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Howard, Nene call each other dirty; Dudley admits final-play foul

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Howard, Nene call each other dirty; Dudley admits final-play foul

HOUSTON -- The only way Jared Dudley knew how to stop James Harden from hitting the last basket is to do what most players do on the final plays -- foul him. They know that officials generally don't like to blow whistles unless the infraction is severe but considering how controversial the ending was there's a lot to dispute.

Good decision, it turns out for the Wizards (21-24) who'd lost three games in a row and five of six. Harden, who roasted the Wizards for a 40 points in Saturday's game at Toyota Center, overshot the rim on his drive to the basket. Bradley Beal was the primary defender, Dudley came over to help on the bigger Harden and John Wall challenged him over top with a shot-block attempt. 

"If you look at that I pushed him right in his back. You kidding me, with my right hand," Dudley, who had six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter when the Wizards wiped out a six-point deficit with 3:35 left to win 123-122. "He flops so much (it backfired)."

Harden apparently didn't complain about being fouled on the shot but his coach, J.B. Bickerstaff wasn't pleased with the officiating which he said ruined the game.

Harden, who leads the NBA in trips to the foul line, was 10-for-10 from the stripe. The Wizards had lost their best defender, Garrett Temple, to six fouls and didn't have him to use on Harden. They also didn't have Nene after he was ejected with 8:08 left. 

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Nene kept tangling with Dwight Howard and it erupted with shoves that sent the officials to replay. Howard had a technical from the second quarter and Dudley was hit for a flagrant one for his exchange with the big man.

"Nene gave him a hard foul at one point and time and they started getting into it," Dudley said of a previous entanglement between the big men that led to the ejections. "With Dwight, reputation comes in a lot. He gets a lot of quick technicals maybe some guys wouldn't get."

Crew chief explained the reason for Nene's ejection, which appeared confusing because he didn't have a prior technical: "The rulings on Nene and Howard were Nene was initially issued his first technical foul for wrapping Howard in the upper-torso area. Howard was then issued a technical foul for pushing Nene. Nene was then issued a second technical foul for continuing to taunt Howard after that."

Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff was hit with a technical, too, at 3:52 of the fourth. Harden was trapped on the sideline and was called for traveling. However, another official granted the Rockets the timeout but because Bickerstaff left the coaches box and screamed vehemently about not getting the call he was penalized. But after the officials huddled, they determined the timeout call which wasn't seen originally came before the traveling violation.

"Some of the stuff was just uncalled for," Howard said of his clash with Nene. "Especially grabbing people's arms and pulling them and stuff like that. That's not basketball and so that part was frustrating where a regular foul is not being called. I totally get it but when it crosses the line it's not cool."

Nene accused Howard of throwing cheap shots, for extending his arms and striking him constantly in the upper torso and face.

"It's going to be physical and like that but dirty plays are different," Nene said. "That's the way I think."

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

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Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

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Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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Don't expect a big role for Ramon Sessions with Wizards after signing as free agent

Don't expect a big role for Ramon Sessions with Wizards after signing as free agent

When Ramon Sessions was last with the Wizards, he was the primary backup point guard behind starter John Wall. Now back with the team on a 10-day contract, he is expected to play a much more muted role.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks spoke of Sessions as the fourth-string point guard, not only behind Wall who remains out to recover from left knee surgery, but also behind Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier. The presence of Sessions should not affect Satoransky's minutes as the replacement starter and it doesn't sound like Frazier is in jeopardy of moving down the depth chart, either.

"I don't know how many minutes or opportunities he will get, but with the way he holds himself I feel comfortable if we need him in a pinch," Brooks said. "We have some coverage now if one of our guards goes down or gets in foul trouble."

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Brooks mentioned Sessions' ability to play some at shooting guard if needed. He also praised Sessions' penchant for getting to the free throw line. Sessions has averaged 3.9 free throw attempts in just 23.5 minutes per game. That's highest among active players who have averaged 24 minutes or less in their career.

Sessions played well for the Wizards down the stretch of the 2014-15 season and in the 2015-16 campaign. As a member of the Wizards, he averaged 9.2 points and 3.0 assists per game.

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He has played for eight different teams, but has always felt a connection to Washington.

"It just always felt like a place I could end up back one day," he said. "People always ask me, being on so many teams, 'what's the home team to you?' I always come back to the Wizards. It was a place I was only here a year-and-a-half, but it feels like much longer than that with the run we had and the fans and the support I get when I come here."

Exactly how long Sessions will be here is unclear. He couldn't crack the Knicks' rotation earlier this season and has a lot to prove. Still, he's excited for the opportunity.

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