Bucks let game slip away, extend losing streak to 10
NOV 27, 2013 10:48p ET
Turnovers and a dry spell late in regulation led to an overtime period in which Milwaukee seemed to run out of gas, as the Bucks fell, 100-92, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
It was Milwaukee's 10th straight loss, the sixth losing streak of 10 or more games in franchise history and the longest since the Bucks dropped a team-record 15 straight in the 1995-96 season.
"Same book, same story," Bucks guard O.J. Mayo said. "We just have to get better, always keep fighting. I think we took some positive steps in the right direction. We are playing hard and scrappy. We just have to work on closing out the games."
Challenged by coach Larry Drew to find an identity after two straight blowout losses, the Bucks responded with a much higher level of energy and effort.
But just coming close isn't good enough for a team in desperate need of a win. Leading 84-81 with 4:11 left, the Bucks failed to capitalize and grow their lead despite the Wizards missing seven straight shots.
Milwaukee missed six consecutive shots and then committed a turnover leading to a Martell Webster corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 84-84 with 57 seconds left.
Brandon Knight then threw the ball away and Trevor Ariza had an easy layup on the other end to put Washington up 86-84 with 39 seconds to play. Trapped on the ensuing possession, Knight just threw up a prayer of a shot that missed. Zaza Pachulia grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it to Khris Middleton, who barely drew iron on a corner 3-point attempt.
After Ariza missed a free throw to keep it a one-possession game, Mayo hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game with 6.9 seconds left.
"It really shouldn't have gotten in overtime to be perfectly honest," Drew said. "I thought going down the stretch in regulation we just made some bad plays, and in close games you've got to make plays down the stretch. We didn't do it."
For the second time in four games, Milwaukee had nothing left in the tank in overtime. Playing without Knight, who aggravated his right hamstring strain late in the fourth quarter, the Bucks hit just two-of-eight shots in the extra session and were outscored 13-5.
"We tried to get an open shot and make those," Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova said. "Guys were maybe getting fatigued and that's why we didn't execute plays as well, why there were turnovers and sloppy plays.
"It was the small things. We take care of those and we have a chance to turn the thing around."
Knight finished with five turnovers and made just two-of-12 shots. Seemingly not in a rhythm due to the amount of time he's missed, Knight has struggled with turnovers and poor shooting in the games he's played in.
Milwaukee committed 24 turnovers leading to 29 points for Washington. Many came on careless passes and bad decisions, as the Wizards jumped passing lanes time and time again.
"That's a huge, huge stat," Drew said. "We turned the basketball over way, way too much and in crucial, critical times."
Though a loss is a loss no matter how it comes, the Bucks took Wednesday's loss as a step in the right direction. A 30-minute team meeting before practice Tuesday discussed finding a scrappy mentality and Milwaukee was much better at that than in its previous two losses.
"Obviously we aren't in a good spot," Ilyasova said. "We find ourselves in a hole right now, but we have to find a way to dig ourselves out of it. We still have a good chance (to do that) right now because we have many games in front of us.
"As soon as possible we have to figure out a way to get out of that hole and find a way to win games. It's going to get tougher and tougher."
In the locker room after the game, Mayo flashed back to his rookie season of 2008-09 when Memphis lost 12 in a row in January. While the Grizzlies finished 24-58, they rebounded the following season and jumped to 40-42.
"We were the youngest team in the league at the time, so we were still tying to find our way," Mayo said. "But it happened. It will be alright."
Right now, he's not panicking.
"We have guys finally getting healthy, we'll get better," Mayo said. "We only had our second practice the other day with our full team. We'll be alright."
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