MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks coach Jim Boylan could sum up his team's latest loss in a just a few words.
"Our defense was terrible," Boylan said.
The Bucks continued to slip and slide in a 102-90 defeat to the Washington Wizards, losing for the fourth consecutive time and the sixth time in their last seven games.
Rookie Bradley Beal came off the Wizards bench to score a career-high 28 points, and Nene contributed 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as Washington won its fourth in a row.
"We're in a losing streak right now, but somehow we have to find a way," Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova said. "We just have to play much better defensively."
The Bucks (25-25) allowed 56.8 percent shooting by the Wizards, the top percentage an opponent has shot against Milwaukee this season.
"It happens in the NBA, you hit a rough patch," Boylan said. "So here we are. We've got to dig ourselves out of it.
"I told my guys after the game, 'There's not anybody in the entire NBA who is feeling sorry for us right now.' So we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to fight and dig in and try to make something happen."
The Bucks had hoped to take some momentum into the all-star break this weekend with a three-game home stand. But now they already have lost the first two games to Detroit and Washington, leaving a vital game against Philadelphia on Wednesday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The 76ers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and still trail the Bucks by three games for the eighth playoff position.
"We have to win the game, especially before the all-star break to be more motivated for the second half of the season," llyasova said.
The Bucks clearly are missing the defensive presence of center Larry Sanders, who missed his third straight game after injuring his back in Denver last week.
Samuel Dalembert started at center but instantly was in foul trouble. He had a difficult time defending Nene, the Brazilian center who hit 10 of 13 shots while playing 37 minutes.
Ekpe Udoh also took a turn on Nene with Dalembert limited to 17 minutes due to his foul woes. Dalembert fouled out with 1 minute 45 seconds left and the Bucks trailing, 98-90.
"He (Dalembert) had a couple of reach-in fouls," Boylan said. "You've got to try to avoid those ticky-tack fouls because when you really need to foul, you've got to have them.
"When we were making our move, I thought Ekpe and Sam did a decent job down there in the post. Our guys were active from the top trying to get down there. But they spaced the floor very well."
The Bucks defense kept losing Beal, the former Florida player, and he sank 10 of 17 shots and 4 of 5 from three-point range. He was playing in his second game after missing five games with a right wrist injury.
Bucks guard Monta Ellis bounced back from a sub-par night against Detroit as he finished with 24 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals.
"It just felt different, more alive," Ellis said. "And I just took better shots."
But his backcourt mate, Brandon Jennings, struggled to a 3-for-17 shooting night and scored seven points.
Jennings has shot just 25 percent in the last two games (11 for 44).
Ilyasova had 19 points and nine rebounds and Mike Dunleavy added 11 points.
The Wizards (15-35) beat an Eastern Conference opponent on the road for the first time after losing in their first 14 attempts.
They now have posted four consecutive victories against teams currently in playoff position: the Clippers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Bucks.
The Bucks took a 32-29 lead after one quarter but were outscored, 26-15, in the second quarter to trail by eight at halftime.
And they never led in the second half. A quick 6-0 spurt early in the final quarter pulled Milwaukee within 81-78 but Washington responded with a 9-0 run of its own to gain control, with Nene scoring the first five points.
"They ran a couple plays where they got guys open and they ran them two or three times," Boylan said. "When you can't figure out what's going on out there on the floor and make adjustments during the course of the game, that's a bit of a lack of focus.
"You need to get beat one time and not let yourself get beat a second or a third time."
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