Category Archives: Wizards

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Bradley Beal leads by example on defense as Wizards beat 76ers

Category : NBA , Wizards

Wizards 123
76ers 106
January 9, 2019 | Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
A lot can change in just 24 hours time. The Washington Wizards had just lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in pretty embarrassing fashion by 17 points on Tuesday night, but they perfectly flipped the script when returning home on Wednesday by earning a 17-point win. In a game where Washington led by as many as 26 points, they earned another impressive win over a top team in the NBA, their second in three games. The 2017-18 Wizards seem to have resurfaced this season with their ability to come up with a surprising win. “You can say we have,” Scott Brooks commented when asked if the team is finally playing their best basketball. For Trevor Ariza, it was all about being more aggressive.
Without the services of John Wall, Washington’s success or lack thereof will start and end with how Bradley Beal plays. In the midst of his second straight All-Star season, the guard put together an efficient offensive clinic to the tune of 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting including 6-of-11 from deep. He did have a handful of bad turnovers where he had the right intention of getting his teammates involved, but when he is scoring the way he did, including 14 in the final quarter to put things away, you cannot complain. Entering the second half of the season, Beal was shooting just 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, far below his career average and expectations, but a former coach and now front office member Ed Tapscott once told him, “either you’re hot or you’re due.”
Otto Porter Jr. continues to come off of the bench but seems to be close to returning to the starting lineup as he has all but shed any minutes restriction. In 33 minutes of action, the forward scored 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, which he struggles to get to. Porter admits that he still is not all the way back to where he wants his legs under him, but is getting there.
It was a popular question from a reporter or two to ask the players if Porter seemed more comfortable coming off the bench because he is finally able to take enough shots to satisfy his coach, which he had struggled to before. I would disagree, it is simply that the player that typically has the ball in his hand the most is not out there anymore and that creates more opportunities for everyone else. That is not to say that Wall is the issue, but that is one less mouth to feed. I doubt that Porter enjoys coming off the bench since he shared it prevents you from having a rhythm to start the game, but staggering his minutes so that he plays more with the second unit once returning to the starting lineup would be wise.
Even though the Wizards got 57 points from their two best healthy players, they won the game with their defensive effort. Sure, Joel Embiid got his to the tune of 35 points thanks to 14 free throw attempts to complement his usual work in the paint, but the home team did a decent job in limiting his teammates. Jimmy Butler had 23, but on 18 shot attempts, while Ben Simmons had 15 on 15 shot attempts. It also helps when they do not let Landry Shamet go off for a career-high 29 points and eight three-pointers as Washington held the rookie to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting on Wednesday. The Wizards forced 24 turnovers and the 76ers were shooting below 40 percent for much of the game unit same late garbage time buckets. 9 times out of 10 whether Washington wins a particular game or not will come down to how well they did or did not play defensively and everyone around the team knows it.
“It’s just extra effort,” Beal explained about the improved defense. “I think it’s kind of that mentality of ‘don’t let it be you.’ Don’t be that guy that’s relaxing on defense, don’t be that guy that’s getting beat on the backside or anything like that. That’s kind of the motto and the mental approach we’ve been having. It’s a good one to have. It keeps everybody in check and holds us accountable. We preach defense first, which is even better.”
The play that probably best highlighted the stellar defensive effort from Washington on Wednesday night was Beal stepping in front of Joel Embiid in the paint to take a charge on the listed 260 pounder. The collision between Drew Hanlen and Pure Sweat buddies had Beal saying a prayer or two before, during, and after drawing the offensive foul. No one on the team is naïve and they all (well maybe not Tomas Satoransky) took notice that their best player put his body on the line to make a defensive play.
The brutal schedule continues on Friday when Washington hosts Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. We will have to wait and see what version of the Wizards show up for that matchup.


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Wizards get reality check of their standing in the Eastern Conference against 76ers

Category : NBA , Wizards

76ers 132
Wizards 115
January 8, 2019 | Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
Entering action on Tuesday night, the Washington Wizards were just two games back in the loss column of the No. 8 seed Brooklyn Nets. Honestly, the larger the margin is before the February 7 trade deadline for them to become sellers, the better for the future of the organization, in my opinion. In a matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, one of five true contenders in the East, the Wizards got a wake-up call of how much of a gap there is between their current state and actually making any noise should they reach the postseason.
Frequent turnovers
After winning three of their last four games, it became a popular take to say the Wizards are better without John Wall. I would argue they might not even be better without an injury John Wall (but it is certainly a coin flip when he is not healthy). One of the glaring pitfalls for Washington without their All-Star point guard is their inability to protect the basketball. In the first half alone, the Wizards had 13 turnovers, including multiple careless ones from Bradley Beal, that directly led to 18 points for the 76ers. Washington would clean things up a bit in the second half, but still finished with 17 miscues for 22 Philadelphia points.
 
One big three shows out
Wall, Beal, and Porter were supposed to take Washington to the promise land (or at least the Eastern Conference Finals). That was the goal after giving Porter a max contract two summers ago. Now one just underwent (successful) heel surgery, his second surgery in as many seasons and third in the Scott Brooks era, and Porter still does not seem worthy of $26 million a year. Beal did his thing with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting, but got little help from the rest of his teammates. On the other side, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid combined for 57 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, and five steals without even playing the fourth quarter (besides 15 seconds for Embiid).
 
Polar opposite rookie production
The Wizards have not given Troy Brown Jr. much of a chance to show what he can do in the NBA despite taking him with the No. 15 pick in the 2018 draft. That is partially on him for not showing the coaching staff what they need to see in practice and probably more on the coaching staff for not giving him more chances since he has looked decent in limited playing time. With Scott Brooks playing a full five-man bench lineup and then plenty of garbage time in the fourth quarter, Brown saw 18 minutes of actions but missed all four of his shots from the field. He finished with two points, three, rebounds, and two assists. On the flip side, 76ers rookie Landry Shamet, drafted with the No. 26 overall pick, had a career-high 29 points and eight three-pointers. For his career, Brown has 44 points and three three-pointers.
Next Game: Washington will travel back to D.C. to complete the home-and-home series with the 76ers on Wednesday night.


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Tired Wizards run out of gas and firepower against Pacers

Category : NBA , Wizards

Pacers 105
Wizards 89
December 23, 2018 | Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Indianapolis, IN
Less than 18 hours after a three-hour triple-overtime thriller between the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns, the former tipped off a new game against the Indiana Pacers. Going up against one of the Eastern Conference contenders would prove to be a difficult task for the road team that has struggled away from D.C. with that trend continuing Sunday night. The Wizards are now a miserable 4-15 on the road this season, the sixth worst record in the NBA.
 
Turnovers galore
Against the Suns on Saturday night, the Wizards committed a season-high 22 turnovers that Phoenix turned into 30 points. Fast forward a day and Washington matches the season-worst with another 22 turnovers that Indiana converted into 25 points. The only difference is this one finished in regulation and did not have 15 minutes of play. John Wall had seven of the miscues in just 28 minutes of play. Washington got to the free throw line, which explains some of it, but the turnovers also make up for the 21 fewer field goal attempts they had compared to Indiana.
 
Offensive woes
On Saturday night, Washington’s starters logged extremely heavy minutes: Bradley Beal 54 (career-high), Trevor Ariza 54, Jeff Green 49, Tomas Satoransky 48 (career-high), and Thomas Bryant 36 (career-high). Wall returned to the starting lineup but was presumably still dealing with flu-like symptoms that cost him the Suns game. The Wizards shot just 36.8 percent (28-of-76) from the field including 25.7 percent from three (9-of-35). No one besides recently signed guard Chasson Randle shot better than 50 percent for Washington. After a 40-point triple double, Bradley Beal was just 2-of-11 from the field and seemed gassed with hands on his knees as early as the second quarter. John Wall was just 1-of-7 from the field. Markieff Morris was the team’s leading scorer with just 16 points. The Wizards have a decent excuse given the sluggish legs, but still had a season-low in point scored.
 
Rebounding concerns remain
As long as Dwight Howard is sidelined rehabbing from back surgery, the Wizards are going to be a poor rebounding team just because they do not have the team effort to consistently take care of the glass. Against Indiana, Washington was outrebounded 57-37 including 16-6 on the offensive glass. Myles Turner had a career-high 17 rebounds and was complimented by Domantas Sabonis’s 10 and Thaddeus Young’s 9. Washington did not have anyone with more than seven rebounds (Bryant). The rebounding numbers are slightly skewed by the poor shooting night, but it seems like they do not take care of business with this aspect of the game unless they harp on it in practice the day before (as was the case on Friday before the Suns game).
Next Game: After returning to enjoy Christmas with their families, the Wizards will travel to the Motor City to face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.


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Wizards outmatched by Kawhi Leonard and Raptors

Category : NBA , Updates , Wizards

Raptors 125
Wizards 107
November 23, 2018 | Scotiabank Arena | Toronto, ON
The first time the Washington Wizards faced the Toronto Raptors this season in Game 2, the defending regular season Eastern Conference champions took care of business. That was without the services of Kawhi Leonard who is back looking like an All-Pro talent.  With their struggles on defense still on display, Washington struggled against Toronto on the road, but managed to make it competitive for a bit.
 
Death by the three
Several times already, the Wizards have shot poorly from beyond the arc and also not defended it well on the other. That was not the case last season when Washington was one of the best three-point shooting teams and also best at defending the arc. The Wizards shot a franchise-high 46 from beyond the arc but made a mere nine for a measly 19.6 percent. John Wall was 1-of-7, Otto Porter was 1-of-6, Kelly Oubre was 0-of-6, and Jeff Green was 0-of-5 from deep. On the other end, Toronto was 17-of-39 from beyond the arc for 43.6 percent meaning they outscored Washington by 24 from deep. The home team had seven triples in the first quarter alone. For much of last season, I thought the Wizards were pretty lucky in their three-point defense where teams were just missing shots so maybe there is some law of averages going on.
 
Rotation potpourri
Thomas Bryant started again for the injured Dwight Howard, but only played 18 minutes of which eight came at the beginning of the game. Markieff Morris came off of the bench again, but pretty much-played starter’s minutes at 29. Kelly Oubre started, but only played 25 minutes, while Tomas Satoransky played 24 minutes for the second game in a row after Scott Brooks promised to get the Czech product more playing time. That is also cutting a bit into Austin Rivers’ playing time as he only played a third of the game at 16 minutes. Jeff Green played 23 minutes, all in the final 32 minutes of the game, while Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith both were DNP-CD. Troy Brown was sent down to the G League where he had 13 points and four assists in a start; he could be back with the Wizards on Saturday before heading back to the Go-Go on Sunday. If the struggles continue, Scott Brooks may have to make more changes to the rotation, but do not expect it to happen to the three max players not starting because he joked as much on Sunday when he first benched Morris.
 
Another bad start
After just 12 minutes of play, the road team was down 12 points after being up 16-14 midway through the quarter. OG Anunoby came in off the bench with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting including two from deep. Toronto was 7-of-13 from deep in the first frame, while Washington was just 1-of-9. As a silver lining, the Wizards assisted on each of their 11 made field goals, which is a bit surprising given their low assist rates so far this season. From a season-long standpoint, Washington has a 117.4 defensive rating in the first quarter, which is third worst in the NBA. Of course, they are also the second worst in the NBA across the entire game at 112.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.

Raptors have 7(!!) first quarter three-pointers. pic.twitter.com/y82xVokMYG
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 24, 2018

Next Game: The Wizards fly back to D.C. tonight and have a quick turnaround when they face the Pelicans on Saturday at 8 p.m. Both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back.


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Wizards show their potential in solid win over Heat

Category : NBA , Wizards

Wizards 116
Heat 110
November 10, 2018 | American Airline Arena | Miami, FL
The Washington Wizards were seemingly on the verge of a mid-season blow up after falling to 2-9 and worse to the likes of the Orlando Magic. Things were not pretty early in South Beach, but then the road team started to show their potential the last three-quarters of the game. After falling behind by 12 midway through the second quarter, Washington went up by as many as 17 towards the end of the game with an extended 83-54 run. In a little bit of revenge for an opening night loss, the Wizards were able to top the Heat for an impressive victory on the second night of a road back-to-back.
 
Winning Glass Battle
In the first matchup between these two Southeastern division teams, Miami had 22 offensive rebounds for 27 second-chance points. The Heat won the rebounding battle 55-40 in total. The Wizards had not outrebounded their opponents at all 11 games into the season. That changed in Game No. 12 as Washington won the battle of the boards 48-38. Obviously, a big difference in between the two games against the Heat was the availability of Dwight Howard, one of the best rebounders in NBA history. The future Hall of Famer had 16 rebounds, seven offensive boards, to lead Washington.
 
Bench Boost
With Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris both in foul trouble (and the latter simply not playing well), the Wizards received a welcome boost from their second unit, which has been a rarity in recent season. Austin Rivers had a season-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes in his best game since being traded to Washington. Rivers has not been able to consistently find his three-point shot this season, but he showed off his ability to get the rim all game in Miami. Jeff Green was on the court looking like Mike Scott from last season with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Green started the game 7-of-7 from the field and could be in line for more workloads like Saturday’s 34 minutes if Morris continues to struggle.
 
Three-Point Defense Key
Last season, the Wizards were the fourth best three-point defensive team in the NBA by holding their opponents to just 34.8 percent from deep. Entering the Heat game, they were the second worst in the league by allowing their opponents to shoot 39.3 percent from beyond the arc. Early on Saturday, Miami was teeing off; they started the game 8-of-15 from deep. Scott Brooks said his team was not fully closing out on the Heat, but the Wizards would get that addressed before halftime. The rest of the game, Miami only shot 4-of-18 from three-point land because of better defense from Washington as well as the home team cooling off. Transition defense and communication are also issues that the Wizards need to focus on, but three-point defense might just be the most important in my eyes.
Next Game: Washington returns home for a five-game homestand starting with the Orlando Magic who just embarrassed them on Friday night.


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Communication and translating effort from practice key to Wizards' improved defense

Category : NBA , Wizards

The Washington Wizards won a game that might have been considered a must-win even though it was November 4th by defeating the New York Knicks, 108-95. You can read the three takeaways here and check out the postgame coverage below. The postgame mood was the exact opposite of what occurred the previous five games, from negative to positive. Scott Brooks praised Dwight Howard. Markieff Morris stressed the importance of winning this game against a sub-.500 team. John Wall was pleased with the effort on both sides of the ball. Bradley Beal noted the play of the game and Dwight Howard couldn’t stop smiling.
 
Scott Brooks
On Dwight Howard:
“I like his enthusiasm. I like his smile. He’s a good-looking guy.”

Scott Brooks on Dwight Howard: "He did pretty good. I like his enthusiasm. I like his smile. He's a good looking guy and he uses it all the time. Some people thought that's sometimes a distraction. I like guys that smile, that play hard." pic.twitter.com/GmlYcGNWqc
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

This quote of the night was the Wizards’ head coach on Howard’s play and attitude. My first introduction to Dwight Howard came from the final preseason game. He was still recovering from a piriformis injury but in the locker room after the game while we were waiting for players to talk, he euro stepped and pretended to drive to the hoop as he dribbled an invisible basketball through a crowd of media.
Sunday night he even pretended he was a member of Wizards PR by giving John Wall an introduction before his postgame scrum. We’ll get to John Wall later but let’s talk about how Howard played on the court. The center, who was the biggest Wizards offseason acquisition, had a better scoring game in Friday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder when he scored 20 points, but on Sunday he contributed in other ways. For the first time this season, someone besides Otto Porter recorded double-digit boards as Howard led the team with 10 total. He only had three Friday night.
Scoring wise, Howard reached double figures for the second straight game, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Keep in mind this was only his second game and he is still getting his legs under him.
On John Wall:
“He took over with playmaking. He took care of the basketball. He sprinkled the offense all the way around. He had Dwight (Howard) a couple times, he had Brad (Beal), he had Austin (Rivers), he had Jeff (Green) for the lob. And he took a jump shot himself, but when we do that, we are hard to beat, cause you don’t want the (opposing) team to know that it’s so predictable. With our angle pick and roll, he had everybody involved.”

Scott Brooks on John Wall: "He took over with playmaking. He took care of the basketball. He sprinkled the offense all the way around." pic.twitter.com/olSUNcY443
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

John Wall paced the Wizards with 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting for 56.2 percent. He also hit three of the six three-pointers he attempted and added seven assists. 17 of Wall’s 26 points came in the second half.
 
Dwight Howard
On the enthusiasm he showed throughout the game:
“I was smiling because I kept saying to myself, ‘I can’t get off the ground tonight.’ I told [Coach Scott Brooks] and he called a play for me to catch a lob pass. But I told him my legs aren’t there yet. I just had to keep smiling my way through it. I’m just happy to be back out on the floor, happy we got a good win tonight. We needed something to break the ice and tonight was good for us to do so. I think from here on out we know how we’ve got to play. We have to communicate on defense, we have to stay positive, and we have to stay locked in on what our mission is. That’s to win a championship. We dug ourselves a little hole by coming out slow, but we got our opportunity to make it up.”

Dwight Howard: "I think from here on out, we know how we got to play. Got to communicate on defense, got to stay positive and stay locked in on what our mission is and that's to win a championship." pic.twitter.com/M1VYUV8fkQ
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

Howard is well aware of the Wizards slow start without him and they have a big week coming up with road contests in Dallas, Orlando, and Miami. The latter two is a back-to-back.
On looking ahead and the importance of communication:
“I think we should just continue to communicate with each other and understand that whatever happened in the past we’ve got to leave it there.”

Dwight Howard on looking ahead and the importance of communication: “I think we should just continue to communicate with each other and understand that whatever happened in the past we’ve got to leave it there.” pic.twitter.com/Yd8B1jU9H1
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

Teams that look to their past mistakes are the ones who struggle the most. It’s both in sports and in life. Howard knows the importance of looking ahead and communication. We are not allowed to watch practices but I can imagine following another demoralizing loss on Friday night, it was a very vocal and spirited workout. It carried over into the game Sunday night.
 
Markieff Morris
On the sub .500 opponents:
“These are the games we must take care of.”

Markieff Morris: “These are the games we must take care of.” pic.twitter.com/I4Q6bN3mJ1
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

Markieff Morris is well aware of the importance of not playing down to the competition. This was a narrative that haunted the Wizards last year. Their lone win heading into Sunday night was over the Trail Blazers who are currently 7-3. Beating the 3-6 Knicks is a start in changing that narrative but they must keep it going. The Mavericks are one of the worst teams in the Western Conference at 2-7. The Magic and Heat are also both below .500 as are the Cavaliers and the Nets who come to town in a couple weeks. If the Wizards win at least four of these six games, they’ll be right back in this thing.
On the team’s play in the fourth quarter:
“We continued to bring defensive pressure”

Markieff Morris on the team’s play in the fourth quarter: “We continued to bring defensive pressure.” pic.twitter.com/D2caSZUAo7
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

Markieff Morris didn’t see the floor in the final quarter but the Wizards as a team had a pair of steals and five blocked shots in the final 12 minutes. Two by Wall, two by Tomas Satoransky and one by Jason Smith.
 
Bradley Beal
On his block on Mitchell Robinson:
“Big play, he’s been jawing a little bit throughout the game. What better way to shut him up than a block?”

Bradley Beal tied his career-high with four blocks last night. This one on rookie Mitchell Robinson (7-1 with a 7-4 wingspan) was certainly the sweetest. pic.twitter.com/Hum4zwWVcD
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

Beal tied his career-high with four blocked shots but none was bigger than his block on Mitchell Robinson, which happened under the rim. This came in the middle of the fourth quarter and helped stall any chance of a Knicks comeback.
On the difference Sunday night:
“I thought it was just the effort. I think it was put together for whole 48 minutes for the first time. The game’s fast, we played a good first half, we played a good second half, or we just played the whole game without trying to come back from being down such a large deficit. So it was good to be on the other side of it this time and be able to get after it.”

Bradley Beal: “I thought it was just the effort. I think it was put together for whole 48 minutes for the first time.” pic.twitter.com/ORVDfXBqv5
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

 
John Wall
On the overall play Sunday night:
“I think we had great defensive intensity to start the game early on and we moved the ball better. Guys got shots. Guys got into a rhythm, and we just played with a lot more effort.”

John Wall on the difference tonight: "I think we had great defensive intensity to start the game early on and we moved the ball better. Guys got shots. Guys got into a rhythm, and we just played with a lot more effort." pic.twitter.com/V5KiABuefO
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

For the first time this season, the Wizards held their opponents to under 100 points. The Wizards as a team had 11 blocked shots and forced 20 turnovers leading to 22 points. The team also had 32 defensive rebounds.
On how Saturday’s practice carried over to the game:
“The way we’ve been competing in practice has been great. I wish the way we’ve been competing all year in practice we did and in the games we’ve had so far. But it hasn’t been like that and I think we kind of finally translated it from practice to the game so that is key to giving ourselves a chance.”

John Wall on how Saturday’s practice translated into Sunday’s game: “The way we’ve been competing in practice has been great.” pic.twitter.com/612HSHEXUS
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 5, 2018

I asked Wall about Saturday’s practice which Howard said was a good session. For the most part, they’ve all been competitive but didn’t translate into their performance in the game. As we saw Sunday, things were different.


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Wizards' defensive effort rises to the occasion in much-needed win

Category : NBA , Wizards

Wizards 108
Knicks 95
November 4, 2018 | Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
The Washington Wizards needed a victory in the worst of ways even if just to get morale up in the locker room. With the New York Knicks clearly not competing for anything crazy in the East, they provided an inferior opponent for Washington to take advantage of. From beginning to end with a quick hiccup in between, the Wizards won and secured their first home victory in what was a decently sized pro-New York crowd.
 
Better Defense
The success for Washington night in and night out will depend mainly on their defensive effort. Although there were still a handful of lapses on Sunday night, as John Wall admitted, there was a better showing throughout the game. In both the first and fourth quarters, the Wizards held the Knicks to just 17 points. This allowed the home team to build an early lead and then close things out after New York had tied things up. Bradley Beal tied his career-high with four block shots and John Wall had five steals. The Wizards forcing 20 turnovers and converting them into 22 points is just one example of defense being their best offense. The three-point defense, in particular, was solid with better closeouts leading to the Knicks shooting just 5-of-27 from deep (18.5 percent). Holding an opponent to under 100 points for the first time this season was what made Scott Brooks most happy. Keeping such a defensive effort going moving forward is the million dollar question, seven million if you are Brooks.
“That I didn’t see triple digits,” Brooks said about what he liked most. “It was nice to see below 100. We haven’t seen that. I think the guys competed. We started off the game with our best defense of the early season and then we finished that. We’ve had some struggles in the fourth quarter stopping teams and they had a couple of hot players, small guys that were attacking. Their wing players were attacking and I thought we took the challenge to guard the guys individually and not look for help and moved your feet. Seventeen points in the fourth quarter defensively. That’s about as good as we can get.”
“We challenged,” Brooks continued specifically about the three-point defense. “We treated everybody as a hot player, no matter who he was. We wanted to make sure we made him miss shots. It sounds easy. Don’t take this like we haven’t been talking about that the first seven or eight games. We’ve been talking about it, but we did it tonight. It’s a start. It was a good win, when you have a losing streak, the games become heavier and heavier. It was nice to get a win. Guys been working hard the last couple days. We got beat pretty bad last game and took some pride to come back and win tonight.”

In case you didn't know, the #Wizards are good in transition. Getting stops has been there issue. pic.twitter.com/BJofJJVAff
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 4, 2018

John Wall Takeover
If All-Star voting ended today, Wall’s streak of appearances would probably end at five. If he strings together more performances like tonight along with better on-ball defense, the streak will stay alive. The point guard had 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go along with seven assists. Not crazy impressive, but when Washington needed him most, he came through. After New York tied things up at 84, Wall came through with a 15-foot pullup jump shot followed by a driving layup two possessions later to put the Wizards up for good. He assisted on Beal’s midrange jump shot on Washington’s next score for good measure. In the second half, Wall had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, after seeming a little frustrated by a couple of no-calls in the first half.
“He took over with playmaking,” Brooks said about his point guard. “He took care of the basketball. He sprinkled the offense all the way around. He had Dwight (Howard) a couple times, he had Brad (Beal), he had Austin (Rivers), he had Jeff (Green) for the lob. And he took a jump shot himself, but when we do that, we are hard to beat, cause you don’t want the (opposing) team to know that it’s so predictable. With our angle pick and roll, he had everybody involved.”
 
Prolonged Three-Point Shooting Slump
After shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season, third best in the NBA, Washington is shooting a woeful 31.3 percent nine games into the regular season. Even during preseason they were not shooting well from deep. If you ask Brooks, they are simply having their shooting slump early in the season, but it is getting to a large enough sample size now that maybe the Wizards are just not as good of a shooting team. Otto Porter did not play with a left toe contusion, but he is just shooting 28.1 percent (9-of-32) from deep. Wall got out of a bit of his slump with a 3-of-6 performance from three after coming in with a 24.3 percent mark (9-of-37). Beal and Markieff Morris going 1-of-12 from deep against the Knicks is probably an anomaly. We will see how things play out in the coming weeks, but Washington has yet to outfire power any teams because of their poor shooting, which is a big reason why there is such a big magnifying glass on their defense.
 
Next Game: Washington will head back on the road with a matchup against the Dallas Mavericks and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Luka Doncic.


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Wizards preach staying the course, but to what end?

Category : NBA , Wizards

MEMPHIS —  Seven games in and the 1-6 Washington Wizards are already in mid-season form. A West Coast road-trip that started off with a win in Portland ended with John Wall and Bradley Beal calling out fellow teammates to the media, head coach Scott Brooks preaching unity and togetherness, and dysfunction continuing to grow.
The team faced the same questions over the last week and a half. How do you all plan to turn things around? What are the reasons for the slow start? Yet, the bigger question is, why a team with so much continuity, without any major injuries, are in last place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I can’t really give you an answer man,” Kelly Oubre said after the 107-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “We just got to continue to get better each and every day. Learn from our mistakes. Fix the patches we feel as if are the patches in our errors and just keep it moving and stay positive.”
The issues that are plaguing this team have been on going since last season: too many turnovers, guys playing hero ball, guys not playing defense, or just simply playing down to their competition.
Like last year, this team is going with the same talking points, mentioning it is a long season, and there is still time to turn things around. Granted, there are still 75 games to be played and the conference overall is up for grabs, however, this team has yet to prove to the fanbase and themselves they are capable of such a task. Nevertheless, that did not stop Brooks stating the obvious Tuesday night in Memphis.
“We just started, seven games ago,” Brooks said. “We still got 75 more games to go. They say it. It’s a marathon and it is. We all know that. … It’s a long grinding season. You got to be able to stick together during the lows and continue to fight for some of the highs that take place, and when you do that, you got a good team.”
What Brooks said is reasonable and would apply to any other team, but not for Washington until they take the initiative to be better. Bradley Beal added to that point and mentioned that sticking together is imperative but said it is time for them to get it together before it’s too late.
“It’s key because it’s not perfect,” Beal. “We got to realize that it is going to take time, but we kind of got to speed it up a little bit. The season is not going to wait on us. Granted, we still have 90 percent of the season left, but you eventually run out of games as the year goes on.”
Beal said that he believes they will get out of this slump as long as they “stay the course.” Of course, the fan base does not exactly want to hear that right now.
But the question that this team must answer is when is enough is enough. On paper, the Wizards should be competitive with any team in the East. For the first time since the early 2000s, LeBron James is no longer reigning in the conference which paves the way for a new potential Eastern Conference Champion.
Washington could very well make it and yes there is still time, but at some point, this team should adapt a winning mentality. Until then, fans in The District should only come to the games if this lackluster team is playing an opponent worth seeing.


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Wizards get embarrased again in loss to Clippers

Category : NBA , Wizards

Clippers 136
Wizards 104
October 28, 2018 | Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
A 1-4 start to the regular season is less than ideal. That becomes worse when John Wall and Bradley Beal start questioning teammates’ agendas five games into the season after doing the same thing last season. A visit to the Staples Center was not what the doctor order as Washington thrashed in another embarrassing fashion.
 
Non-Existent Three-Point Shooting
A lot of the talk during training camp and preseason was about getting more three-point attempts given how well they shot it from deep last season, tied for second in the NBA at 37.8 percent. Through six games, Washington has shot 33.3 percent or worse in five of those games. Not coincidentally, the Wizards lost all five of those game and won when they shot 40.5 percent from deep in Portland. Against the Clippers, the road team was a miserable 1-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half. They finished the game 5-of-27 after a few garbage time three-pointers. Bradley Beal was just 1-of-6, Otto Porter was 0-of-2, Markieff Morris was 0-of-3 before exiting with concussion symptoms, and Kelly Oubre was just 1-of-7 after a recent hot streak. Scott Brooks will go on his redundant diatribe about the Wizards simply having their slump early in the season, but at what point do you question if they are built to shoot for volume from deep.
Non-Existent Defense
It has been the same old story in the Scott Brooks era. The Wizards have enough firepower where the offense is rarely going to be the issue. If they play defense at a high-effort level, they will get the job done most nights. That has yet to be the case throughout this early season. Los Angeles got whatever they wanted. They had 136 points, nine players in double figures, 73 points off the bench, and so much more. The Clippers were a miserable 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line but flamed with the ball live to the tune of 54.4 percent shooting from the field and 55.2 percent shooting from deep (16-of-29). In yet another game, Washington was outrebounded (57-43) and allowed several offensive rebounds (14). Tobias Harris looks like an All-Star against Washington. Avery Bradley got out of a slump against Washington. Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic are dirty against Washington. The defense left when Randy Wittman got fired.
Things Are Bad
Some team broadcasts are biased. NBCS Washington’s Kara Lawson is not and hits the nail on the head with what is wrong with this team and why better times do not seem in reach.
Next Game: Washington will finish their five-game road trip against the Grizzlies where we will have live coverage from in Memphis.


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Wizards show no progress from last season in loss to Kings

Category : NBA , Updates , Wizards

Kings 116
Wizards 112
October 26, 2018 | Golden 1 Center | Sacramento, CA
I wholeheartedly thought it was unfair to say the Washington Wizards got off to a terrible start when they were 1-3 four games into the 82-game season. After an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings, my tone is beginning to change. For a team that knows that they struggled against sub-.500 teams last season, they seemingly have not done anything to fix the issue. Dwight Howard coming back is not going to fix that either. The East is bad enough where Washington can probably play poorly and still make the post-season, but if they do not straighten up soon, it is unlikely they truly content. As if we were watching a bad re-run from last season, Scott Brooks offered up the same old excuses of offense dictating defense and him needing to find players that are willing to consistently commit.
 
Bradley Beal is having it rough
Against Golden State, the All-Star shooting guard left the game with a bruised sternum that had him breathing funny. He sported some kind of chest protector under his jersey to start the game before ditching it midway through Friday’s game. Then on a drive to the basket he fell backwards into a camera to the back of the head. On the court, Beal struggled, too. He finished with 21 points, but on a poor 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) shooting including 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) from deep. He also had five turnovers, two of which came costly in the final minutes of the game. Beal was just 2-for-12 and 1-for-8 from deep in the first half before putting a few solid minutes together after intermission. Maybe he was feeling the effects of not being 100 percent, but Washington needs him to be more consistent going forward, which he is very well capable of.
 
Kelly Oubre shining out West
The first two games of the season were not great for Oubre as he had 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting including just 1-of-7 from deep. In the three games to start the West Coast road trip, the wing has been lighting it up. Oubre has totaled 61 points on 22-of-36 (61.1 percent) shooting including 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from beyond the arc. Scott Brooks said it best – Oubre is playing his best basketball in the Brooks’ era, which basically means he is playing is best ball of his NBA career. That is certainly part of the reason why Otto Porter only played 22 minutes, the third time he has played under 25 minutes through five games this season, but that is borderline unacceptable for a guy making $26 million this season.

KELLY OUBRE FROM DEEP! Halfcourt buzzer beater deep. pic.twitter.com/lHxAwJvqgT
— HoopDistrict (@HoopDistrictDC) October 27, 2018

Better rotations from Scott Brooks
For the first time this season, Jason Smith was a DNP – coach’s decision. That needs to continue to be the case. Despite his kind soul and enthusiastic body, he cannot really compete in today’s NBA if his jumper is not falling given his poor defense. It is still mind boggling that Ernie Grunfeld and staff gave Smith a three-year deal with a player option. With Smith out of the rotation, Brooks avoided putting out an all-bench lineup and had Jeff Green and Markieff Morris play minutes at backup center. It worked decently although Sacramento had 53 rebounds including 14 on the offensive glass. When Howard does return, the all-bench lineup may reappear, but hopefully not for too long.
Next Game: The Wizards will see old friend Marcin Gortat (and Mike Scott) as they face the Clippers on Sunday night.


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