Wednesday, March 3, 2010 10:25pm
Wizards vs. Bucks Game Highlights
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.com Milwaukee---NBA games can have multiple story lines filled with plots and sub-plots. This one was simple and direct. The Washington Wizards 100-83 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks was all about turnovers. The Wizards simply had too many miscues while trying to deal with Bucks full-court pressure. When the Wizards did break the press, the Bucks then defended the passing lanes well. The bottom line was 22 Wizards turnovers that led to 24 of the Bucks points. The turnovers prevented the Wizards from establishing any kind of rhythm on offense. The Bucks applied pressure early and at half-time the Wizards found themselves trailing by eight points at 56-48 even though they were shooting 52 percent from the field. Andray Blatche again led the Wizards in scoring with 18 points and set a career high with his ninth consecutive game with at least ten points. Blatche made eight of his fourteen shots or 57 percent from the field. Blatche is now the first Washington player since Cliff Robinson in 1984 to shoot at least 52 percent from the field in nine consecutive games while making at least eight shots. While Blatche had 18-points and Randy Foye also had 18-points, the Wizards did not find a way to get Mike Miller or Al Thornton involved. Miller only scored three points and only took three shots, while Thornton was 1 for 4 from the field. We played hard. It was just a matter of us just committing too many turnovers, Miller pointed out. They got a lot of easy stuff in transition which is difficult especially against a coach Skiles (Milwaukee head coach) team because they move the ball so well. John Salmons, playing in his eighth game with the Bucks since being acquired in a trade with Chicago, continued to make an impact and finished with a game-high 22-points. On defense Salmons was disruptive in the half-court with four steals that helped the Bucks rack up a 16-6 advantage in fast break points. The Bucks are also deep. Off the bench both guard Luke Ridnour and six-foot ten inch forward Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks in assists with six each. For Ilyasova his six assists were a career high and he also had 19-points and ten rebounds. Former Wizards player Jerry Stackhouse is also part of the Bucks depth and he provided the spark in the first quarter that turned a five point deficit into a two point lead at the end of one. Stackhouse had ten of his13 points in the first half. For all of the Wizards trouble in dealing with the Bucks defense, they stayed within striking distance of the Bucks by staying competitive on the boards. The Wizards outrebounded the Bucks for the game 39-37 and only allowed them eight second-chance points. The Bucks are ranked fifth in the NBA at converting second chance points and center Andrew Bogut is a big reason why. The Wizards JaVale McGee was effective in helping to neutralize Bogut who scored 15-points but only had two rebounds and none through three quarters of play. Still it was just not happening on offense for the Wizards. By the end of the third quarter the Wizards trailed 77-60. The turnovers were disruptive and then when the Wizards did get set there was often too much dribbling and not enough movement off the ball. With 6:20 left in the fourth quarter an emphatic dunk by McGee, who had 14-points, did cut the Bucks lead to twelve at 87-75. Any hope of a great Wizards push to finish the game was quickly dashed when in a span of thirty seconds Stackhouse scored a three-pointer, blocked a shot, and then assisted on a fast break dunk by Ilyasova. We have worked too hard to let any team to get up on us like that, Blatche noted. We are a good enough team that we should not get down by twenty points to any team. We were just playing sloppy. We did not play the way Flip (Wizards head coach) taught us. On the positive sideShaun Livingston was able to play 15-minutes and actually seemed to help settle the Wizards down. Livingston, who is trying to resurrect his career after a horrific knee injury when he played with the Clippers in 2007, scored six points and had four assists. Livingston might again be an option on Friday when the Wizards host the Bucks at Verizon Center. Guard play will be important as the Bucks clearly served notice that they plan to pressure the Wizards We just have to continue to do the same stuff we have been doing in previous games, Miller added. If we can maintain the energy we will have the opportunity to win games down the stretch and that is all you can ask.