Monday, February 11, 2013

Wizards Take Fourth Straight, Surge Past Bucks

After going 3-0 on last week's home stand, the Washington Wizards were back on the road, traveling to Wisconsin to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Following the January 8th resignation of former head coach Scott Skiles, the Bucks had gone 9-6 under Jim Boylan, who took over the position after serving as assistant in Milwaukee for 3 and a half years. It remains unclear as to why Skiles vacated the position, but it has been stated publicly that Skiles and the Bucks' organization decided to mutually part ways. It's the second time in Boylan's career that he has taken over for Scott Skiles as coach. Boylan replaced Skiles after he was fired in Chicago on December 27th 2007, serving as head coach of the Bulls for the remainder of the 07-08 season. Meanwhile, the Bucks were looking to end a three game losing streak coming into tonight's game at the Bradley Center, but they'd have to accomplish this task without their leading shot blocker Larry Sanders, who was sitting out his third straight game due to a lower back contusion he suffered in a collision with Denver's Kenneth Faried last Tuesday in the team's 112-104 loss to the Nuggets.

Washington, on the other hand, was looking to add to its three game winning streak, during which it had won each contest by an average of 11 points. The Wizards, who had beaten the Clippers, Knicks, and Nets most recently, hadn't allowed their opponents more than 100 points since January 25th in a 114-101 win at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bradley Beal had returned to the lineup on Friday against the Nets, but remained in his temporary role coming off the bench, giving Garrett Temple his 13th start of the season.

The Wizards, who hadn't won in Milwaukee since December of 2009, fell behind early, trailing 24-14 with 5:17 left in the 1st quarter, but were able to cut the Bucks' lead to 3, going into the 2nd with a 32-29 deficit. Washington tied the game at 42 with 5:09 left in the 2nd quarter on a Trevor Ariza fast break layup, taking a 55-47 lead into the half behind 16 first half points from Bradley Beal.

Milwaukee went on a run of it's own to cut the lead to 3 with 7:02 left in the 3rd quarter, but their main interior defensive presence, Samuel Dalembert, who would eventually foul out, was relegated to the bench after picking up his 5th foul with 6:46 left in the period. Bucks' forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who would return later, had already left the game at the beginning of the quarter holding his right leg, which left more holes in the Bucks' already depleted lineup. Despite the losses of some of their key players, Milwaukee cut the Wizards' lead to 4 with 1:48 left in the 3rd quarter on a Mike Dunleavy free throw, resulting from a John Wall technical foul. Wall had apparently thought he was fouled on a previous possession, and voiced his displeasure during the ensuing timeout.