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Beal deals, Wizards seal fourth straight victory

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Despite a painfully slow start, the Washington Wizards may be hitting their stride.

Bradley Beal set a career high with 28 points on Monday night, hitting 10 of 17 shots from the field and going 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in the Wizards' 102-90 victory over Milwaukee at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The Wizards have now won a season-high four in a row.

"I just felt good," Beal said. "My wrist is feeling a lot better and that's probably the biggest thing. I wanted to shoot with confidence. My teammates did a great job of finding me and I was able to knock down some shots."

Beal led a Wizards offense that connected at a 56.8 percent clip from the field despite making just 4 of 12 3-pointers. They helped make up for that shortcoming by sinking 14 of 17 free throws.

Nene added 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with 13 rebonds. John Wall added 14 points and Emeka Okafor 12.

"We don't have anybody who will come out and give us 30 every night," Wall said. "It's a different guy every night. It's different guys and we trust each other."

Defensively, Washington held Milwaukee to 36 of 95 (37.9 percent) from the field and 5 of 23 from beyond the arc.

"I thought we had a bunch of good looks, but we just couldn't make them," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. "Anytme you shoot 39 percent, it's going to be a rough night for you -- especially when the other team is shooting over 50 percent."

Monta Ellis led Milwaukee with 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points with nine rebounds.

"It was frustrating, but we had to fight through it," Ilyasova said. "We missed a lot of free throws and wide-open shots, but it's not really an excuse for us. When you're on the floor you have to make good shots. The thing is, we kind of got sleepish defensively. We gave up a lot of transitions and we turned the ball over a lot."

After starting 8-3 under Boylan, who replaced Scott Skiles as coach in early January, the Bucks have lost five of their last six and four straight -- matching a season high.

"Our defense was terrible," Boylan said. "Our inability to make open shots gave them a comfort and they took advantage of it. We've got to be better."

Washington started slowly, falling behind by 10 late in the first quarter but closed the quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 32-29.

Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined to make just 6 of 21 shots from the field in the first half for Milwaukee, which trailed 55-47 at the break. Mike Dunleavy came off the bench and scored 11 in the third quarter to get the Bucks within three at 84-81 heading into the fourth.

Three points would be as close as Milwaukee could get. The Wizards went up 90-78 on two free throws by Beal with 6:35 remaining. Jennings hit a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:38 left to pull Milwaukee to 96-90, but the Wizards answered with a Nene jumper, and Samuel Dalembert turned it over on the Bucks' next possession.

Wall hit two free throws with 1:45 to play and, once again, the Wizards were up by 10.

NOTES: Milwaukee's Larry Sanders missed his third consecutive game with a bruised back and will get a second opinion on the injury, suffered last week in Denver. Boylan has not completely ruled out Sanders, the team leader with 8.5 rebounds and a league-best 3.2 blocks per game, for Milwaukee's first-half finale Wednesday against Philadelphia. "It's been kind of day-to-day thing, so we'll see where we stand tomorrow and Wednesday," Boylan said. ... Washington is 10-7 since Wall returned to the lineup on Jan. 12 ... Dalembert had a double-double in his three previous games, averaging 19.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. He had six points and seven boards on Monday night. ... The Wizards have held their last nine opponents below 100 points.
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