelly Oubre Jr.’s layup made it 40-20 just before the end of the quarter.
Wizards: The Wizards were 16 for 24 (66.7 percent) from the field in the first quarter. . The Wizards had 52 points in the paint to Milwaukee’s 40.
Bucks: The Wizard’s 40 points in the first quarter were the most the Bucks have allowed in that period this season. . Hall of Fame center and former Buck Kareem Abdul Jabbar, seated courtside, received a nice round of applause when he was introduced.
MAKE IT 40
The 40 points the Wizards scored in the first quarter was a season-high. The 40 the Bucks allowed was their season-worst in the first.
The Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall is riding a treadmill, but nothing more. He underwent successful surgery January 31 on his left knee.
“This Wednesday will be four weeks and our initial timeline was 6 to 8,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s making progress, but I can’t put a time on when he will be back. Hopefully, somewhere between then.”
Wizards: Host Golden State on Wednesday.
Bucks: Visit Detroit on Wednesday.
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