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Scott Brooks breaks down Wizards' woes beyond X's and O's

Scott Brooks breaks down Wizards' woes beyond X's and O's

The way the Wizards won against the Sacramento Kings caused enough concern for coach Scott Brooks. The decision made by John Wall to take a fallaway jump shot when he had a favorable one-on-one matchup with DeMarcus Cousins sent that game into overtime. 

Brooks has made a point to sit down with his backcourt players individually to discuss what has gone wrong.

"He's always an option. We wanted to make sure we got a shot," Brooks said of Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 31 points in that game. "John and I watched some film of the last three minutes of regulation and overtime. A lot of opportunities for him to attack. I thought he might've settled for that shot."

Fast forward two days to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. The botched pick-and-roll between Wall and Markieff Morris led to a difficult pass back that was almost intercepted. The broken play almost worked out but Otto Porter's recovery of the ball and mid-range shot missed. Instead of 6-11, the Wizards would be no worse than 8-9 if they'd closed better in losing this game as well as the second game of the season at the Memphis Grizzlies.

Now the San Antonio Spurs, who handled them last week 112-100 at Verizon Center, are on tap for Friday (CSN, 8 p.m.). Like with Oklahoma City, Wall and Beal have never won a road game in San Antonio. 

"We didn't even talk about the game last night," Beal said after Thursday's practice session before describing what has plagued the Wizards at the end of games when it comes to execution. "We're too comforable, too lackadaisical. I think we got to get back to running our offense. ... I'm sick of hearing we played hard, we played well. We got to win them."

Brooks isn't as concerned about who takes shots when. He wants common-sense plays to be made. Wall is 0-for-16 in his career when taking the shot to win or tie a game with five seconds or less, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Beal is 1-for-4. As a whole, the Wizards are 6-for-47 during Wall's tenure of six-plus seasons. 

Some kind of change is needed to get a better result.

"It's definitley something to consider. It's a work in progress for me," Brooks said. "There's definitely going to be opportunities where Brad gets the last shot. With that type of situation I want guys to make the right play. A lot of criticsm for a lot of players throughout the history of the game, 'He doens't take the last shot.' ... 'He takes the last shot.' It's really making the right play. John has a history of doing that and I'm sure Brad will get those opportunities to make the right play. It's also five guys have to be in the right spots. We have to set good screens and deliver a pass if needed. Last-second shots are always about team. You have to trust the guy making the decision."

[RELATED: Wizards' problems late in games go deep]

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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.