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How Ian Mahinmi lost weight, his love for D.C. and his best French restaurant recommendations

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How Ian Mahinmi lost weight, his love for D.C. and his best French restaurant recommendations

Following the most difficult year of his NBA career, a season in which he missed 51 games fresh off signing a four-year, $64 million free-agent contract with the Washington Wizards, Ian Mahinmi entered this offseason determined to get lighter and in better shape, hoping to take some weight off of his surgically repaired knees.

His summer began with a minor procedure to repair the meniscus in his left knee. From there it was trips across the world, all while working with his personal trainers and chef to redesign his body for the rigors of a full season in today's NBA where the expectations for a big man have changed. 

Mahinmi, 30, travelled to West Africa and Europe with his family and personal team. After months of early morning workouts and not eating his favorite foods, he has dropped 10 pounds without losing any muscle mass.

"I had an entourage," Mahinmi said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"I did a lot of traveling, but I kept my people with me. My chef travelled with me, my trainers and my strength coach. I had sometimes four people with me. I had my chef, my strength coach and sometimes two shooting coaches."

To Africa, Mahinmi had only one assistant along for the trip. To France, the whole crew was there in addition to his wife and two daughters. That included a four-day excursion to Disneyland in Paris. Mahinmi would get his training done early in the morning before his girls woke up. That's when the hard work actually began.

"The whole day in Disneyland... that was my real workout for the day, but it was awesome," Mahinmi said. "It's tiring. They have fireworks at 11 at night once the sun goes down so it's basically from 10:30 [a.m.] all the way to 11."


Mahinmi overhauled his diet with help from his personal chef. The main culprit was sweets and, man, does Mahinmi miss them.

"It was the sugar, man. Obviously, I'm gluten-free everything. But sugar, I'm a big-time chocolate guy. Chocolate bars, all that stuff. I had to cut that off. I had to really give up the sugar. Nowadays, even if you go to Whole Foods, you look at the back of anything you grab, you are going to see sugar in it. There is sugar in everything," he said.

A native of France, Mahinmi also has an affinity for French food, which can feature rich, butter-based sauces, delicious bread and decadent desserts. Mahinmi has to limit his intake of French food from here on out and that won't be easy in Washington, D.C.

Mahinmi has played in San Antonio, Dallas and Indianapolis previously in his NBA career, but D.C. has the best French food by a longshot. 

"Oh my gosh. You can't even compare. In Indy, you probably have maybe one or two restaurants. In D.C., it's really good," he said.


Mahinmi offered a long list of French restaurant and bakery recommendations. 

"I like Le Chat Noir [in Tenleytown]. I like Lepic [in Georgetown]. Le Diplomate [on 14th St.] is really good. There's another one right on Wisconsin and P. St., Cafe Bonaparte. I just went and got a salad a few days ago," he said of restaurants.

As for bakeries, "There is Patisserie Poupon on Wisconsin, but there's another one a little farther down called [Boulangerie] Christophe. It's probably been open like six, seven or eight months. It's awesome. I go there and they know me. They always take care of me. It's so much better here as far as French food, but I can't have it too much. I have it on my cheat day. I have maybe a croissant or something like that."

D.C. is an international city and Mahinmi has international roots. He frequents three separate embassies and has invited their employees to games. There is of course the French embassy, but also that of Benin, a West African nation of which Mahinmi has roots, as well as the Jamaican embassy. His mother is from Jamaica.

"I take care of my people," he said. "D.C. is very diverse and I love it. For a guy like me, it's great."


You can listen to Mahinmi's full interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast right here:


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

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