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Otto Porter saves Wizards after starters log heavy minutes -- again

Otto Porter saves Wizards after starters log heavy minutes -- again

BROOKLYN -- The effort didn't show up until the overtime period for the Wizards, when Otto Porter grabbed three offensive rebounds en route to six points in a hard-fought 114-110 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

But this is the type of game that coach Scott Brooks was hoping to avoid after they had to go to an extra session Monday in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

John Wall, who played 44 minutes in that game, logged 46 vs. the Nets. He was 7-for-24. Bradley Beal played 41 after being on the floor for 45 two nights ago. Marcin Gortat, their oldest player at 32 who is playing a career-high in minutes, also played 41 after being on the court for 38.

"The last game he had to play those type of minutes. he played a lot of minutes tonight," Brooks said of Wall. "Maybe three or four too many (in regulation) and then we went to overtime. Can't sit him there. Our medical staff, our coaching staff are cognziant of our guys' minutes and we're real happy with the job we do monitoring their practice times and pre-practice times  and pregame workouts. The load is not just on the minutes played. Its easy (to point at) because it's out there. But we do a lot of stuff behind the sceens. His game minutes, he's averaging 36.5, he can handle it."

Sheldon McClellan, Andrew Nicholson, Daniel Ochefu and Marcus Thornton didn't play but this was the perfect chance for them to get some run. It wasn't to be as the Wizards squandered a 13-point lead in the first half and a seven-point lead to end the third quarter. 

"We didn't do a good job of stopping the penetration tonight. We didn't do a good job on the ball. We didn't do a good job on the screens but we made enough plays to win the game," Brooks said. "We gambled because we wanted to go for steals for layups and then we didn't box out. They got offensive rebounds. That was the game. They gave them the chance every time we had the lead."

The Wizards (31-21) had Tuesday's practice called off following a harrowing game with Cleveland. That could be the case Thursday, though practice is scheduled, after another prolonged outing. 

Porter put back a missed layup from Beal for a 105-104 lead in overtime and rebounded a miss by Wall for a 107-106 lead. He then cleaned up a miss from Beal and drew a foul to make both free throws to lead 109-107 to break a tie for the final time.

The Wizards would never trail again. Porter started as the "stretch" power forward because Markieff Morris (right calf) was out.

Wall and Beal were driving a lot because Brooklyn gave them mismatches with their constant switching. Beal had 14 points in the first quarter but cooled. Wall did get to the foul line 10 times in the second half where he made eight of them.

"We were attacking. We didn't get rewarded but Otto did a good job cleaning it up and getting offensive rebounds," said Brooks, who was hit with a technical foul for the second game in a row after Wall and Beal combined for zero first-half free throws. "Otto makes a lot of winning basketball plays. But defensively, boxing out, the critical parts of the game we didn't do that well tonight as well as we have been doing it."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Nets]

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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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