While the Wizards' Bradley Beal scored a season-high 47 points, the Bucks showcased the full strength of their roster. Forward Khris Middleton notched a career-best 51 points on 16-for-26 shooting, including 7-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and point guard Eric Bledsoe provided 34 points and 10 assists.
"I don't care about points. I don't care about stats," Beal said after his second straight game with at least 40 points. "I can have 80 points, but if we don't win, I'm going to be pissed."
In that case, Beal must have been steamed throughout the night at Fiserv Forum. Milwaukee (41-6) opened a 13-1 lead to start the game and stayed on the attack. By the end of the first half, it had set a franchise record — as well as an NBA season high — by pelting Washington (15-31) with 88 points.
The Bucks played efficiently, but Middleton was the one player the Wizards could not contain. He captained the three-point parade, showing little appreciation for Wizards Coach Scott Brooks’s pregame vote of confidence. Hours before Middleton started the game 6 for 6 from beyond the arc, Brooks revealed a portion of his all-star ballot, for comedic effect.
“Make sure you tell him I voted for him,” Brooks said to reporters, “so he doesn’t take anything out on me or the team.”
The all-star reserves will be announced Thursday and, if Middleton’s performance Tuesday was any indication, Brooks voted correctly.
“Sometimes I feel like players have their nights,” Wizards big man Thomas Bryant said. “Unfortunately for us, today was his night. He was feeling it.”
The Wizards stumbled into a 32-point deficit before halftime but climbed within 114-104 in the closing seconds of the third quarter. Beal found support from Isaiah Thomas and Troy Brown Jr., who both drilled long jumpers as Washington scored 41 points in the period. Each finished with 16 points.
Near the midway point of the fourth, Bryant (18 points) completed a three-point play to bring Washington within 131-124. But then Middleton worked without the ball before receiving a pass from center Brook Lopez to score at the rim.
After Davis Bertans (15 points) cut the Wizards’ deficit back to seven, Middleton again responded, this time pulling up for a midrange jumper. Later, with the Wizards running out of time, Middleton sliced through the defense for a dunk. Milwaukee rebuilt its double-digit lead and sent Washington home with three losses on its four-game road trip.
The Wizards left the floor defenseless after they surrendered more than 150 points for the second game in a row. At the same time, Middleton was mobbed by his teammates. For this celebration, the Bucks didn’t need the MVP.
“They’re a good team. They know how to play,” Brooks said. “They’ve got a lot of experienced players that help them win.”
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