Manhandled by these same Wizards for their first game of 2023, the Bucks were obviously keen to redeem themselves for this second consecutive confrontation, with the return of Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The locals were determined to react, and the circle felt it after the passage of Pat Connaughton and those of Giannis Antetokounmpo at the start of the game. Jrue Holiday’s two 3-pointers then allowed the Bucks to take control after 12 minutes of play (32-28).
Undefeated for five matches, Washington also evolved in confidence and did not miss an opportunity to show it. There was in particular this 15-2 marked by the 3-point baskets of the Morris-Kispert-Porzingis trio in order to allow DC to go back in front (46-49). The reaction of the Bucks, led by an untenable Giannis Antetokounmpo, was quick: 15-0 before the break to finish at +12 (61-49)!
Despite the good passages of Brook Lopez or Bobby Portis, Milwaukee has however struggled to put the Wizards out of harm’s way for good. The scenario was repeated after returning from the locker room since even at -14 (65-51), Washington found the resources to return to contact.
In particular, there were 3-pointers from Kristaps Porzingis, Corey Kispert and Rui Hachimura, then Daniel Gafford’s two baskets in quick succession which completely restarted the match at the start of the last act (90-85).
The locals held on and Washington finally cracked. To accompany the destructive enterprise of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez will have been decisive, starting the period with a 3-pointer and a dunk, then by two consecutive dunks with two rebounds (109-102).
The “Greek Freak” finished the Wizards in stride with two shots and a 2 + 1 to reach 50 points (116-104) and guide his team to the final victory, 123 to 113.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Giannis Antetokounmpo starts the year well. Hit in the knee during the previous confrontation between the two teams, Giannis Antetokounmpo had obviously recovered well! On a mission from the start of the match, the interior continued to pound the opposing racket, relying on its power and transition game to prove unplayable in sequences. During a fourth quarter that struggled to settle, the “Greek Freak” forced the decision almost single-handedly by scoring 19 points over the period, thus offering his new career high to 55 stitches.
– Bad luck for Beal. The number 13 will not have brought him luck since the leader of the Wizards will only have remained 13 minutes on the ground. Hit in the hamstrings, Bradley Beal finally withdrew for the second half. It was the same injury that forced him to miss the previous two games. At the very end of the game, Daniel Gafford, visibly injured in the right arm, also left his teammates.
✅ Giannis Antetokounmpo. A first match in 2023 which bodes well for the “Greek Freak”. Memorable dunks, great efficiency near the circle and devoured spaces at every opportunity. On the verge of sealing his new career record on a monumental dunk, which ultimately failed, he took advantage of a Kristaps Porzingis as active as a cone in the final because of his 5 personal fouls, to finish the game with 55 points. , a new record to beat.
✅ The Portis-Lopez pair. The two main lieutenants of Giannis Antetokounmpo on this match, essential to bring a little alternation in attack in the absence of Khris Middleton but also to ensure the rebound since they took more than half of the Bucks between them. Also note Brook Lopez’s 6 blocks, two of which at the very end of the match to complete a fourth quarter in which he was brilliant.
⛔️ Kyle Kuzma. 28 shots attempted! We really had the impression that he dragged on his spleen the more the match progressed. A zero point in six 3-point attempts that did not help. Worrying?
Milwaukee (23-13): in “back-to-back”, the Bucks are expected in Toronto this Wednesday (1:30 a.m.).
Washington (17-21): the Wizards end their road trip this Friday at OKC (2:00 a.m.).