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Wizards drop Spurs on Beal's game-winner: Five takeaways


Wizards drop Spurs on Beal's game-winner: Five takeaways

After blowing a 17-point lead in the first quarter and trailing by as many as 12 in the second half, John Wall and Bradley Beal made plays in the fourth to give the Wizards their first significant victory of the season, 102-99, in front of 17,721 at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

Wall had 17 points, including a three-pointer to tie the score at 90 with 3:52 left in the game, a game-high 12 assists and three steals. His foul shot with 51 seconds left put them ahead 97-96. His two free throws with 18 seconds left made the margin 99-96.

Tony Parker's three-pointer tied the score at 99 but it was Beal's three-pointer on Wall's final assist with 0.3 seconds left for the winner.

The Wizards, who had lost 17 in a row to the Spurs going into last season, have now won two of three.

Beal had a game-high 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals followed by Otto Porter with 19 points, Marcin Gortat 10 points and eight rebounds and Gary Neal came off the bench with nine points. 

The Wizards (3-1) began with a 19-2 run, but by the end of the first quarter after a pair of foul shots by Kyle Anderson the Spurs were ahead 23-22.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 23 points, 18 coming in the first half, and nine rebounds. Parker had 17 points, Manu Ginobili had 12, Danny Green 12 and LaMarcus Aldridge 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

RELATED: Wall connects with Humphries for dunk in transition

Leonard had two chances to give the Spurs the lead in the final 30 seconds but he missed consecutive jump shots.

In his first game back in D.C. after leaving in free agency, Rasual Butler sparked the Spurs with six points, two assists and two blocks in nine minutes.

The Wizards only had 10 turnovers which led to seven points for San Antonio (3-2). The Spurs had 21 that resulted in 28 points for Washington, which had a 24-17 edge on the fast break. 

  • Forget the talk about how Aldridge is the difference-maker for the Spurs. He's another cog in the machine that helps ease the transition from 39-year-old Duncan. Leonard is the best player on the team -- on both ends of the floor -- and it's not even close. When the Wizards cut the deficit to 41-39, Leonard scored eight of the next 10 points. Two came off a steal from Beal.

  • Porter is a utility player who does a little bit of everything. But he had to score to keep the doors from being blown off. He had 15 points in the first half to match Leonard's output and help keep the Wizards close. Porter doesn't have to be this player every time out, but he has to show this aggressive streak to keep the defense honest. The Wizards trailed 51-39 and Porter responded with four consecutive points to trim the deficit going into half 51-47. 

  • Gortat is content to set screens so Beal and Wall can get free, but it's time for him to contribute in other ways. He picked up two quick fouls which limited him in this one. He went to the bench with 9:55 left in the first quarter (the second foul was assessed as Parker drove, leaned to get around Gortat's block attempt and fell on his own). Gortat had two shot attempts in the first half. The Wizards went to him immediately in the third quarter but he missed both shots. Gortat took nine shots, getting two in the fourth from running the floor and Wall finding him in the lane.

  • This floor spacing has helped Beal immensely. Even with Leonard, probably the NBA's best perimeter defender on him, Beal was able to get loose and attack the rim. 

  • Kris Humphries still looks out of sync in the starting lineup. He was better with seven points and six rebounds but still was indecisive. Putting the ball on the floor and taking a pull up jumper is not the strength of his game. Humphries has to take the shot if he's open or move the ball immediately for the best results. He didn't play in the fourth.

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall shows off custom aquarium

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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