The Wizards have made a habit of acing tests lately, of stacking up favorably against some of the best teams in the NBA. But so far throughout this six-game surge, they haven't seen a team quite like the one they will meet on Friday night at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
Coming to town are the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the best winning percentage of any team in the league. They are 29-11, just ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference and showing no signs of slowing down as the NBA begins the second half of the 2018-19 season.
Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is putting together a legitimate MVP résumé, the Bucks rank first in points per game (117.5), fourth in offensive rating and second in defensive rating. Antetokounmpo has been an All-Star for years who seemed destined for greatness. Now he has pieces around him and everything has clicked.
Khris Middleton has helped buoy the Bucks with 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Former UVA star Malcolm Brogdon has taken yet another step with 15.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 42.9 percent.
The Wizards are feeling good about themselves, as well. They have won four of six and have knocked off two of the NBA's most talented teams.
They won at Oklahoma City on Sunday and then at home against the Sixers on Wednesday. If they can compete against those teams, they should have at least a puncher's chance against Milwaukee in what will be the first meeting between them this season.
Through these six games, all since the team learned John Wall was lost for the year due to left heel surgery, many have contributed. Bradley Beal has led the way with 27.2 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting, including 37 percent from three. Otto Porter Jr. has been their No. 2 scorer, putting up 15.4 points while shooting 42.9 percent and coming off the bench.
Really, though, it has been a collective effort. Six Wizards players have averaged double-figures in the past six games, a list that also includes Jeff Green, Trevor Ariza, Thomas Bryant and Tomas Satoransky, Wall's replacement in the starting lineup.
As good as the Wizards have played lately, it's tough to compare against the run the Bucks have been on. They have won five of their last six and 10 of 12. They haven't lost two straight games all season.
Milwaukee is also coming off a huge victory against the Rockets. They went into Houston and pulled off one of their best wins of the season.
They are two of the hottest teams in the NBA and something will have to give.
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