By ANDREW GRUMAN, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Despite playing on back-to-back days for the first time this season and having two starters banged up, the Washington Wizards were better in the second half than their rested opponent Monday night.
Bradley Beal scored 23 points, John Wall returned from a one-game absence and the Wizards pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 99-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Defensively, we locked into the game plan,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We were aggressive, we were physical. We played with an IQ. We made them take the shots that we wanted them to take.”
Beal helped the Wizards separate from the Bucks with a personal 7-0 run late in the third quarter. Washington then outscored Milwaukee 13-4 to start the fourth, building an 86-70 advantage.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Wizards, who lost 100-91 to Toronto on Sunday with Wall out of the lineup.
Milwaukee has lost two consecutive games to fall back to .500 at 8-8 after rattling off a four-game winning streak following the trade for Eric Bledsoe.
The Bucks had scored at least 90 points in 13 of their first 14 games but managed just 79 in a loss to Dallas on Sunday and 88 against the Wizards. Both opponents were playing on the second day of a back-to-back while the Bucks were rested.
“We know that we’re a better team than how we’ve played,” said acting head coach Joe Prunty, who filled in for Jason Kidd.
Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points off the bench for the Wizards, and Wall scored 15 after missing a game with knee pain. Otto Porter Jr. had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Marcin Gortat finished with 10 points with 15 rebounds.
Washington led 27-19 after the first quarter, but Milwaukee used a 10-0 run capped by Giannis Antetokounmpo blocking a shot attempt by Wall and finishing on the other end to take 41-39 lead with 3:07 left in the half.
After trailing 47-46 at halftime, the Bucks led 55-50 before the Wizards scored eight straight points to take the lead back for good.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 23 points but was 8 for 21 from the field.
“(Giannis) is playing like an MVP,” Brooks said. “Hard player to stop. You try different guys on him so that he doesn’t get a consistent feel with the same player.”
The Bucks went just 4 of 22 from beyond the arc and missed 20 shots in the paint.
Wizards: Beal became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 700 made 3-pointers. … Washington held a 46-33 rebounding advantage and outscored Milwaukee 15-2 on second-chance points.
Bucks: Matthew Dellavedova (left knee tendinitis) and Mirza Teletovic (left knee soreness) each missed a third straight game due to injury. … Bucks guard Gary Payton II made his third appearance of the season. On a two-way contract, Payton scored a career-high eight points in 15 minutes.
KIDD AWAY FROM TEAM
Kidd missed the game following the birth of his daughter. Kidd’s wife, Porschla, gave birth to Cooper Anne Kidd on Sunday.
PLAYING THROUGH PAIN
Wall returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s loss to Toronto with a sore left knee. Porter was in the starting lineup after an MRI on his right hand came back negative.
“When I first went out there and shot today, it was perfectly fine,” Wall said. “If you saw me warming up the last couple games, you could tell that we had to take time to warm up.
“I was great. I was cool. I missed some easy early shots, but other than that I was fine.”
Wizards: Washington plays at Charlotte on Wednesday. The Wizards took three of four from the Hornets last season.
Bucks: Milwaukee will travel to Phoenix to face the Suns on Wednesday. The Bucks and Suns made a big trade on Nov. 7, when Bledsoe went to Milwaukee in exchange for Greg Monroe and two draft picks.
Porter Jr. 5-12 0-0 12, Morris 5-8 0-0 11, Gortat 4-10 2-4 10, Wall 5-13 4-5 15, Beal 10-16 1-2 23, Oubre Jr. 6-8 3-3 18, Mahinmi 1-1 0-0 2, Frazier 1-2 0-0 2, Meeks 2-4 2-3 6. Totals 39-74 12-17 99.
Middleton 5-13 5-6 15, Antetokounmpo 8-21 7-9 23, Henson 5-8 0-0 10, Bledsoe 6-13 1-2 14, Snell 4-7 1-2 10, Maker 1-2 0-0 2, Liggins 2-5 0-0 6, Payton II 4-6 0-0 8, Brogdon 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 35-79 14-19 88.
3-Point Goals_Washington 9-24 (Oubre Jr. 3-5, Beal 2-5, Porter Jr. 2-7, Morris 1-3, Wall 1-3, Meeks 0-1), Milwaukee 4-22 (Liggins 2-3, Bledsoe 1-4, Snell 1-4, Payton II 0-1, Maker 0-1, Brogdon 0-2, Antetokounmpo 0-3, Middleton 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Washington 46 (Gortat 15), Milwaukee 33 (Henson 10). Assists_Washington 23 (Wall 6), Milwaukee 17 (Antetokounmpo 4). Total Fouls_Washington 18, Milwaukee 19. Technicals_Morris, Wall, Antetokounmpo. A_16,122 (18,717).