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Morning tip: Lately, Wizards' bench ranks among top 10 in NBA

Morning tip: Lately, Wizards' bench ranks among top 10 in NBA

No matter how much the Wizards continue to win, this question -- "What about the bench?" -- will persist until the boxscore pops with gaudier numbers. But there's ample evidence beyond those raw numbers to suggest the bench is adequate if unspectacular.

Only 18 points were scored by the resereves in a 112-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday. Trey Burke had seven points and five assists in 14 minutes. Jason Smith had six points and two rebounds in 17. But the best player was Tomas Satoransky who produced less in terms of the stats with four points and one assist in 13 minutes. 

Satoransky didn't attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter but he played seven minutes. At 6-7, his length and ability to stay in front of Rodney Stuckey aided in keeping the Pacers' guards from getting clean looks at the rim. He deflected an entry pass from Stuckey and then forced him into a traveling violation because of his ball puressure midway through the fourth. 

Then Satoransky fought through Al Jefferson's screen and stayed on Monta Ellis' right hand to contest his errant jumper with 6:59 left. 

"I thought this was one of his best games," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Satoransky. "He played solid. ... He handled the ball under pressure which is something he's been working on. He's been improving defensively. He's getting better. 

[RELATED: Wizards stockpiling wins in East for tiebreaker edge]

Ian Mahinmi's second consecutive game he played 13 minutes and didn't score. But to start the fourth he created a turnover with his ball pressure on Al Jefferson leading to an errant pass and blocking his drive to the rim. Both plays put the Wizards in transition to and led to four free throw attempts. It's a sign of what his understated impact can be when he's at optimum health since his knee procedures.

The way to judge the second unit -- currently Trey Burke, Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Jason Smith and Mahinmi -- is how they play defensively first. Brooks will mix and match them with starters at times, too, but their offense will have to be jump-started on the other end of the floor.

Going into the Indiana game, the stats told a similar story about the reserves. And again, Mahinmi had only played once so the full impact of his presence still is to be determined. They could end up much better. 

The net rating is determined by subtracting the defensive points allowed per 100 possessions by the Wizards' reserves from offensive points scored per 100 by them.   

Previous 25 games (19-6):  Plus-1.2 points per 100 possessions. 9th best net rating in NBA

Previous 18 Games (15-3): Plus-3.7 per 100 possessions. 8th best net rating in NBA  

Previous 10 Games (8-2): Plus-9.3 per 100 possessions. 3rd best net rating in NBA

While there are benches in the NBA that play more minutes and score more points, they're not neessarily as responsible as this group on defense. Now that Brooks has developed one of the best starting fives in the league, he's figuring out how to get more out of his reserves. 

[RELATED: Markieff Morris taxes defenses that fail to account for him]

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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.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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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:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

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:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS