The Milwaukee Bucks seem to be developing an early habit of letting big leads slip away, but they've at least won one of their first two games.
That's more than the Washington Wizards can say.
After two very different but equally painful defeats, the Wizards try to avoid their third 0-3 start in five seasons Friday night when they visit Milwaukee.
Washington led by as many as 21 points in Monday's season opener against New Jersey before falling 90-84, while Wednesday's 101-83 loss at Atlanta didn't come with any late disappointment. The Hawks opened on a 19-4 run and never looked back.
"We're searching," coach Flip Saunders said. "Our main group is not performing well together at this time. We did some positive things but you can't get off to this kind of a start."
Perhaps the biggest culprit in that starting five is Andray Blatche. After saying he wasn't being used to the best of his abilities following a 5-for-13 shooting performance in the opener - and then taking to Twitter to defend himself - Blatche went 2 of 13 and finished with four points against Atlanta.
With Jordan Crawford and Rashard Lewis also struggling early, there could be some changes coming Friday. To point guard John Wall, the answer is clear - even if finding it may not be easy.
"We've just got to find some chemistry," said Wall, who has 11 assists and 10 turnovers thus far. "We do it in practice but practice doesn't count."
The Bucks (1-1) are glad the preseason didn't count after a pair of losses to Minnesota, and they certainly would have liked to have back their first game that did. Up by as many as 14 points in the second half, Milwaukee fell apart down the stretch in a 96-95 loss at Charlotte on Monday.
The Bucks nearly let a 20-point lead disappear Tuesday - allowing the Timberwolves to get within two late - but held on for a 98-95 victory.
Brandon Jennings led the way with 24 points, but it was a rookie who saved the day. Jon Leuer, who played one minute and didn't score in the opener, had a three-point play with 1:17 left that turned out to be the difference.
Leuer had 14 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 20 minutes.
"Jon was great," coach Scott Skiles said. "I probably should have played him more (Tuesday). He's earned his minutes out there."
While Leuer is earning more minutes in Skiles' lineup, defensive-minded rookie Chris Singleton is averaging 24.0 minutes in Saunders' rotation and figures to see plenty of time guarding Stephen Jackson on Friday.
Jackson has averaged 20.6 points in his last 11 games - nine wins - versus the Wizards, who he'll meet for the first time in a Bucks uniform.
Washington, meanwhile, will want to make sure Nick Young gets his fair share of shots. One of the team's few bright spots after averaging 18.5 points in the first two games off the bench, Young averaged 19.0 in three games against Milwaukee last season.
The Bucks, however, won two of those and have taken eight of 11 from the Wizards overall.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Washington Wizards
- Andray Blatche