"We've got to get to the bottom of why we start games so sluggish," Skiles said.
Eventually, Milwaukee got going, led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter and 56-47 at halftime, paced by Ilyasova with 11 points, and Ellis and Mike Dunleavy with 10 apiece.
The Wizards used a 14-2 stretch to lead 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.
"We were on 72, it felt like, for eternity," Washington coach Randy Wittman said, then lamented that only his starters or his reserves — but not both sets of players — play well each game.
"We need everybody," Wittman said. "We're not good enough right now to afford off-nights by a group and survive it."
Notes: Washington's Trevor Ariza (15) and Emeka Okafor (11) combined for 26 points, matching their output from the team's first three games. ... The Wizards started last season 0-8 and eventually fired coach Flip Saunders when they were an NBA-worst 2-15. ... Bucks F Drew Gooden was inactive. ... Milwaukee began a stretch of three games in four days. It hosts Boston on Saturday night, then heads to Philadelphia on Monday.
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