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Offensive freedom allows Otto Porter to break out


Offensive freedom allows Otto Porter to break out

Otto Porter didn't exactly pick up where he left off. When he last appeared in a game for the Wizards, he'd shot a compiled 7-for-26 in three consecutive losses to the Atlanta Hawks which led to playoff elimination. Tuesday, he looked like the No. 3 overall selection in the NBA draft. 

The projected starting small forward coming into the season and one of the Wizards' better performers in training camp, Porter made 8 of 10 shots, including all four of his three-pointers, for a game-high 22 points in a 129-95 preseason opening win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. And he did it in just 24 minutes of play. 

"It was just John (Wall) finding me. Being in great position where I can catch and shoot, knockdowns, cut to the basket or whatever," Porter said. "I have the freedom to do that now. It feels good.

"We got a lot of playmakers on the team. With the new offense, running out in transition it opens up the floor. It gives you enough time if the defense is closing out you can shoot it or drive by them. You just got a lot of options now, just flowing and moving the ball."

The Wizards are playing more in flow, bypassing play calls and running a glut of pick-and-rolls and drive-kick plays. It's pressure offense that puts the defense on its heels and makes the Wizards less predictable. They have the pieces to run it, though Kelly Oubre, Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson sat out with injuries.

"Otto had, start to finish, as good as a game you can play," coach Randy Wittman said of the third-year player who is expected to fill the void left by Paul Pierce's departure. "Activity, hands on balls, forget about the shots he made. Being in position, his knack for being in the right place at the right time whether it's offensively or defensively, his reads and cuts to the basket."


Marcin Gortat was out of sync. He has to find a way to fit in the new offense, but Porter's performance blew him away.

"He looked good," Gortat said. "There's no pressure. We play freely and try to use our chances and he was outstanding today. He was aggressive. He was attacking. He was having fun cutting, shooting the ball well."

Garrett Temple had seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists. This style of offense suits him, too. 

"You just push the ball and wherever you end up make sure you get to the right spots and just play from there, whether it's a pick-and-roll or attack into a drive-and-kick game. I think we did a good job of executing especially that being our first game."

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


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:


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.


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:


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.



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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:


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:


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: