Wizards-Bucks Preview

The Associated Press

The Washington Wizards continue to inch closer to .500 behind spectacular play from John Wall.

Wednesday night's road tilt against the struggling Milwaukee Bucks - looking to avoid their longest losing streak in more than 17 years - could provide another showcase for Wall and the Wizards.

The fourth-year point guard was slumping not long ago, averaging 12.8 points on just 29.0 percent shooting during a 1-4 slide from Nov. 8-16. He still struggled to find his shooting touch in the next two games,but played the role of distributor with a combined 26 assists in wins over Minnesota and Cleveland.

Wall has since recorded a career-first three consecutive 30-plus point games, helping the Wizards (6-8) win four of their last five.

He scored 31 on 10-of-18 shooting for the second straight contest in Tuesday's 116-111 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, including 13 points in the final 4:40. Nene also scored a career-high 30, helping compensate for the absence of Bradley Beal due to a stress injury in his right foot.

"I thought John down the stretch made some really good decisions," coach Randy Wittman. "Not only the shots he made, but the passes he made ... That was big."

Prior to last season, Wall had struggled versus Milwaukee, averaging 12.6 points on 31.8 percent shooting in his first seven matchups. He averaged 18.5 points and 10.0 assists while hitting 60.0 percent of his shots as the Wizards took both meetings in 2012-13.

The Eastern Conference-worst Bucks (2-11) are stuck in their first nine-game losing streak since March 7-22, 1998. Another loss would mark their longest skid since they lost 15 in a row from March 4-30, 1996.

The end may not be in sight, however, with the last two defeats coming by a combined 43 points.

Turnovers continue to plague Milwaukee during its slide, with club averaging 17.9 over the last nine games. Opponents have averaged 20.3 points off those mistakes.

Twenty turnovers led to 26 points for Detroit in a 113-94 road loss to the Pistons on Monday.

Former Buck Brandon Jennings made four straight 3-pointers during a 21-0 run toward the end of the first quarter, which ended with Detroit holding a 38-18 advantage.

Brandon Knight, who was acquired in exchange for Jennings in the offseason, scored only eight on 2-of-7 shooting and had four assists with six turnovers.

"It wasn't a good experience just because my team struggled," said Knight, who scored a career-high 32 against Washington on Feb. 27 with Detroit. "I want my team to do well, so I'm just trying to focus on that and getting to playing the way I need to play."

Wall could look to exploit the turnover-prone Bucks, entering the game among the league's leaders with 2.1 steals per game.

Bucks leading scorer O.J. Mayo is averaging just 6.8 points over his last four contests while hitting 29.0 percent of his shots. He was scoring 18.4 per game on 43.8 percent shooting through his first nine.

The Bucks have won 20 of the last 26 meetings in Milwaukee.

What to Read Next