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Grading DeJuan Blair's play for 2014-15 season

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Grading DeJuan Blair's play for 2014-15 season

After having trouble keeping Nene and Kevin Seraphin healthy the previous season, the Wizards made sure they wouldn't run short on bigs when they added DeJuan Blair in a deal with the Dallas Mavericks last summer. Blair came inexpensive and figured to be a chip for coach Randy Wittman to use for more physical play in the low post. The results weren't exactly what anyone expected with Blair appearing in a career low 29 games (his previous was 61) and failing to make a start for the first time in his six-year career. He also didn't appear in any of the Wizards' 10 playoff games and was deactivated for most of them. With Dallas, he was a key factor in them pushing the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round of the 2013-14 postseason.

The stats: 1.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 45.6% shooting.

The improvements: There was none given his lack of burn. Blair appeared to regress as he failed to get minutes outside of garbage time during blowouts or the end of games when the outcome was decided. This was a lost season.

The next step: For starters, Blair's conditioning wasn't where it needed to be to get on the court and play the up-tempo style that Wittman wanted. Blair spent a lot of time trying to shape up and he was so far back in the rotation that it didn't matter. Everything that Blair could do, there was another big on the roster who could do it better. If he just comes in better shape that will give him a leg up. 

2014-15 grade: F.

2015-16 outlook: Blair is under contract, but how much he factors into the Wizards' future is cloudy. Seraphin likely is on his way out of Washington and Drew Gooden, who also is an unrestricted free agent, could be, too. Coupled with the Wizards leaning towards more perimeter-oriented bigs, that could either eliminate Blair all together because that's not his game or create room for him to get on the floor. Or he could be a trade chip. 

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday 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. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS