Quick Links

John Wall isn't wrong. See key reason why Al Horford chose Celtics

John Wall isn't wrong. See key reason why Al Horford chose Celtics

A repeated theme this season, including last week when John Wall told CSNmidatlantic.com that he thinks part of the reason that Kevin Durant wouldn’t even meet with his Wizards is a fickle fan base and environment at Verizon Center, is back. Blame Al Horford's father for this one, but he detailed the reasons for his son choosing the Boston Celtics.

This will generate furious responses that debilitates into a chicken-vs.-egg argument (again). Are the Wizards at fault because they haven’t competed for championships or is it a passive atmosphere to be expected in a transient city such as D.C.? 

The Wizards and Celtics were among the final two destinations that Horford, the four-time All-Star forward-center, considered before making his decision Saturday night. Why did Horford opt to leave Atlanta, a team that he led to the playoffs every season since being drafted there in 2007, and choose Boston? The Hawks won a franchise-record 60 games in 2014-15. What was important to him when making his decision? It was those very intangibles.

While Durant, who chose the Golden State Warriors on Monday, hasn't been definitive about his reasons for not choosing his hometown, Tito Horford broke down how the lacksaidaiscal fan support at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, the rabid support he saw when playing on the road in Boston and how that all mattered:

There wasn’t as much motivation for him when he saw all the empty seats when they were winning. He said to me, ‘Dad, when we were playing Boston, they were down 15 points and they were cheering their team like they were winning the game. They’re so into the game.’ This is special for us, especially for him.


Players notice. They talk about it to each other and it matters when players such as Horford make his decision. While Boston has a long championship history, in large part because they were able to fleece financially struggling franchises out of their best players, the current Celtics haven't been more successful than the Wizards. They've won 18 fewer games in the last three years and while both have made two playoff appearances in the same span the Wizards have done something they haven't which is advance out of the first round.

The criticisms of Wall for pointing this out are unfair. He didn't say anything that wasn't already known. He’s just honest about it.  When splitting hairs between D.C. and Boston, which had the same max offers of $113 million over four years, this sort of thing mattered. The Hawks owned Horford’s Bird rights and could’ve offered him an extra year and higher raises each year of the deal and he passed up the extra $30 million-$40 million.

Ignoring these elephants in the room won’t make them go away. The only way to minimize them is to be Golden State good, and now that they've added Durant that might be too much of a task even for defending champion Cleveland.

Tomorrow’s free agent doesn’t care about the dysfunction of yesteryear, or that this franchise hasn’t won 50 games in a season since 1979. They weren’t born. They don't even care about Jan Vesely being the No. 6 pick in 2011. They care about what they experience when they come to the arena today. They want as much money as they can get on the market and they want to win (not necessarily in that order). Wall being booed loudly at the end of a close game while shooting free throws -- against Boston, no less -- stays in the back of the minds of free agents on the other team you might want to get in your colors one day. 

Yes, the Wizards need to be better on the court though the deck will be stacked against them since they didn't land a third star this summer. And so does their support system, from the front office to the development by coaching staff led by Scott Brooks and to ownership providing the tools.

This includes a real home-court advantage, too. Durant went on record earlier this season to voice his displeasure over being cheered for while he wore an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform. Horford's father has brought up a similar point. The Wizards' two best players, Wall and Bradley Beal, haven't hidden their displeasure for what they perceive as disrespect. And this is all contrived or blown out of proportion? Not when they go out of their way to bring it without being prompted to do so. If you root for any team and it underperforms and doesn't give the effort (the Wizards were guilty of this on mutliple occasions last season alone), by all means boo it into oblivion. That's the way you keep them honest. But that doesn't mean cheering for the opponent is acceptable. 

There's a much better free-agent class coming up in 2017. Show those players when they come to Verizon Center that side of D.C. and those chances won't be as strong as they could've been. 


Quick Links

Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-94 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Playoff implications: Later in the season the stakes are raised and the Wizards' win over the Sixers on Sunday night could loom large in just a few weeks.

By beating the Sixers, who had won seven straight entering the matchup, the Wizards tied up the season series with their second win. A loss would have handed Philly the tiebreaker in playoff seeding if the two teams finish with the same record at season's end.

Now that their season series is over and locked even, it will come down to their record against other Eastern Conference teams if they tie. At 22-15 vs. the East, the Wizards currently have the edge on the Sixers, who are 18-14 in that category.

The Wizards dominated the Sixers for much of the night and they did so by once again moving the ball with generosity and precision. They had 35 assists on 43 field goals. The Wizards have had 30 or more assists in five games this season and four have come within the last month.

Those four games have been part of a 9-3 surge for the Wizards since John Wall got injured. With their win against Philly, the Wizards moved to 35-25 on the season and a half-game out of third in the East. The Sixers are among several teams nipping at their heels in an increasingly crowded conference.


Oubre put on a show: The Wizards led 67-48 at halftime and that was in large part due to Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s impact on both ends of the floor. He had eight points in each of the first two quarters, including four threes, and made several key plays on defense.

Oubre had three blocks to set a career-high by halftime, including one on Robert Covington that bounced off Covington's leg and gave the Wizards possession. He also took a charge on Ben Simmons and flashed a smile for the cameras as he sprinted back down the floor.

Oubre ended the game with 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It wasn't long ago that Oubre was in a significant shooting slump.

In his last 11 games before the All-Star break, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points on 31.2 percent shooting. In three games since the break, Oubre has scored 47 points (15.7/g) while shooting 51.5 percent. It's safe to say he's put those shooting struggles behind him.

Oubre had been making his mark defensively as the Wizards closed the first half on a tear, but Sunday showed how much of a boost he can provide when he's in a rhythm offensively. He completely changed the game and helped the Wizards knock off a team that came to Washington super hot.

Porter wasn't fazed: Otto Porter did something on Sunday that likely has never been accomplished before. He hit not one, not two, not three but four buzzer-beaters all in the first half. Three of them were to beat the shot clock. Then, he hit another one to end the first half:

That shot capped an 8-1 run to end the second quarter for the Wizards and it brought a burst of energy out of the crowd. Porter had 14 points in the second quarter and shot 6-for-6 in the frame. The Wizards outscored the Sixers 37-20 in the second and Porter led the charge.

Porter finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Much like Bradley Beal, who had 24 points in this game, Porter has thrived in this second extended absence for Wall. Both Beal and Porter battle inconsistency as they adapted to being the primary focus of opposing teams back in November when Wall first went down. But this time around, they have answers to everything teams are throwing at them.

Porter's patience at the end of the shot clock on Sunday was an example of that. His confidence seems to be at an all-time high, knowing he has enough tricks to keep his opponents guessing. That was on display with under two minutes to go when he drained a three in Covington's face, turned around to stare at him afterwards and then shook his head as he trotted down the court, as if he were saying that no one can stop him. 

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday before playing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bucks and Warriors. Tuesday is an 8 p.m. tipoff on TNT. We will have pre- and postgame coverage of Wizards-Bucks on NBC Sports Washington Plus beginning at 7 p.m.


Quick Links

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.