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Kevin Durant says Kelly Oubre Jr. has confidence and 'some dog in him'

Kevin Durant says Kelly Oubre Jr. has confidence and 'some dog in him'

Kelly Oubre Jr. is not a household NBA name yet, but the way he's played for prolonged stretches of his second year in the league suggest he's certainly on the way to becoming one.

However, while general fans outside of the D.C. area may still not know much about the 21-year-old, those who follow the sport closely as well as those who play it are starting to appreciate his game. And in a recent podcast published on The Ringer, a major figure of the media as well as one of basketball's top stars took a couple of minutes to discuss Oubre's development.

Ever heard of Bill Simmons and Kevin Durant? Because it sounds like they have secured some early bird seats on the Oubre bandwagon.


"I really like Oubre," Simmons said to Durant while the two chatted on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I think he's my favorite bench guy in the league right now. He was playing so hard [against the Clippers Wednesday, a game that Simmons attended], he's crashing the offensive boards on every play, he's guarding Chris Paul full court, like he really thought he could shut down Chris Paul."

"I know Oubre because he came to my camps a couple years ago when he was in high school and when he was in college," added Durant. "His confidence level is high. Some of these young cats that come into the league, they got super confidence, uber-confidence, and they just go through the motions. They just too cool." 

"But he had a little — he had some dog in him," Durant continued, remembering those camp days. "He might foul you hard. That's how I know, actually, if young guys really want it. They foul you hard and play physical. I was playing with him and he'd foul me hard and I'm like, 'I like that. I like that you care.' Because a lot of these cats don't care about the game."

While Oubre still needs to grow on offense, his production on defense has been a pleasant development for the Wizards. Almost nightly, the lanky swingman will pick an opponent clean and finish on the other end with a strong lefty slam.

That's just one example of the "dog" in Oubre that Durant saw before he reached the Association. Maybe, if things break just right, Durant will get to personally experience it again sometime in June.


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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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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 remains 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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