The Milwaukee Bucks have a chance to improve to 3-0 in group play for the In-Season Tournament on Friday night at Fiserv Forum as they take on the Washington Wizards in an East Group B matchup. The Wizards (2-12) already have been eliminated from quarterfinal contention, but the Bucks (10-5) need to continue to win to have a chance to advance.
Washington led 61-60 at halftime thanks to a 15-point effort off the bench from Corey Kispert, all on three-pointers. Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones had 10 each. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points to lead Milwaukee. Brook Lopez had 12 points and 3 blocks in the first half for the Bucks.
The Wizards took a 35-34 lead after one quarter thanks to a 5-for-10 showing from behind the three-point line. Washington also shot 50% from the floor overall. Damian Lillard had 10 points for the Bucks.
The Miami Heat is also 2-0 and plays the New York Knicks (1-1) tonight as well. There no clinching scenarios for either the Bucks or Heat tonight.
“I think it’s similar to the idea of trying to win a championship — you need buy-in,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said. “I think the NBA has done a great job of making sure awareness is high, making sure there is some cadence, consistency. It’s Tuesdays and Fridays, it’s when the wild courts are, it’s when every team is playing, it’s groupings, things of that nature. I think that’s just something the league wanted to make a point for. Having everybody buy into is what’s kind of what’s made it successful, grown a little bit of hype.”
The Bucks currently own the tiebreaker over the Heat with a plus-36 point differential in their two group wins. The Heat are plus-13 and the Knicks are plus-16. The Bucks already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over New York thanks to their victory on Nov. 3.
“As it get to a place where it’s only two of those tournament games left I think fans and players are starting to see where things shake out and how potentially point differential comes into play,” Connaughton said. “I personally think it’s going to be elevated once people see it one year through. Right now it’s still kind of hard conceptually for some fans or your non-everyday fan to conceptualize and really understand what’s happening or why it’s of more importance. I think as you get to the last game of pool play or you get to the quarterfinals, semi-finals and everyone is in Vegas for the finals, I think that’s when we’ll see the success of it.”
Milwaukee and Washington had a competitive game Monday for a bit before the Bucks eventually pulled away late, 142-129.
Is Giannis playing?
Yes. The MVP began the day Friday as probable to play with a non-COVID illness, but after the team shot around in the morning he was downgraded to questionable. He said after the Bucks’ loss in Boston that he was battling a cold.
“He’s available,” Adrian Griffin said. “I think he was just under the weather a little bit, non-COVID. But he’s feeling much better. He’ll be ready tonight.”
Bucks injury report
Read More: Wizards lead Bucks 61-60 at halftime 2023-11-25 02:03:45