- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2008

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks are about as bad as the NBA has to offer.

Facing the Bucks without leading scorer Michael Redd (bruised thigh), the Washington Wizards (16-15) cruised to their easiest victory of the season, blasting Milwaukee 101-77 before 16,250 often-booing fans.

The win was the Wizards’ largest road victory since they beat the Atlanta Hawks by 29 on March 16, 2005.

The win also was the Wizards’ third in last five games, and it was quite a contrast to their game on Wednesday, when Detroit beat them at Verizon Center, and the Wizards were never really in the game.

This time, though, it was the Bucks’ turn to play whipping boy, and they obliged for the full 48 minutes.

The Bucks didn’t break 50 until the early in the fourth quarter, this after trailing by 30 points or more for the better part of the third quarter.

The Wizards held the Bucks to just 31 points in the first half, the lowest total by an opponent they in the first half this season.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said his team, which held the Bucks (12-20) to just 38.5 percent from the field, established the tone of the game in the first quarter.

After committing eight turnovers in the first quarter and scoring just 10 points, the Bucks ended the first quarter down 23-10 and were serenaded by bratwurst-eating boobirds.

Brendan Haywood, who finished with nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks, had two of his blocks in the first quarter.

“They were bringing a lot of shots inside and I was there, so I figured I might as well try to block them,” Haywood said. “We went on a couple of good runs that put them in bad situations, and unlike in some previous games we didn’t let our foot off the throttle.

“We were true professionals today. Some games where we’ve gotten a big lead, we haven’t finished teams off.”

Up 52-31 at halftime, the Wizards put the game away with a 14-2 run at the start of the third quarter for a 66-33 lead halfway through the third.

“We started the first quarter out with a lot of steal and deflections, and Brendan was awesome at the rim,” Jordan said. “When you protect you paints and you defend your rim good, things happen.”

The early blowout allowed Jordan to rest his starters in the fourth quarter and give extended playing time to Darius Songaila, Roger Mason and Andray Blatche.

Antawn Jamison scored all of his game-high 24 points in the first three quarters and spent most of the fourth enjoying the rout from the bench.

Antonio Daniels finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.

However, although Jordan said Daniels was OK after the game, Daniels appeared to have tweaked his knee, the same one that recently forced him out of seven games.

“I’m OK,” said Daniels, moving gingerly in the locker room.

Caron Butler finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

All 10 Wizards players who played scored, and eight players finished with at least eight points.

The Wizards held an opponent to fewer than 78 points for the second time in three games. Before losing to the Pistons, the Wizards blasted Miami 96-74.

Wizards report

Last night at Bradley Center in Milwaukee

SEEN AND HEARD

Gilbert Arenas said on his blog that he won’t return in mid-February, which was the schedule the team set when he had knee surgery Nov. 17.

“I know February was the date that I told, but now I’m thinking March 15 is the day,” Arenas wrote. “I don’t want to come back and be limpy.”

KEY TO THE GAME

The Wizards held the Bucks to 10 points in the first quarter, and the game was no contest the rest of the way.