Quick Links

Morning tip: Basic principles of defense elude Wizards in loss

Morning tip: Basic principles of defense elude Wizards in loss

This record is as old as it is broken: The Wizards can't cover the pick-and-roll properly, and an offensively challenged team such as the Miami Heat simply relies on that action or straight isolations to get buckets.

The Heat (8-17) have scored 114 and 112 points in two wins in both meetings this season. Goran Dragic had a season-high 34 points. James Johnson came off the bench for 14 points.

They did it by unconventional standards in today's NBA, which has gone away from isolations in favor of more motion and ball movement on offense. 

"James Johnson came in the game, he changed the game with his aggressive play on both ends of the floor," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "All they were doing was just isolate and attacking. Dragic did the same thing, isolate and attack."

The perimeter defense for the Wizards (9-14) has been so sub-par that there's no need to get too creative with the offensive schemes. Just go at them and high-percentage shots are likely to come open.  

Teams aren't forced to go to their second or third option. The first one usually is the charm pending who and how they attack. 

"He got a lot of easy looks," Bradley Beal said of Dragic. "We were trying to figure out what we want to do with him on pick-and-rolls, and James Johnson."

The Heat used a small lineup with Johnson at center. Instead of Dragic setting up the pick-and-roll, it was Johnson as the initator and it caught the Wizards on their heels.

Johnson shot 6-of-9 from the field and had three assists, a role he had for most of the fourth quarter to help Miami regain the lead. 

"Never really dealt with a four or a five playing pick-and-roll, handling the ball, playing small the way they were," Beal said. 

Dragic overcame four fouls early in the third quarter as coach Erik Spoelstra mixed and matched his lineups. Dragic was too much to handle. The fundamentals by the Wizards were lacking which is why they failed to establish their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Instead of being more physical with their defense, the Wizards allowed the offense for the Heat to bully them. They got to the spots they wanted on the floor. They created the contact. They had the game played on their terms which was how they overcame 59 combined points from Beal and John Wall.

"We tried to go small. We tried to go big. We switched a lot," Brooks said. "We were getting beat off the dribble too much."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' letdown vs. Heat]

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.

Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.


Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.


The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week. 

That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!