Wall returns as Wizards find groove vs. Bucks
MILWAUKEE — John Wall returned to the lineup, and the Washington Wizards seemed to get their groove back.
Wall sat out Washington’s 100-91 loss at Toronto on Sunday because of a sore left knee that had been bothering him for a week and the Wizards shot 42 percent and scored 36 points in the second half.
On Monday, Wall had 15 points and six assists as the Wizards snapped a two-game skid with a 99-88 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee.
“When I first went out there and shot today, it was perfectly fine,” Wall said. “If you saw me warming up the last couple games, you could tell that we had to take time to warm up.”
Wall certainly wasn’t 100 percent and only hit 5 of 13 shots, but he got plenty of help from the rest of the Wizards’ lineup, which shot 52.7 percent from the floor and hit 9 of 24 3-point attempts.
“We kept moving the ball,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “The extra pass, the hockey assist that we talk about, that our bigs did a great job of finding space on the floor, making easy offense for open shots.”
Bradley Beal led Washington with 23 points. He hit 10 of 16 shots, including two 3-pointers, and also had five assists and a blocked shot.
All five Wizards starters scored at least 10 points and Kelly Oubre, Jr. chipped in with 18 off the bench with three 3-pointers.
Each member of Milwaukee’s starting five also scored at least 10 points, but the Bucks never found any sort of rhythm and only mustered 17 assists on 35 baskets while going 4 of 22 from distance.
“We know we’re a better team than the way we’ve played,” said Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty, who filled in for coach Jason Kidd while he joined his wife for the birth of a baby girl earlier in the day.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 23 points but was 8 of 21 from the floor, did not have a dunk for the first time this season and is 13 of 39 in the Bucks’ last two games, both of them losses.
“Some of those were in transition,” Prunty said. “The shots at the rim, the layups, we like those shots. They’re good, quality shots. On the offensive end of the floor, we want to get a good, quality shot every single time.
“If Giannis is at the rim, we know he’ll finish. He’s one of the elite finishers in the league. He takes a lot of contact in there. We trust that he’ll finish it.”
Milwaukee missed 10 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half but only trailed by one at the break because Washington, which shot 50 percent from the floor, went 4 of 13 from distance and gave up nine points on nine turnovers.
“We got some great looks, especially in the second quarter,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “Giannis got great looks the whole game, it was just one of those nights when he couldn’t finish. We just have to do a better job. We’re getting there sometimes, now we just have to finish it.”
But the 3-pointers started going in for Washington in the third quarter as Beal hit two and scored 10 points in the quarter. The Wizards sank 4 of 7 3-pointers to take a 73-66 lead into the fourth quarter.
Beal and Wall were on the bench to open the fourth quarter as the Wizards extended their lead to 83-69 when Jodie Meeks completed a three-point play with 9:56 to play.
The Wizards led by as many as 15 points down the stretch.
NOTES: G Matthew Dellavedova (left knee tendinitis) and F Mirza Teletovic (left knee soreness) were out again for the Bucks, who were also without coach Jason Kidd, whose wife Porschla gave birth to the couple’s second child earlier in the day. Assistant coach Joe Prunty ran the team in Kidd’s place. ... The Bucks’ 10 turnovers Monday tied their season low. ... Washington won for the first time this season when scoring less than 100 points. ... Washington G Bradley Beal’s two 3-pointers gave him 701 for his career, making him the youngest player in NBA history to make 700 3-pointers.