Bucks hold off Bradley Beal’s 42 points to win a close game against the Wizards

Bucks hold off Bradley Beal’s 42 points to win a close game against the Wizards

179 down, three to go.

Washington was right there, but the Bucks managed to outlast fantastic performances from Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal to win the game 135-134. The Wizards fall to 30-36 on the season with six games to go.

Russell Westbrook recorded his 33rd triple-double of the year and 179th of his career against the team Oscar Robertson, the man whose record he’s chasing, played with for the final four years of his career.

Westbrook now needs three trip-dubs in six games to set the new all-time record and it’d be surprising if it took him all six games to get it done. The earliest he can break the record is Monday in Atlanta.

While dealing with a few different injuries over the past month or so, Bradley Beal hasn’t looked quite as dominant on the offensive end as he did earlier in the season. He’s still been great, averaging nearly 30 points over his last five games. It just speaks to how ridiculous he was at the start of the year.

But in this game, he clearly had everything working. Beal was attacking the rim, working in the mid-range efficiently and got to the line a good amount as well. He finished with 42 points on 14-of-24 shooting and was pacing the Wizards’ offense throughout the game.

With Westbrook playing at such a high level, if the Wizards can get peak Beal and Russ on the same page come play-in time, it’s going to be really hard to pick against Washington no matter who they play in those survive-and-advance scenarios.

The Wizards have made a nice habit out of getting to the line a ton when their offense needs it the most. In a game against an elite defense and without Hachimura, Washington drew a ton of fouls to keep putting points on the board.

They took a ridiculous 43 attempts at the free-throw line and as a result, key players like Brook Lopez, Donte Divincenzo and Antetokounmpo were in foul trouble all night. Sometimes, a team’s best form of offense is aggressively driving to the basket and putting pressure on the officials to make a call on a physical play. The Wizards have done that a lot during their hot streak and they’d be wise to continue doing so against elite teams.

Khris Middleton was out Wednesday night and Giannis Antetokounmpo started slow, so the Bucks desperately needed some more scoring punch to keep up with the Wizards and Holiday provided just that. The veteran combo guard went for 29 points, six assists, five rebounds and provided his usual defensive pressure on Beal. The Bucks traded for Holiday to upgrade their backcourt and raise their ceiling as title contenders. His two-way prowess and shot-making on the perimeter are just what you want in a postseason setting and in a game with plenty of playoff feel, Holiday was exactly what the Bucks needed.

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