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Scott Brooks' experimentation with three-guard lineups works for Wizards

Scott Brooks' experimentation with three-guard lineups works for Wizards

The success that the Wizards have found with Otto Porter playing as a stretch four is a direct result of the three-guard lineups rolled out by coach Scott Brooks. 

After trying to shuffle the deck with a second unit that couldn't get in sync in an 0-3 start, Brooks found something in the 95-92 win over the Atlanta Hawks last week. In the third quarter, he substituted Tomas Satoransky for Markieff Morris with 6:12 left. The lineup featured John Wall, Bradley Beal, Satoransky, Porter and Marcin Gortat.

When Wall left at 3:13, he was replaced by Marcus Thornton to keep the look. And then Morris returned for Gortat in the middle. If Satoransky, a rookie, develops a reliable jumper -- the part of his game that needs the most development -- it can be even more successful.

It helps Brooks achieve the spacing that he wants on offense which had been problematic. 


"We can space the floor out with shooters which allow John to get into the paint. Everybody's out on the shooters," Porter said. "It helps him create for himself, for Marcin or if they sink in we get kickouts."

For Porter, he's able to improvise pending everyone else's movement and how the defense opts to defend. When Wall or Beal are on the court, the attention they get when the defense loads to the ball naturally creates lanes and avenues for the slip action (See Film Study session on Porter).

"It's just reading John or reading whoever has the ball. The big thing we want to do is we want to get movement," Porter said. "You don't want to get stuck in a spot just watching. Constantly moving, constant interaction with the defense, reading. When we're moving, it allows us, if the shot goes up, to be in position to rebound. It helps everybody.

"We don't ever want to be dictated to. It's hard for you to dictate what I'm going to do If I continue moving. You don't know what I'm going to do. Or if Brad continues to move the defense doesn't know how to react to it. If they do it's a second too late. You're already open. I'm more about moving. Coach Brooks is allowing me to get movement."

And a side effect of all of this is what it does for Trey Burke, too. He had been a disaster until recently, unable to get the Wizards in their offense as Wall's backup. He wasn't getting clean looks, either. He had an explosion in the blowout of the Celtics with 18 points off the bench. He was 7-for-9, including 3 of 4 on threes.

All of Burke's seven made field goals came with him being off the ball or getting it back and taking advantage of bigs switching onto guards on the perimeter. Thornton made the push to set up Burke for his first field goal and the next one came on a handoff from Andrew Nicholson. Burke had a three off another push by Thornton and he gave it up early on the next make and got it back when switches were forced. And the switch occurred again to give Burke a more favorable matchup.

"The pressure of him running the team every possession, it wears on you. Every time down the court on both ends you have to guard the point guard. All the time pick-and-rolls are being set  so you have to be locked in on both ends," Brooks said. "So when you have more ballhandlers, more playmakers on the floor I think it eases the burden on all the guys. And Tomas, with his size and athleticism, he can guard multiple players. Trey, I liked the way he played. He doesn't necessarily have to run a pick-and-roll. I don't know if he even scored on an initial pick-and-roll. That's what we're getting (through) to him. He can run our action and if it comes back to him after three or four passes, it's better for him and it's better for our team."


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.