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While not the center of attention, Gortat's been excellent lately

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While not the center of attention, Gortat's been excellent lately

In the Wizards' 109-89 victory over the Pelicans on Tuesday night, John Wall picked up his second triple-double of the season, while Jared Dudley stifled Anthony Davis on one end of the floor and knocked down six 3's on the other. Both players turned in commendable performances versus New Orleans, and will rightfully receive praise for their efforts.

It was Marcin Gortat, however, who actually led the home team in scoring, and ended up notching his seventh double-double in his past eight games. It wasn't as flashy as Wall's far more rare triple-double or as heavily paid attention to as Dudley's defense against Davis, who dropped 59 a few days prior, but Gortat's recent uptick in performance has certainly coincided with the Wizards' improvement as of late.

"Marcin was really good," said coach Randy Wittman, who at times earlier in the season took issue with the center's production. No such qualms between the two are to be had these days, though, with the Wiz having won four of their last six, and Gortat extending his streak of 14+ points and 9+ rebound outputs to six consecutive contests.

The 32-year-old has been doing things that aren't exactly quantifiable as well. Dudley, who was open from the perimeter on many possessions against the Pelicans, credited Gortat for drawing attention away from him and affording him some easy looks.

"We use Gortat a lot to set a screen, so if they don't switch, which they didn't, I had a couple wide open ones," Dudley said following the 20-point win.

Washington is now 26-29 and set to face the Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday as they try to move themselves further into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. And if Gortat continues to play at the level he's currently at, that task becomes a lot more plausible. He's engaged, he's converting at the rim and he's willing to fight for rebounds — even with his own teammates.

"Sometimes, Gortat gets upset because I'm stealing rebounds, so I try and stay out of the way," Wall said.

Wall was joking, but he may have also passed along some sound advice for other big men around the league who are slated to face Gortat in the near future. With the way he's going, if you're not sure how to stop him, just stay out of the way.

MORE WIZARDS: WASHINGTON MAKES A NEW ADDITION TO THE ROSTER

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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:

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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:

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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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