In the final moments of a solid 101-91 win over the Washington Wizards, things got heated for the Bucks.
With less than a minute to go in the Bucks’ 101-91 victory over the Wizards, Brandon Jennings got ejected for a post-whistle shove of Bradley Beal — a reaction to Beal’s flagrant-2 foul on a defenseless Monta Ellis in the open floor. After the game, Jennings explained his reaction.
With thirty-something seconds left — I know a team never wants to give up an easy basket — but in that type of situation, I just feel like you should wrap a guy up instead of pushing him or fouling him hard once he’s in the air. Freak accidents happen. Me, I was just trying to protect my teammate. I didn’t think I was going to get kicked out for it. But I was just trying to protect my teammate because the way he fell, I didn’t know if he was hurt or anything like that, so my mind was just to run over toward him.
Jennings played a steady, unflashy game (5-of-9 field goals, 12 points, 6 assists) — with the gross exception of a flurry of five third-quarter turnovers at the start of the second half. Ellis pitched in with a breakout game, including 22 points (ON JUST 15 SHOTS. EFFICIENCY!), 5 assists and 5 rebounds. After the game, he didn’t think the rookie Beal had made the right play.
When you see somebody up in the air that high, and you can’t make a basketball play, then I don’t think you should try to block the shot or whatever.
Early on, the game looked like it would be a blowout for the Wizards. Washington took advantage of Milwaukee’s inability to catch a pass cleanly. Emeka Okafor set solid screens to free the Wizards’ guards at the top of the key. Three fast break layups and three jump shots later, and the Bucks found themselves in a 12-0 hole.
But the rest of the quarter was a slumpbuster for Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova, who have both struggled to start the season. Ersan hit a pair of three-pointers en route to an 11-point quarter, and Ellis scored seven points. He also contributed with a three-pointer and three assists.
All wasn’t happy for the starters though. Tobias Harris struggled through a dreadful night: five fouls, getting beat repeatedly off the dribble, and getting rejected soundly twice on drives to the hoop. Mike Dunleavy filled in more than adequately with 13 points and a game-high 9 defensive rebounds. Scott Skiles praised Dunleavy and the rest of the bench, all of whom were a well-deserved +10 or over in the +/- department.
Mike was good again, Larry (Sanders) and Ekpe (Udoh) both were good. We finally started to get some stops. Our defense picked up and we were able to do what we do which is get out and get some easy baskets. That group that was out there, when Beno (Udrih) was out there with Mike, Marquis (Daniels), Ekpe and Larry, that was a good lineup for us.
Skiles also noted that he didn’t see the Jennings shove. He said that he turned his head the other way to make sure that his own players weren’t leaving the bench.
The play of the game belonged to Ekpe Udoh. With time running out in the third quarter of a tie game, Ekpe drove hard left, got fouled, and tossed in a lefty shot off the glass as he fell.
The Bucks stretched the resulting three-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter as the interior tandem of Sanders and Udoh covered enough ground to completely shut down the Wizards’ bench. In the meantime, Beno Udrih outplayed counterpart Jannero Pargo. Three Wizards fell apart: three turnovers and eight consecutive missed shots. The Bucks built the lead to 13. Washington didn’t score until Beal hit a fair of free throws with 6:57 remaining in the game.
The Wizards crept back into the game a bit (including an absolutely devastating dunk from Trevor Booker), but a pair of free throws from Larry Sanders and two layups from Ellis iced the game. Sanders earned his way to the line with a sharp cut across the lane late in the shot clock. He caught the pass cleanly, turned, and got fouled — a solid, veteran-ish looking play on all counts.
The Bucks were left to speculate if Jennings would get the change to play tomorrow against Boston. Jennings was quick to point out that he hasn’t gotten in prior trouble for altercations.
(Beal) probably was (trying to help), but in a sense, when things are going down like that and you see a nasty fall, your first mind is just to watch out and let everybody move out of the way. I’m not a guy who gets kicked out a lot, or technical fouls, or starts fights or anything like that. This is one of my first incidents ever so I’ll just have to wait and see.