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Gortat expects Brooks to stop bad habits, hold all accountable

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Gortat expects Brooks to stop bad habits, hold all accountable

Marcin Gortat made a point to stay clear of everyone when the Wizards' season ended April 13 -- actually, for about the last month of the season he made himself invisible -- but he took time out from working on his tan in sunny Orlando where he lives during his down time to discuss his new coach Scott Brooks.

"I think it was a great decision. Scott Brooks is a very experienced coach. He knows how to handle two big stars on the team. He worked with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook," Gortat told CSNmidatlantic.com after Brooks was acquired on a five-year deal worth $35 million. "I think he’s going to be the right person in the right spot. Obviously we’re going to have to change things around on the team.. 

"The most important thing is he’s a defensive coach so we know we’re going to win with defense, not with the offense."

In a 41-41 season that ended with the Wizards outside the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, they ranked ninth in points scored per game (104.1) and 21st in points allowed (104.6). Compare that to a year ago when they won 46 games and allowed just 97.8 points which was 10th-best and ranked 17th in scoring at 98.5.

But as big of an issue for the Wizards, outlined here and at the core of then-coach Randy Wittman's downfall before he was fired last week, is the culture in the locker room has to be right. He probably unintentionally pitted players against one another by playing favorites and angered some veterans by ignoring them because they didn't have Paul Pierce's resume.

"I truly believe to be successful in this league, you got to hold players accountable. I truly believe that coach Brooks is going to do this from Day One," Gortat said. "I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for him.

"We have a lot of people who have a lot of different habits during the basketball season. To be successful I truly believe we have to be held accountable. At the same time we got to hold each other accountable."

The grit that typified the Wizards in previous seasons evaporated. They didn't play as hard for Wittman as they once did. 

"It’s going to be a fresh start for a lot of players. At the end of the day It’s about us. We have to come out next year with much better focus, prepared much better. Coach Wittman lost his job but at the end of the day it wasn’t completely his fault," Gortat said. "We play basketball games. Not coach. We have to be responsible for some of the play during the season. We can hire Phil Jackson but if we’re not going to compete, if we’re not going to play with a bigger passion or bigger heart we’re not going to win any games."

MORE WIZARDS: Durant aside, this is how Scott Brooks makes sense

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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.

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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. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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