Nick Young lead the way for the Wizards as they snapped their 8-game losing streak by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 100-85. Young scored 26 points but teammate Cartier Martin stole the show putting up 15 points that included 12 in the fourth quarter.
JaVale McGee grabbed double digit rebounds for the first time in eight games with a monster 17-board night to go along with his 16 points. McGee started the game slow, giving up a quick 8 points to Bucks center Andrew Bogut. McGee kicked it into gear though and held Bogut scoreless for the rest of the quarter.
Andray Blatche had 12 points on the night with 8 rebounds and also contributed 3 assists. Rashard Lewis only contributed 3 points but made an impact on the defensive end against guys like Bucks forward’s Ersan LLyasova and Corey Maggette, who finished with 10 points a piece.
Wizards Coach Flip Saunders touched on Lewis’s ailing knee after game.
“Rashard was struggling with his knee, which is why we went to Cartier, but he gave us some pretty good defense and his presence out there gives somewhat of a calming effect. “
Although they were playing the NBA’s worst ranked offense (30th overall), the Wizards clamped down defensively holding Milwaukee to just under 42% from the field. Washington had allowed 109 points per game during their eight-game losing streak.
The Wizards also made a concerted effort on the boards, out rebounding the Bucks 51 to 39. John Wall had 7 of those rebounds to go along with his 15 points and 6 assists. After the game Wall talked about the teams overall effort.
“Taking care of the ball, I think we really did a great job of that at times. Our big men just rebounded the ball and we stopped their guards today. Last game their guards beat us in the lane anytime and they got any type of shots they wanted, and that’s how they won the game. But we were in Milwaukee. I think we did both of those things well, rebounded the ball and contained their guards.”
The Bucks were lead in scoring by sophomore guard Brandon Jennings with 20 points. Jennings had struggled offensively since returning from his ankle injury, averaging 6 points in six games.
Despite the scoring increase for Jennings, Coach Saunders still applauded Wall for his defensive effort on the night.
“Even though he had 20 on us, I think John and Kirk worked him really well tonight. He got 20 but they came off of 24 jacks (shots). They limited his game and kept him to only four assists. They were really able to keep him one-dimensional tonight.”
The Bucks made the playoffs last season after an improbably run sparked by the acquisition of John Salmons. Salmons scored 14 points but was disappointed in his team’s performance after the game.
“It’s tough. We feel like at the beginning of the season we had a higher expectation, so I feel like we have to make a fresh start now. We had higher expectations.”
At 20-31 the Bucks are currently sitting 3 games behind the Indiana Pacers for the eighth playoff spot in the East. Although Milwaukee has returned many of it’s injured, there seems to be a lack of chemistry with many guys adjusting to new roles.
“They have been dealing with injuries and their roles have been changing a lot lately,” said Saunders. “Jennings is trying to get back and get his legs under him again and it’s just going to take some time.”
The star of the show, Cartier Martin set a new career high with five 3pt’ers on the night. Despite only logging 7 minutes the last two games Cartier came in, hit open shots a defended the perimeter like a seasoned vet.
“It feels good getting another win under our belt. We were struggling there for a minute but getting a win gives us a little confidence and gives us a chance to go into this next game against San Antonio with some confidence and trying to carry some things over to their game.”