MILWAUKEE – Greek power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was the highest scorer with 43 points for the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday as they beat the Washington Wizards 148-129 for their fifth consecutive victory.
The Bucks improved their record to 40-13 with their ninth win in the last 10 matches and consolidated their position on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I think we were just trading baskets at one point. We’re a good team, but we’re trying to be a great team,” Antetokounmpo said.
Milwaukee became the first team to rack up 40 wins this season, and has the best win-loss record in the league.
“We shot the ball really well. We mixed in getting to the basket. It was just the normal stuff. We were playing fast a lot of possessions and they were scoring, too,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Playmaker Eric Bledsoe had a double-double of 22 points and 11 assists for the Bucks, while shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon was the third-highest scorer with 18 points.
Antetokounmpo credited Bledsoe for making the difference in the match.
“He’s amazing. He’s been amazing all year. He came in with a defensive mindset. (...) He gave us the extra energy and we were able to close the game,” the All-Star said.
The Wizards (22-32), third in the Southeast Division, suffered their third loss in a row, as the team continues to struggle through a major rebuild ahead of next season. They recently lost Otto Porter Jr. after he was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a protected 2023 second-round pick.
It was confirmed earlier on Wednesday that Wizards point guard John Wall would be out for much of next season due to an Achilles tendon rupture which requires surgery.
Wall suffered the injury by slipping and falling at home and Wizards team doctor Wiemi Douoguih estimated that he might take between 11-15 months to recover after the surgery, which might be carried out next week.
Bradley Beal was the top-scorer for the Wizards with 30 points and was supported by center Thomas Bryant, who had a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
Forward Jeff Green was the third highest-scorer for Washington with 22 points.