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Wizards take modest win streak into series vs. Bucks

Dec 30, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves center Luka Garza (55) during the second quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough road trip, the Milwaukee Bucks are back home and back to winning ways as they welcome the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

After winning just one of the five games on their season-long road trip, the Bucks returned home and were able to end a four-game losing streak, defeating the nearby Minnesota Timberwolves 123-114 on Friday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo shined once again, scoring a game-high 43 points on 60.9-percent shooting from the floor along with a whopping 20 rebounds and five assists. Antetokounmpo is just the third player in NBA history to have consecutive games accumulating at least 40 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.

“His force, his determination, his competitive nature is what we’re built for,” Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We needed that, we need to keep it going forward.”

Bobby Portis also stepped up in the absence of Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 boards off the bench while new addition Joe Ingles scored 14 points and dished out 10 assists.

Washington ended the 2022 calendar year on a good note, winning their last four games coming into Sunday. They took down the depleted Orlando Magic on the road on Friday night 119-100.

Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 30 points on 9-for-13 shooting as well as 13 rebounds while Kyle Kuzma added 23 points. Seven Wizards players scored in double figures.

“He (Porzingis) was great,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Him and Gaff (Daniel Gafford), their rim protection was great. We’re trying to figure out how to get the best matchups for that pairing.”

On the season Antetokounmpo ranks third in the NBA in points per game at 32.1 while also leading Milwaukee with 11.8 rebounds per game, which ranks fourth in the league. Holiday tops the team with 7.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game and Brook Lopez is atop the NBA in blocks per game with 2.6.

For Washington, Porzingis is averaging 22.2 points, plus a team-best 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Monte Morris leads with 5.4 assists per game and Jordan Goodwin leads with 1.1 steals per contest.

On the injury front, Middleton remains out for Milwaukee with right knee soreness, missing his seventh game in a row on Friday. Holiday as well as George HIll are dealing with non-Covid illnesses. Each player’s status for Sunday night is to be determined.

For Washington, Taj Gibson (groin) and Bradley Beal (hamstring) were not able to play against Orlando. Their status for Sunday is also currently unknown.

These teams have played three-game season series the past three seasons and Milwaukee has won all but one of those nine games. The Bucks lead the all-time series 127-94 and Sunday will be the start of a back-to-back between these Eastern Conference opponents, with both games being played in Milwaukee.

–Field Level Media

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