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Morning tip: Bradley Beal smart to go after Celtics' bigs whenever possible

Morning tip: Bradley Beal smart to go after Celtics' bigs whenever possible

Bradley Beal's three-point stroke hasn't been there, but he helped turn Game 6 in favor of the Wizards when he decided to take with the Boston Celtics' defense was giving him.

In scoring a game-high 33 points, Beal made 15 of 26 shots. He took advantage of the likes of Kelly Olynyk switching out on him and rather than settling for long jumpers he took him off the dribble.

"That's some of the adjustments we made. If they're going to put their bigger guys on some of our quicker players we have to attack," coach Scott Brooks said. "We can't settle for jump shots. ... If they're going to pressure up you've got to be able to attack them."

Beal is 6 of 31 in the last five games from three-point range, or 19.3%. While he has been harrassed by Avery Bradley and multiple defenders when he comes off screens, Beal hit his only three in eight attempts late in a 92-91 victory.

"Can't settle for jump shots when bigs are in front of you," Brooks said. "It doesn't make sense. We've been working on that, talking about that."

Some of Beal's best work in this area came after halftime:

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Wizards at Mavericks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Mavericks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Smith, Jr., Harrison Barnes and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: American Airlines Center
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wall and Beal continue to thrive

The Wizards have been inconsistent lately as a team with four losses in their last seven games, but John Wall and Bradley Beal have continued to put up All-Star numbers. Wall in his last 10 games has averaged 23.0 points, 10.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 43.2 percent from three. He's got five games with multiple threes during that stretch.

In Beal's last 10 games he's averaging 26.8 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three. Though the Wizards have dropped some winnable games in recent weeks, the Wizards' two best players have largely been carrying their weight.


Payback time?

The Wizards have another opportunity to get back at a team that handed them a regrettable loss. The Mavericks beat the Wizards in Washington on Nov. 7 in one of the first in their long line of defeats to sub-.500 teams. The Wizards lost by 14 that night and little did we know it would be the beginning of a trend that has defined their season so far.

Now the Wizards can get revenge, but they have had major problems doing so against other teams. They lost to the Nets in December and then got blased again by 35 points 10 days later. They got killed by the Jazz by 47 points in December, then lost again in January when they were missing their best player, Rudy Gobert. And the same thing happened against the Hornets. The Wizards lost in November and then again last week. We'll see if the Wizards can punch back this time.


Mavs are struggling

It has been a long season for the Mavericks, who at 15-31 have the fourth-worst record in all of basketball. They have lost six of their last eight games and rank among the worst teams in the NBA in many categories including points per game (23rd) and defensive rating (21st).

They do have some talent, though. Harrison Barnes is averaging 18.5 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 45.2 percent. Rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. is putting up 14.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game while dunking all over his opponents. Dirk Nowitzki is still knocking down shots with 12.4 points per game on 47.1 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. 

Dallas does have some injuries at the moment. Nerlens Noel is sidelined with a torn ligament in his thumb. Seth Curry has a stress reaction in his left tibia. And Devin Harris could miss the game with a head injury.


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Kelly Oubre, Jr.s development is giving Wizards options both in short-term and long-term


Kelly Oubre, Jr.s development is giving Wizards options both in short-term and long-term

Kelly Oubre, Jr. keeps taking his game to new heights. On Friday night against the Pistons he set a new career-high with 26 points and tied a personal best with five threes.

Though Oubre is not a starter, he produces like one. He is the Wizards' third-leading scorer since Thanksgiving. That's 28 games, or slightly more than a third of a full, 82-game season. 

Oubre has reached double figures in points this season in 28 of his 46 games. He's dropped 15 points or more in four straight and has hit multiple threes in each of his last seven.

Oubre's three-point percentage on the season is now up to 40.5 percent, way up from his 28.7 clip from a year ago and he is starting to separate himself from other NBA bench players. Only three reserves are averaging at least 12 points per game and shoot at least 40 percent from three. It's Oubre, Lou Williams of the Clippers and Nikola Mirotic of the Bulls.

What he's doing is also rare for his age. Only five players 22 or younger are shooting 40 percent or better from beyond the arc this season with at least 100 attempts and Oubre is one of them.

Oubre is still capable of making mistakes from inexperience, ones that frustrate head coach Scott Brooks. There have been several instances this season where Oubre has made the wrong decision based on clock and score awareness. Like many young players, he sometimes gambles on defense and pays for it.

But those errors are becoming few and far between. Oubre is playing well beyond his years and is making an impact on both ends of the floor. Perhaps most importantly, his development is giving the Wizards options both in the short-term and the long-term.

The Wizards' starting lineup has not been nearly as consistent as it was last season. Though they beat the Pistons on Friday, Brooks has hinted at changes if their issues continue.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are having seasons worthy of All-Star recognition. Meanwhile, Otto Porter has been hot and cold, Markieff Morris is averaging just 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and Marcin Gortat has seen his minutes go up and down. Oubre gives Brooks multiple options if he does want to shake up their starting lineup.

In the big picture, Oubre's development gives the Wizards flexablity. He's making just $2 million this season and $3 million the next. That is far lower than what Porter ($24.7M), Morris ($8M) and Gortat ($12.8M) are getting paid. If the Wizards wanted to turn to Oubre, they could save significant money with a trade.

The Wizards may keep Oubre right where he is, on their bench as the sixth man. But if they want to make a change, either big or small, he has given them more options than they had just months ago.