Wizards lose to Bucks, fall to 0-4

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With less than a minute left in the game, Wizards rookie Bradley Beal raced up the court to stop a breakaway by Milwaukee guard Monta Ellis. Beal successfully blocked Ellis‘ shot, but Ellis went down, tumbling into the stands.

Beal reached out to help Ellis up, but Bucks guard Brandon Jennings didn’t see it, came up behind Beal and shoved him. Jennings was ejected from the game, but Beal was not, although both were charged with flagrant two fouls.

It was exactly the kind of aggressiveness the Beal hopes to play the game with, although he hopes to avoid picking up flagrant fouls in the process. In the best game of Beal’s young career so far, he led the Wizards with 22 points on 7 of 14 from the floor, went 8 for 8 from the line and added four rebounds, two steals and two assists.

It just wasn’t enough to get the Wizards in the win column, as they lost 101-91 to the Bucks on Friday at Verizon Center, dropping to 0-4 on the season. The Wizards are one of only two teams, along with the Detroit Pistons, who have yet to win a game this season.

After the game, Beal downplayed the incident.

“It was just a foul,” Beal said. “I went for the ball, I got a flagrant two. I guess he [Jennings] called himself defending his teammate, and he came up and pushed me. It’s all a part of basketball.”

It’s also part of Beal’s learning curve, something which John Wall is helping him with. Although the two would prefer to be playing together on the court, Wall is still managing to teach his future backcourt mate a few things.

“One of the things John always told me is that there’s plenty of times when I can attack the basket,” Beal said. “His perspective from the bench really helps me out. There are a lot of things he sees that I don’t see.”

Beal, along with the rest of the starting lineup, finally put together the kind of start that coach Randy Wittman was hoping for. The Wizards started the game on a 12-0 run, and all five starters finished the game in double figures. Center Emeka Okafor (11) and forward Trevor Ariza (15) had their best outings of the year so far.

But where the team faltered was with the play of the bench. Not one reserve was able to score in double figures.

The second unit was led by Jordan Crawford (8), who is playing on a sprained left ankle, and Kevin Seraphin finally had an off night, with just two points on 1 of 5 from the floor.

“We’re going to get both these groups playing well together, and we haven’t done that yet,” Wittman said. “We started better, but we just have too long of periods of time without scoring.”

Another area where the Wizards faltered was on the defensive end, a trend Wittman hopes will not continue.

“We lost our principles in the first half that we’ve really been playing with,” Wittman said. “We got off to a better start [offensively], but our defensive presence wasn’t there for whatever reason.”

Ellis led the way for Milwaukee with 22 points, Mike Dunleavy and Larry Sanders each scored 13, and Jennings had 12.

“We haven’t been able to put a total team effort together,” said A.J. Price (12 points, nine assists). “That’s been our problem so far. We’ll rectify it, we’ll get it together.”

The Wizards will have a quick turnaround in trying to accomplish that task — they play the Pacers in Indiana on Saturday in their first back-to-back of the season.

“The most frustrating part is that we’re in games,” Price said. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out by 15, 20 points every night. Every game we’re giving teams a tough challenge. We’re just coming up a little bit short.”

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