Milwaukee Bucks clobber Washington Wizards, again
Saturday, March 6, 2010
After Milwaukee ran through them and jumped over them two days before, the Washington Wizards were anxious to get some payback as they welcomed the Bucks to Verizon Center for the second end of the home-and-home series on Friday. Perhaps they were a bit too anxious.
JaVale McGee won the opening the tip, batting the ball to Andray Blatche, who quickly dribbled ahead and whipped a pass to a sprinting McGee. McGee wasn't quite ready for the ball, so he released a rapid-fire shot that squirted from his hands and crashed hard off the glass. Seven seconds into the game, the Wizards had their first missed shot -- and already seemed to exhaust all their adrenaline because it didn't get much better from there.
Looking lethargic and discombobulated, the Wizards again let the Bucks run through them and jump over them, only the final result was much uglier than the previous game. They scored a season low in points and got booed off the court after suffering their most lopsided loss of the season, 102-74.
"We just didn't compete tonight," Coach Flip Saunders said. "We were out of sync the whole time."
Riding a dominant performance by center Andrew Bogut (19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks), the Bucks made light work of a Wizards team that appears to have come down from the emotionally-charged honeymoon after dealing away starters Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. But since losing Josh Howard to a season-ending left knee injury, the Wizards (21-38) have now lost four of their last five games.
The Wizards lost, 100-87, in Milwaukee on Wednesday, but they trailed by 20 midway through the fourth quarter, which upset Blatche as he covered his head with a towel. After that loss, Blatche said the Wizards were too good to trail any team by 20 points. But the Wizards found themselves trailing by 31 with 9 minutes 54 seconds left in the game.
"I wanted to bring it to them, get a payback game. They got us at their house. I wanted to get them at our house," Blatche said. "But they came out, they did their job and they got the win."
Before the game, spoke positively about how McGee was able to contain Bogut and limit him to just two rebounds in Milwaukee. Bogut came out determined to make sure there wouldn't be a repeat performance, as he tallied 10 points and five rebounds in the first period. He started the game with a jump hook over McGee and later soared high above to the rim to catch a lob pass from Brandon Jennings for a two-handed dunk. Bogut swung on the rim and wrapped his legs around McGee.
He had four blocks and another impressive dunk in the third period and rested during the final period after helping his team build an 81-55 lead.
"He was aggressive," McGee said after scoring a team-high 13 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Blatche also had 13 points, but he failed to score at least 18 for the first time since the all-star break. His streak of nine consecutive games shooting better than 50 percent from the floor also came to an end as he missed 11 of his 16 shots.
"That's something I have to, as a player, I have to adjust to and find ways to be more effective," Blatche said. "It seems like every time I turned around, it was two guys coming. I got to find a way to make the game easier for my teammates."
The Wizards didn't make much easy for themselves on Friday, as they shot 37.8 percent and had a season-low 10 assists -- one more than Jennings (four points, nine assists). "With 'Tawn and Caron and [Gilbert Arenas] not playing, it's more important than ever to play together and get everybody involved, play harder than the other team and we didn't do that," Mike Miller said. "We got to get back popping the ball. with those guys not in the lineup, we're not good enough to go one-on-one."
Earl Boykins had 12 points and Randy Foye finished with eight points, but he was just 3 of 10 from the floor. And, after being held to two points on Wednesday, Al Thornton had just six. "I hope this will be the last game like this," said Thornton, who averaged 15.8 points in his first six games with the Wizards. "Coming in, I was extremely excited and had a lot of momentum and now the minutes are catching up with me. There's no excuses, I got to find a way to fight through it and get my body up to par."
The night was summed up in one play in the second period, when Bucks reserve Ersan Ilyasova missed a three-pointer badly and the rebound began to roll out of bounds. Instead of letting the ball go, or have McGee pick it up, Miller came diving after it and knocked it out of bounds. The Bucks then inbounded the ball to Ilyasova who knocked down a 20-foot jumper to give Milwaukee a 51-36 lead at halftime.
The Bucks (32-29) improved to 8-1 since acquiring John Salmons from Chicago at the trade deadline. Salmons had 17 points, Carlos Delfino added 19 and Luke Ridnour provided 13 points off the bench.