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Humphries carves out role as Wizards' backup center


Humphries carves out role as Wizards' backup center

There's something that clicks for Kris Humphries in his last two games against the Orlando Magic. And Wizards coach Randy Wittman made a fourth-quarter adjustment that featured the now-backup center -- formerly the starting "stretch" power forward -- over Marcin Gortat.

Humphries scored all 11 of his points in the fourth as he helped John Wall break open a score that was tied at 72 after the third quarter for a 103-91 victory on Friday at Verizon Center.

"I think that I just got to make something happen," said Humphries, who had a season-high five-pointers for 23 points on Nov. 14 in beating Orlando before Jared Dudley took the starting role. "We ran a couple sets where you get in that 15-foot or 10-foot pocket, made some things happen there, John was delivering, you get feeling good and hit another shot and a three, it all comes together."

Humphries played 13 minutes, eight coming in the fourth. Gortat, who was having difficulty matching up with jump-shooting big Jason Smith, logged four minutes in the fourth. 

Smith kept Orlando in it with eight points and two assists in the first half off the bench. He lacks a low-post game but was able to pull Gortat away from the rim as he was caught between helping cover the pick-and-roll as the ball was being shaded towards the baseline. When the screen didn't come, Smith would spring up top for the open shot and Gortat couldn't reach him.

"For March, its tough because at that point of the game we're trying to keep (the ball) out of the middle so you got to make the signal earlier to give the guard time to do that. So you got to tell him early enough and give him time," Humphries said. "As soon as Smith hears us make the call, boom, he pops back and March doesn't want to leave the guard on an island pushing him to the side. He wants to support him."

The Wizards had to fully rotate, stunt hard or just send the play to the middle to eliminate that look for Smith. Stylewise, Humphries had more success though Gortat had an impact with 10 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and a block. 

When Humphries first stepped on the court, it didn't go as well for him either. He took a prayer from three that wasn't close in the final two minutes of the first quarter. His three with 5:31 left in the game was on the mark as the Wizards led 88-81 and pulled away. 

"Sometimes you get your mind made up that your'e going to shoot a three, that you're going to do this or that and you really have to react to the game, get in a good flow," Humphries said. "You just to to bring energy and play hard."

Drew Gooden (calf) played for the first time since Nov. 17 but re-injured it and had to get an MRI on Saturday. Nene (calf) had an MRI earlier in the week but doesn't appear close to returning yet. DeJuan Blair (knee) hasn't played the last two games. Humphries is the only option left.

MORE WIZARDS:Dudley elevates John Wall to Steve Nash territory

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Wizards take out Cavs on road to continue impressive run after All-Star break

Wizards take out Cavs on road to continue impressive run after All-Star break

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-103 on Thursday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Wizards keep it rolling: Even a week off for the All-Star break couldn't slow the Wizards' roll. 

Though they started a bit slow in the first quarter, the Wizards picked up right where they left off with an impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team many feel improved significantly at the trade deadline.

The Cavs have some newfound confidence, but the result on Thursday was another notch on the Wizards' belt. They moved to 8-2 since John Wall got injured and to 34-24 on the season overall, 10 games above .500 for the first time in 2017-18.

Beating the Cavs was a great sign for the Wizards who are just beginning an extremely difficult part of their schedule. Of their next 16 games, 14 will be against teams currently slated to be in the playoffs. A win at Cleveland bodes well with matchups against the Warriors, Celtics and Raptors on the horizon.

Since Wall got injured, the Wizards have taken out the Cavs, Thunder and Raptors. They keep proving they can compete with anyone even without their All-Star point guard.


Satoransky continues to thrive: More and more teams are learning what Tomas Satoransky is capable of. The second-year pro had another gem of a game with 17 points (6-for-7 FG), eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers.

The Cavs added a lot of athleticism to their backcourt at the trade deadline, but it was nothing to Satoransky. He even made easy work of George Hill, an experienced and physical perimeter defender.

Satoransky also proved a much more even match for Jordan Clarkson, who was giving Tim Frazier fits before the Wizards went away from him in favor of Satoransky and Bradley Beal (18 points, nine assists) running point.

Satoransky and Beal helped lead another well-rounded effort for the Wizards offensively. They had 29 assists and five guys reached double figures. 

When Wall comes back, Satoransky will slide back to the bench as the primary backup point guard. He will still be part of the rotation, but games like this beg the question of whether his role should expand into something larger.

Given Wall plays so much, it will require Satoransky to start producing as a backup shooting guard or small forward. There are reasons to believe he's ready for those responsibilities. He can spread the floor with a consistent three-point shot and has made some nice plays off the ball in the fastbreak. He doesn't need to be the primary ball-handler to produce on offense, he just needs to gain some confidence in doing it.

Oubre was much better: The last few weeks leading up to the All-Star break were tough for Kelly Oubre, Jr. In his last 11 games entering Thursday night, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points while shooting 31.2 percent. He was looking for a breakthrough and he got one against the Cavs.

After beginning the game 2-for-6 from the field, Oubre got hot in the second quarter and had 12 points by halftime. He went scoreless in the third quarter, but hits some big shots in the fourth to end up with 17 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Oubre's second quarter surge helped turn the game around. The Wizards had trailed by as much as 11 points and were shooting just 37 percent at the end of the first quarter. Oubre hit a pair of threes in the second including one to give the Wizards a lead with just over two minutes to go in the half.

Oubre has been contributing in ways other than scoring lately, but the Wizards can certainly use more from him on offense. The Wizards' bench can be limited offensively and everything opens up when his three is falling consistently.


New-look Cavs: The Wizards took some shine off what many have praised as a rejuvenated Cavaliers team following the trade deadline. Cleveland overhauled their roster and had won three games since. But the Wizards stopped that streak and did so by holding a lot of the Cavs' players in check.

LeBron James had a big night per usual with 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals. But many others were stymied including Hill (six points, 2-for-10 FG), Rodney Hood (eight points), Clarkson (nine points), Larry Nance, Jr. (six points) and Jeff Green (five points), who happens to have hurt the Wizards on numerous occasions recently.

How the Wizards would match up with the revamped Cavs was particularly interesting because the old Cleveland crew beat the Wizards twice earlier this season. Of all the teams in the East, the Wizards seemed to match up worse with the Cavs than anyone. It was only one game, but the Wizards looked much better against this version of the Cavs than they did against the previous group.

Up next: The Wizards return home to play the second game of a back-to-back. They host the Charlotte Hornets with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington.


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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.


**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.


**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.