Rookie has season-high 22 points, ejected for flagrant foul
Bucks 101, Wizards 91
The Wizards finally got their starters to show up on time on Friday, led by the best game so far of Bradley Beal's very young NBA career.
But they failed to finish, and Beal himself didn't even finish the game on the court, ejected for a flagrant foul at the end of a 101-91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks before 14,531 at Verizon Center.
Tracking Monta Ellis on the fast break in the final half minute, Beal delivered a hard foul on the Bucks guard, who was sandwiched between the Wizards rookie and Trevor Booker and went sprawling over the baseline.
Beal went immediately to try and help up Ellis, only to be shoved into the row of baseline photographers by Brandon Jennings, who postured as if he was ready to escalate the incident.
After reviewing the play, officials threw out Jennings with a technical foul and gave Beal a Flagrant Foul 2, resulting in an immediate ejection which sent him to the locker room with 23.7 seconds remaining.
"It was just a foul," Beal said. "I went for the ball, but they called a flagrant two. It is what it is. I guess he called his self to defend his teammate, I guess, and came up and pushed me. But it's just all a part of basketball. It's physical, but I just have to deal with it."
The incident detracted from the season-high 22 points Beal scored on 7-for-14 shooting from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 stretch at the line thanks to his persistent attacking at the rim. He opened the game with crisp 20-foot jumper as the Wizards (0-4) scored the game's first 12 points and looked determined to get their first victory.
A.J. Price (12 points, nine assists) fed Trevor Booker (11 points) for reverse layup on the break, followed by Booker hitting Trevor Ariza (15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals) for a dunk on another run out.
But as quickly Washington hit its first six shots to build an advantage over the game's first three minutes, the Bucks (3-1), coming off their first loss, used the next four to come right back and go right past. Milwaukee tied the game at 14 and finished off a 21-4 run with transition 3-pointer from Monta Ellis (22 points, five assists) and driving layup from Brandon Jennings (12 points, seven assists).
The visitors stretched their lead into double digits after Emeka Okafor's layup was blocked by Larry Sanders and Jennings knocked down a short shot after stealing Booker's pass, making the score 50-39.
"We lost our principles in the first half that we've really been playing with," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Ariza fed Booker for a finger roll alley oop and Booker turned a saved ball into an assist on a 3-pointer for Ariza during 13-2 run in the third quarter that tied the game at 62.
But in a turnabout the Wizards got no assistance from the bench. Kevin Seraphin (two points) ended an 18-game streak scoring in double figures, and Martell Webster (zero points) was nonexistent. Jordan Crawford (eight points) hit two out of three attempts from the arc, but Beal, Price and Jannero Pargo were a combined 1-for-13.
"We're going to get both these groups playing well together, and we haven't done that yet," Wittman said. "We've had sometimes the second unit being really good and the first unit not. Tonight, it was the first unit, and our bench wasn't what it's used to being. We've got to get those two things together. When we do, good things will happen."
The Bucks, ahead 75-72 after three periods, pulled away by scoring the first 10 points of the final quarter. Wittman said Beal has even more opportunities to be aggressive, and he was okay with the play that led to the flagrant foul.
"We don't want to hurt anybody," Wittman said. "But you want to play it out."
Beal, meanwhile, was concerned that he might be suspended an additional game for his flagrant foul when asked about the chance to play on back-to-back nights for the first time when the Wizards visit Indiana on Saturday.
"If I play tomorrow," he said.