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Morning tip: Soreness lingers for Marcin Gortat after rough week

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Morning tip: Soreness lingers for Marcin Gortat after rough week

The past week hasn't been easy for Marcin Gortat, who had been called out by his coach for being "soft" and it left him feeling sore. Saturday, it started to look like another bad outing before things turned and the Wizards got a 108-99 win at Verizon Center, ending a three-game losing streak. He still seems bothered, but only a little. 

"It was actually a good week," said Gortat, who finished with his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Orlando Magic. "My check came in."

Gortat is in the second year of a five-year deal that pays him $60 million. He'd only grabbed one defensive rebound in a 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and it drew coach Randy Wittman's rage. Gortat fired back on Friday and made it clear he didn't like being called out. 

"We won the game," said Gortat, who had trouble defending Nik Vucevic as he had 10 points in the first quarter alone for Orlando. "I'm still not there where I want to be. Missed a lot of shots, easy putbacks."

Gortat's saving grace was that he was able to get to the foul line six times in the first half to steady himself. Nene came in off the bench to battle Vucevic for position in the low post which slowed him down. He shot 3-for-11 for the last three quarters.

"We are more aggressive defensively. We're actually going through screens harder than usual. Hopefully we're going to maintain that," Gortat said. "John (Wall) played better today also, pushing transition. We looked good. Kristopher (Humphries) was outstanding raining those threes."

Humphries had a career-high five three-pointers en route to a season-high 23 points.

In the fourth quarter, Gortat's activity paid off. He made a foul shot to complete a three-point play that trimmed the Wizards' deficit to 90-89. He blocked a shot by Elfrid Payton, who he was defending on a switch. The 6-11 center then ran the floor and was able to tip in a missed layup by Garrett Temple for a 94-90 lead. A tap out of a missed shot by Otto Porter produced a second-chance shot for Wall whose jumper extended their lead to 101-94.

"It opens up a lot," Gortat said of Humphries' three-point shooting and the offense. "People are going to start finally opening up the paint for me. At some point they're going to realize it's better to give up two than three. That's going to be great but Kris got to continue to shoot like that."

Ultimately, when the Wizards play like this and don't just rely on Wall and Bradley Beal, who missed his second game in a row with a left shoulder contusion, they will be better off. Temple had 18 points. Wall had 15 points and 11 assists, Porter nine points and 10 rebounds and the bench contributed 30 points and 18 rebounds.  The Wizards had consecutive losses last weekend where they totaled 50 turnovers. In this one, they had just 11. 

"They're franchise players. There's going to be a lot of pressure on them. There's going to be a lot of responsibility on them. They're going to get open shots. They're going to get a lot of looks," said Gortat, referencing Wall and Beal who'd been the closers in fourth quarters. "They're going to take their shots but at the end of the day, especially for John, he's got to make sure he's going to create for everybody and get everybody involved. We got to move the ball. We got to hit the guy who's open. We got games, we got stretches where we playing the right way. We got games where people trying to do it on their own. You're not going to win a game like that in the NBA."

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS