Wizards

Kings snap 5-game skid, outlast Warriors 131-127

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Kings snap 5-game skid, outlast Warriors 131-127

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Aaron Brooks added 23 points and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by outlasting the Golden State Warriors 131-127 on Wednesday night.

After blowing a 15-point lead, Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to help Sacramento pull away. Both teams shot 50 percent, while the Kings had a season high in points and scored more than any team had against the Warriors this season.

Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half before fouling out, and David Lee had 29 points and eight rebounds in Golden State's worst defensive outing of the season. Only Oklahoma City had shot at least 50 percent against the Warriors.

After going 6-1 on the season's longest road stretch, the Warriors beat New Orleans 103-96 at home on Tuesday night. They returned to the road for the short trip to Sacramento, looking tired and timid on defense from the start.

The most points the Warriors had allowed this season came in a 119-109 loss at Oklahoma City on Nov. 18. The Thunder shot 50.6 percent in that game.

The most points Sacramento had scored was in a 113-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 21. The Kings found their stroke again to beat the Warriors for the second time this season, with both games coming in California's capital city.

The second edition this season had far less defense than when the Kings beat the Warriors 94-92 in their home opener.

Curry fouled out with 2:13 remaining when he reached in on John Salmons' layup attempt. Salmons made one free throw, and Brooks followed with a 3-pointer to extend Sacramento's lead to 122-118.

Then Jarrett Jack, who finished with 28 points, made one of two free throws before Brooks slipped open along the sideline and swished another from beyond the arc to put the Kings ahead by six with 1:12 to play and turn the final seconds into a free throw contest.

The only thing that matched Brooks' fast finish was his strong start.

Brooks made a pair of 3s to highlight Sacramento's 25-12 spurt to open the game. The Kings kept the pace fast, playing the kind of offensive-oriented system that Keith Smart often ran in his only season coaching the Warriors two years ago.

Some sharp shooting didn't hurt, either. Jimmer Fredette's 3-pointer put the Kings ahead by 15 points in the middle of the second quarter, and they held on for a 63-55 halftime lead after shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Sacramento showed remarkable offensive efficiency despite Tyreke Evans sitting out with a sore left knee for the second straight game. He has missed seven of the last 11 games because of the injury, including playing 10 minutes in a loss at Denver on Sunday when he re-aggravated his knee.

Marcus Thornton also returned after missing the previous three games to be with his ill mother in Louisiana. He scored 19 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

Carl Landry made four straight jumpers, and Jack pulled up for a 3-pointer to begin the Warriors' late surge. Curry swished two 3-pointers to cap the 17-6 burst that gave Golden State a 112-111 lead halfway through the fourth quarter, jumping in the air and pumping his fist after the second swish.

The Kings beat the Warriors 94-92 in Sacramento's opener Nov. 5.

NOTES: Kings F Francisco Garcia landed hard on his back going for a block in the second quarter. He sat out the second half with a sore back. ... Sacramento tied the all-time series with Golden State at 184-184. ... The Warriors are 2-5 in the first game of a back-to-back this season and 5-2 in the second game. ... Rapper Rick Ross sat courtside.

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!