Quick Links

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Pistons behind Bradley Beal's big night

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Pistons behind Bradley Beal's big night

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Fifty wins are still in play for the Wizards after they went without John Wall and Otto Porter to turn out the lights at The Palace on Monday, 105-101.

Kelly Oubre (10 points, six rebounds) and Brandon Jennings (two points, six assists, five steals) started in their place as Washington (49-32) never trailed after the midway point of the first quarter. They led by as many as 15 in the final home game for the Pistons at the arena they have called home since 1988.

Bradley Beal (33 points) was on fire from the start. He made 7 of 10 shots, including a Hail Mary off a difficult catch in the corner for a 55-42 halftime lead.

Markieff Morris (20 points, eight rebounds) and Marcin Gortat (eight points, eight rebounds, five assists) started while Ian Mahinmi (six points, 11 rebounds) was a force inside off the bench along with Tomas Satoransky (11 points, three assists) and Bojan Bogdanovic (nine points).

The Pistons (37-44) were listless outside of Ish Smith (16 points, nine assists) and a muted performance from Andre Drummond (10 points, seven rebounds) who only played 24 minutes. Tobias Harris (22 points) helped trim the deficit to 79-73 entering the fourth and tied it twice.

They Pistons could never regain the lead. Beal had two plays where he blew by Stanley Johnson, one off a curl and another on a face-up move, for layups in a 43-second span that squashed their hopes after getting to within 90-88. Beal had a thunderous dunk with 34 seconds left and drew the foul. That put the Wizards ahead 103-97 and he made the final two free throws to cap the scoring. 

The Wizards won the season series with Detroit 2-1. Their regular-season finale is Wednesday at the Miami Heat, who have won all three of their meetings. A win puts them at 50.

The Pistons will move downtown next season to Little Caesars Arena. The Palace, almost an hour's drive outside the city, will be demolished despite being one of the NBA's better facilities to watch a game.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Mahinmi leaves game after apparent leg injury]

--Jennings set a brisk pace from the opening tip. He was able to gamble more successfully vs. Smith, who isn’t a threat from deep and can be contained if playing him for the drive. Jennings got the offense going right away and had a nifty one-hand pass to Mahinmi that should’ve been an assist but the big man missed. Up 98-94 with 90 seconds left, Jennings opted for a quick flip pass in transition that was too difficult to handle for Jason Smith (six points, six rebounds, three assists) that was a turnover. Detroit responded with a three-pointer to give it new life.

--Boban Marjanovic (eight points, eight rebounds) was confused by Mahinmi, who could match the 300-pound center’s strength and defended him in isolation in the post. Marjanovic couldn’t get deep post position as Mahinmi used an arm bar technique perfectly to stand him up and beat him to the spot when he tried to make a counter move.  When Drummond was in, Mahinmi pressured him in the high post to prevent the cutters from getting the ball cleanly going to the rim. But at 4:47 of the fourth, Mahinmi contested Ish Smith’s jumper and had to limp off the floor after consultation with the head athletic trainer.

--With Wall out, Trey Burke became the backup behind Jennings played his first real minutes since Feb. 28 after Jennings was signed as a free agent. Burke had made just two appearances since then totaling seven minutes. Burke contributed to what started out as a fruitful second quarter but had two turnovers in eight minutes and lost Ish Smith off the ball. He didn’t play after that.

--Morris had his second consecutive strong offensive game as he was too skilled for Henry Ellenson, who couldn’t defend him in the mid-post or facing up. The Pistons had to send a help defender, usually Drummond or Marjanovic, but that’s why they were outrebounded 48-36. Morris went at Jon Leuer (zero points) in a move across the lane for a fading jumper to push the lead to 98-94. He faced up Leuer again and went baseline with a sweepthrough move for the falling down jumper and a 100-97 lead. Beal did the rest.

--Satoransky has more confidence in his shot. He made 4 of 6, including a three-pointer from the short corner when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ran at him to contest. When the Pistons tied the score at 79, Satoransky broke it with a pull-up jumper the next time down. His first assist was to Jason Smith in the fourth and Satoransky had two free throws for an 85-81 advantage. He played 19 minutes, his most since Jan. 14.

--No regular starter played more than Beal’s 33 minutes. Gortat logged 21 and Morris 27.  

[RELATED: Wizards complete biggest turnaround from 2-8 start in NBA history]

Quick Links

Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

USA Today Sports Images

Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Bullets legend Wes Unseld excited for Phil Chenier ahead of jersey retirement

Associated Press

Bullets legend Wes Unseld excited for Phil Chenier ahead of jersey retirement

When Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey is raised to the rafters at Capital One Arena on March 23, there will be a lot of emotions for those who have followed his career. There will be a unique sense of pride for his former Bullets teammates who know how integral he was to the franchise's success in the 1970s.

Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, for one, thinks it's not only well-deserved but that it is probably overdue.

"It's about damn time, to be honest with you," he said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "I thought it should have been up there a long time ago. This guy was instrumental in a lot of the success this organization has had over the years."


Chenier and Unseld played nine seasons together with the organization, first in Baltimore and then representing Washington, D.C. Unseld recalls Chenier, a three-time All-Star, as a gifted player on both ends of the court. Many remember Chenier for his shooting abilities and the fact he consistently averaged 20-plus points per game, but Unseld wants everyone to remember the defense as well.

"He was the total player," Unseld said. "He could get into you defensively."

Unseld first met Chenier when he had already made a name for himself and Chenier had yet to set foot on campus of the University of California. It was in San Francisco and Unseld was stopping through on his way to Japan.

They played together in a scrimmage and Chenier was just in high school. 

"They brought this little kid out on the court who looked like he was in the sixth grade. I thought, man, this little kid could play," Unseld said.


It was just four years after that when Chenier joined Unseld on the Bullets as a selection in the hardship draft. Chenier made an instant impact and earned All-Rookie honors for the 1971-72 season.

Unseld still saw Chenier as a kid playing well beyond his years.

"When he came to the team, he looked so young. I remember a few of the older guys said they had to protect this guy because he could carry us. He could give us something that we really needed. We couldn't allow him to get beat up or hurt," Unseld said.

There was one time in particular where Unseld remembers he had to look out for Chenier. They were playing against Walt Bellamy, another NBA Hall of Famer who had previously played for the Bullets. Bellamy would stick his knee out on screens and caught Chenier a few times with the trick.

Chenier was furious and told Unseld in the huddle. Unseld made sure it didn't happen again.

"I sure as hell didn't want him hurting Phil at that time. We needed him," Unseld said. "I just wanted to make sure that if Walt stuck another knee out then it was something we would have to deal with."



Unseld saw Chenier grow up as a basketball player and as a man. He is now thrilled to know that Chenier's jersey will be hanging up along with his and that Chenier will finally get this day he has so long deserved.

Chenier will have many close ones on hand for the ceremony including his kids, grandchildren and longtime friends. Unseld hopes they and all the Wizards fans out there understand how good Chenier truly was.

"It just shows them visually and it tells the rest of the Washingtonian people that they recognize that [Phil] was a pretty damn good player," he said.

Chenier's jersey retirement will take place at halftime on March 23 when the Wizards host the Denver Nuggets.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

You can listen to Wes Unseld's full interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast right here: