WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)–Even a 12-point head start against the Milwaukee Bucks was not nearly enough for the winless Washington Wizards.
Monta Ellis scored 22 points, and the Bucks quickly erased an early deficit before pulling away with a 13-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to beat the Wizards 101-91 Friday night, when Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings and Washington’s Bradley Beal were ejected in the final minute.
Washington fell to 0-4 despite 22 points from Beal, the No. 3 overall pick in June’s NBA draft, and a combined 26 from veterans Trevor Ariza (15) and Emeka Okafor (11), matching their output from the team’s first three games.
With the outcome no longer in doubt, Beal was called for a flagrant foul when he knocked Ellis to the court on a breakaway. As Beal leaned over to offer Ellis a hand to help him up, Jennings ran up and shoved Beal down.
The Bucks improved to 3-1. They were coming off their first loss, against Memphis on Wednesday.
At the outset Friday, Milwaukee was as bad as can be, and Washington broke out to a 12-0 lead, thanks in part to an efficient fast break that produced eight points. The Bucks, meanwhile, missed their first five shots and began the game 1 for 8, the only basket a 3-pointer by Tobias Harris.
But an 11-point run by the Bucks, capped by Ersan Ilyasova’s 3, tied it at 14.
Milwaukee led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter and by halftime was up 56-47, paced by Ilyasova’s 11 points and 10 apiece from Ellis and Mike Dunleavy.
The Wizards made things interesting with a 14-2 stretch that put them ahead 63-62 midway through the third quarter. The game was tied entering the final 10 seconds of that period, but Ekpe Udoh’s three-point play gave Milwaukee a 75-72 edge entering the fourth.
That began a segment in which Udoh and Beno Udrih scored 11 consecutive points, before Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders hit a hook shot for an 85-72 lead. Sanders and Dunleavy each finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
At the start of the day, the Wizards were one of only two teams in the 30-franchise NBA without a victory. The other? The Detroit Pistons, who were 0-5 heading into their game at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Washington is beginning the season without its top two players, point guard John Wall — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft — and center Nene. Wall is expected to be sidelined until next month with a knee injury, while Nene has a foot problem and there is no definitive timetable for his return.
The Wizards started last season 0-8 and eventually fired coach Flip Saunders when they were an NBA-worst 2-15.
Washington finished 20-46 — only the Charlotte Bobcats compiled fewer victories — and worked to reshape the roster in the offseason, adding Beal via the draft and jettisoning Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche, having already traded away JaVale McGee and Nick Young.
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Listen here to what Randy Wittman, Bradley Beal & AJ Price had to say following the loss.
Randy Wittman Postgame Audio
Bradley Beal Postgame Audio
AJ Price Postgame Audio