Washington’s Jan Vesely throws down a dunk while John Henson (kind of) defends during Wednesday’s 100-92 loss.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in freefall. Ten straight defeats – the last four versus sub-.500 teams – have the Bucks (2-12) sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the 2-14 Jazz for the league’s worst record.
In Wednesday’s 100-92 overtime loss to the Wizards, the Bucks shot just 43.5 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 22 times. Meanwhile, Washington hit 50 percent of its shots and was led by Marcin Gortat’s 25 points on 11-of-12 from the field. Martell Webster, starting at shooting guard in place of Brad Beal, added 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists while John Wall finished with just 19 points, snapping the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week’s three-game streak of scoring 30+ points.
On the Milwaukee side, Larry Drew tightened up his rotation, as all five starters played at least 30 minutes with Ersan Ilyasova leading the way at 39. O.J. Mayo paced Milwaukee with 21 points (good), but it took him 23 shots to do so (bad). Brandon Knight continued to struggle from the field, finishing with seven points on 2-of-12 shooting. In three games since returning from a hamstring injury, Knight is just 5-of-27 from the field.
It was a close battle throughout until Milwaukee trailed by double-digits midway through the fourth quarter. But a 12-2 run propelled the Bucks to an 80-78 lead with just under six minutes remaining. The teams continued to trade baskets, and a Trevor Ariza free throw put Washington ahead 87-84 with 12.7 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Milwaukee possession, Mayo connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game with just under seven seconds left. Washington then dominated the overtime period, outscoring Milwaukee 13-5.
Some notes Wednesday’s action:
-Milwaukee was outscored 13-5 in overtime for the second time in four games, as they suffered the same fate last week versus Philadelphia.
-The current 10-game losing streak is the franchise’s longest since the 1995-96 season when the Bucks dropped 15 in a row
-As we’ve harped on considerably over the past few weeks, Milwaukee is the NBA’s worst team in terms of rebounding differential. However, Milwaukee out rebounded the Wizards 44-34 overall and 11-5 offensively. I’m grasping at straws here, but it’s the first time in a while Milwaukee has prevailed on the boards.
-Despite being one of the Bucks’ most consistent performers this season, John Henson played just 15 minutes. He picked up three quick fouls, but such little time for the team’s best rim protector (with Sanders out) and volume rebounder is a little big suspect. However, it was nice to see Larry Drew opt to stick more with his starting lineup after playing a much deeper rotation of late.
-Nate Wolters picked up the first DNP-CD of his young career after playing in each of the team’s first 13 games. As expected, Wolters’ role has diminished considerably since Luke Ridnour and Knight returned from injury.
-Despite a relatively poor shooting performance, O.J. Mayo broke out of his four-game slump. The 26-year-old hadn’t scored in double figures since netting 22 on Nov. 16 against OKC, but prior to that he posted five 20+ point performances in six games. Part of his ineffectiveness stemmed from a lack of aggression, and his 23 field goal attempts Wednesday matched his total from the past three games combined.
-After logging 12 minutes in both Saturday and Monday’s games, Giannis Antetokounmpo did not see the floor, picking up his third DNP-CD in the past five games. He’s seen most of his minutes in garbage time with the Bucks down big, and it appears he’s all but fallen out of the regular rotation.