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Morning tip: Otto Porter awakens but for how long?


Morning tip: Otto Porter awakens but for how long?

The call for a consistent third scorer has gone unanswered for the Wizards for most of the season, with the anticipation that Otto Porter would rise to the occasion.

Dormant for most of the calendar year, he dropped 21 points in Sunday's 113-99 win vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. He made three consecutive three-point shots to start the third quarter, helping Washington almost double what had been a 63-54 lead in less than two minutes.

“It definitely felt good. Just knocked down shots. ... Defense kind of got us started though," said Porter, who shot 6 of 9 overall to go with five rebounds and three assists. "We were able to get stops and rebounds and push on the break. I know John (Wall) got a couple easy ones and he was just able to find everybody.”

Porter hasn't produced like this since Feb. 6 when he had 20 points and eight assists in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Eighteen of those points, however, came in the second quarter. Porter was absent in the other three in what should've been a career output. Sunday's result was just his second 20-point game since Jan. 1.

“He can’t fall back into playing 28 minutes and having one or two shots," said coach Randy Wittman, who has been unhappy with the small forwards' lack of aggressiveness on the offense end for most of the season. "He’s too good. He’s too good. It hurts our team when that happens. So let’s keep him there.”


In consecutive games a week ago, Porter only took three shots. With Bradley Beal now coming off the bench because he's still on a minutes restriction, the Wizards have had to rely heavily on Wall and Marcin Gortat to carry the offensive load. Sometimes, Jared Dudley steps in to fill in as the No. 3 option because he's a top-5 three-point shooter in the NBA. Garrett Temple has started for Beal at shooting guard but to expect him to provide bucks consistently each game isn't realistic, either. 

That's why Porter, who is in his third NBA season and starting for the first time, is being looked to even more. Alan Anderson is now playing behind him off the bench, too, so his minutes will take a hit. But it's what Porter does with those minutes that matter.

Porter is more of a mid-range shooter but is expected to make corner threes in this offense. He's shooting just 33.3% from the arc but tied a career high for makes by shooting 4 of 6 against Cleveland. 

Porter isn't comfortable just catching and shooting the ball while standing still. He prefers to be moving to get a rhythm on the shot which proved to be the difference. He also avoided the bad habit of looking down at his feet to make sure he's behind the line before shooting.

“It was great. He got us off to a great start in the third. He was really shooting it with confidence and we just need him to continue to do that," Beal said of Porter. "He is definitely capable of it, and that is the guy that we have seen all year and that we have been hoping for, and we just need him to continue to be aggressive and I am sure he is going to do it.”

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

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


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 


Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.


Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.


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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.


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.


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.