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Morning tip: Being more active as screener opens floor for Bradley Beal

Morning tip: Being more active as screener opens floor for Bradley Beal

Among the better ways for the Wizards to get their best shooter open shots, meaning Bradley Beal, is to have him doing what so many others do for him. Set screens.

After his 42-point outburst in Monday's win over the Phoenix Suns to set a career-high, Beal was as active as he has been all season in flex action -- screening for screener on the weakside of the floor. A lot of times when the shooting guard is stagnant, being stationary, he'll become forgotten in the offense. That also makes him easier to take away for the defense.  

More recently, including his 34 points in a loss to the Miami Heat over the weekend, Beal taken it upon himself to be more involved in the offense even if he's being a decoy. 

"Whenever I have a chance to screen somebody, cause a switch or cause confusion, I do," said Beal on Tuesday after practice. "It's just a natural play. Just playing basketball. Playing free. Guards sets screens too and it confuses teams. Some teams switch. Some teams don't. That's where a lot of miscommunication comes in too, when there's a guard-on-guard screen or a guard-on-big screen. I utilize it. Utilize my body. I'm not afraid of hitting anybody."

Devin Booker led the Suns with 30 points. Part of why he has flourished in his second NBA season is he'll screen for their big man, Alex Len. It's not a play design. Booker does it voluntarily to create movement. Beal has more freedom in Scott Brooks' offense is starting to do more of that, too. 

He set screens for John Wall only to reverse his way off a cut back to the ball as Marcin Gortat responded by screening for him. When a defense has to make decisions on who to chase and with whom is where breakdowns occur that can produce higher-percentage shots. 

Brooks lauded the screening of Gortat contributing to Beal's breakout game Monday. Like Beal, Gortat made a lot of correct reads as they freestyled on offense. When the big opposing big man defending Gortat (Alan Williams) sank too deep on the pick-and-roll with Beal, effectively taking away the dive to the basket for Gortat, they'd start over. Beal would back off and allow Gortat to reset the screen. Then when Beal would run the pick-and-roll he had more room to operate as he settles in that pocket between the two defenders for an open jumper or just attack the rim.

"When that happens, we just tell March to hold his screen a little bit longer. Hold our guy a while espeically if they're all the way in the paint," Beal said. "It gives us the opportunity to attack the big one-on-one and if we do miss he's there to follow up on the guard with a rebound. We definitely try to do that, especially on pindowns."

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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