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Beyond the box score: The glass half empty version


Beyond the box score: The glass half empty version

(For what we liked out of the Wizards home debut, click here)

The bad:

*Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, acquired together this offseason from the Hornets in exchange for Rashard Lewis' contract, combined for 3 points, 7 rebounds while shooting 1 of 10 from the field. In fairness to Okafor, who didn't play in the fourth quarter for the second straight game, all the actual production came from him. That's really not giving him a pass - Okafor attempted to take on the scoring burden early and his rebounding per minute numbers were solid -, but a way to emphasize Ariza's continued struggles (0 for 4 from the field while his defensive assignment Paul Pierce started scoring early). Both played less than 17 minutes, six each in the second half and none in the fourth quarter. This is not what anyone expected from two of the highest three players on the team. Like others, the two defensive-minded players have been thrust into roles not suited for their skill sets due to Nene and John Wall being out. That's part of the issue, but not the whole thing. By the way, in four games combined the pair have 22 points. In three games, Lewis has 28. Who would have that even this early the Wizards might be on the wrong end of that deal from a production standpoint?

*At least we know Bradley Beal will never make a basket in every game of his career. Five attempts, five misses, two coming from beyond the arc. One game can be ignored; three struggles in a row is a touch trendy. Including the Wizards final preseason game, the Florida product is only 2 of 19 from the field. Beal's 41.1 percent (31 of 75) over the first seven preseason games was hardly robust (though really only two games did he truly shoot well below 50 percent), but looks down right scorching hot right now. More on this leading up to Wednesday's rematch at Boston, but with the current starting lineup Beal is the  player defenses are focusing on. Between Beal's inexperience, style and pressure that comes with being the third overall pick, that's just not working. Assuming Seraphin joins the starting lineup, that will help open up the floor. After what Seraphin just did, pretty sure Boston will have its attention centered on Washington's center, which will be great news for the understated rookie.

The interesting:

During the final minutes, Booker was the only starter on the floor - and with good reason. The Wizards late game lineup included three players - Webster, Martin, Pargo - who at the start of training camp might have been considered the 12th, 13th and 14th players on the roster. This comes after roster surprise Earl Barron played the entire fourth quarter against Cleveland. On the flip side, Okafor, the team's highest paid player, has yet to sniff a second on the court in the fourth quarter this season. Wittman is either rather gutsy for letting performance dictate playing time over salary or playing with fire by sitting some of those who sit higher in that standard roster hierarchy.

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 


Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.


Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.


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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.


The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.


Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one.