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Five takeaways from the Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Knicks

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Five takeaways from the Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Knicks

In their second preseason game with this quick-paced offense, the Wizards' defensive lapses and inability to contain an elite scorer such as Carmelo Anthony led to Friday's 115-104 loss to the New York Knicks at Verizon Center. 

Otto Porter had his hands full defending Anthony, who heated up after the first quarter to score 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting. Porter had 22 points in Tuesday's win but ended this one with nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Marcin Gortat had 15 points, John Wall 13, Bradley Beal 12, and Kris Humphries and Gary Neal 11 each.

Bradley Beal only shot 5-for-14 for the Wizards but was aggressive in attacking the basket throughout. He had eight rebounds and three assists. His end-to-end dunk over Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was the highlight of the night. 

The Wizards were minus six players because of injury. Joining Alan Anderson (left ankle), Jared Dudley (back surgery) and Martell Webster (right hip), neither of whom played in the opener, were Garrett Temple (left hamstring), DeJuan Blair (left knee), Drew Gooden (right glute).

In his first year with the Knicks, Derrick Williams came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points. Kevin Seraphin, who spent his first five years in Washington, didn't make the trip because of a knee injury.

  • The Wizards were intent on challenging three-point looks but have been willing to concede long twos. Blending defensive principles with this fast-pace offense is still a work in progress. New York made half of its 42 field goals in the first half. They shot 5-for-11 from three-point range. 

  • Porter still needs to gain some strength if he's going to defend the likes of Anthony in the mid-post. Porter played good position defense and contested him in the first quarter when Anthony missed 3 of 5 shots. Anthony is a master at using his backside create space by bumping off his defender. Even though former Wizards forward Trevor Ariza was thinly built he gave Anthony fits with his anticipatory skills and fought him for every spot on the floor. Porter has his work cut out for him to do it on both ends when facing someone of this caliber. 

  • Beal stayed true to his word and avoided long twos. He attacked the basket -- and few oohs and aahs for an in-and-out dribble in transition -- and created for others though his assists doesn't show it. His should've had at least six.

  • Oubre not only had his first action as a pro but got a nice chewing out from coach Randy Wittman for what appeared to be missing a defensive rotation. If the scouting report on him coming out of Kansas is accurate, the 19-year-old can handle it. He dealt with Bill Self. He was 0-for-7 in 25 minutes. 

  • Kris Humphries is now 3-for-10 from three-point range in two games. When Beal dribbled into the paint, he drew multiple defenders which left Humphries with an unobstructed view. He'll get plenty of clean looks until he can prove he's a consistent threat. He made two long twos early in the fourth quarter which is where he's clearly more comfortable. 

RELATED: Beal posterizes Porzingis with one-handed slam

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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:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

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. 

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

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.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

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.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKING

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

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USA Today Sports Images

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.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

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.

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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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS