Monday, October 3, 2022
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Preview: Washington Wizards (30-41) at Milwaukee Bucks (45-27)

Giannis Antetokounmpo will look to score at least 30 points for the sixth time in his last seven games as his Milwaukee Bucks host the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

Antetokounmpo had been on a roll before knee soreness held him out of Milwaukee’s game at Minnesota on Saturday.

The two-time MVP had put together five straight 30-point games before collecting 25 points and 17 rebounds in the Bucks’ 126-98 win over Chicago on Tuesday night. Jrue Holiday paced Milwaukee with 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting and Pat Connaughton chipped in 14 points off the bench.

Holiday erupted in the fourth quarter, going for 12 points to help the Bucks improve to 3-0 against the Bulls this season.

“I kind of felt like it was my turn,” Holiday said. “We won that third, which we hadn’t done in a long time, and I think to be able to go to the fourth strong, get some buckets and some stops was going to be big. So, I just took an opportunity.”

Milwaukee still managed to get the win despite being without Khris Middleton, who was held out with a wrist injury. He is listed as day-to-day and is probable for the meeting with the Wizards.

The Bucks do have Brook Lopez and Connaughton back, though, and both have been efficient since their returns.

Lopez is averaging 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds over the past two games since being reinserted into the starting lineup, and Connaughton averaged 14.5 points while shooting 44.4 percent from behind the arc in his first two games since coming back.

Washington’s struggles in the month of March continued on Monday night in a 115-97 at Houston. The Wizards have lost seven of their last eight games overall and have not won on the road since Feb. 17.

Kristaps Porzingis paced Washington with 22 points and 13 rebounds against the Rockets. Rui Hachimura supplied 16 points and eight rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Corey Kispert each tallied 13 points.

“Second half just started going downhill a little bit, and they took the momentum. (Christian) Wood played incredible,” Porzingis said. “Offensively things just weren’t clicking as well as they were in the first half for us. So yeah, tough loss.”

The Wizards have been hampered by the absence of Kyle Kuzma, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury. The 6-foot-9 forward has been an offensive centerpiece for Washington all season and is averaging 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds.

He is listed as day-to-day and is probable for Thursday’s matchup.

Hachimura has taken on an increased role with Kuzma sidelined, and he has been up for the task. He is averaging 13.0 points and 4.5 rebounds over his past two starts and has also scored in double figures in each of his last eight games.

Thursday’s finale of the three-game season series will be a rubber match, as both teams split the first two meetings. Milwaukee earned a 112-98 win on Feb. 1, but the Wizards dealt the Bucks a 101-94 loss back on Nov. 7.

Al Rossi Sports Investments

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