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Wizards feel 0-3 start isn't reflective of how good they are

Wizards feel 0-3 start isn't reflective of how good they are

The Wizards' 2016-17 is off to an inauspicious start with three straight losses, including their 113-103 defeat to the Toronto Raptors in their home opener on Wednesday night. In each of the three games the Wizards have played they have fallen to teams that made the playoffs the year before. And in all three games the Wizards had a chance to win.

In their season opener against the Hawks, they had a one-point lead with under 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. In their overtime loss to the Grizzlies, they were up eight with less than four minutes in regulation. And on Wednesday, they were tied with the Raptors with just over six minutes remaining before DeMar DeRozan went off and sealed their fate.

A made shot here or a defensive stop there could have easily changed where the Wizards stand right now. But now they sit 0-3 with another matchup against the Hawks (3-1) set for Friday.

"It's still early. Don't count us out," forward Otto Porter said. "But at the same time, we need to take and learn from these early games and try to fix things. Especially closing games like that, we've gotta find some way to push over the top."

Wednesday's loss to Toronto followed comments made by center Marcin Gortat that the Wizards were facing a must-win situation after dropping their first two games on the road. That reflected the team's sense of urgency, though others would not have chosen those same exact words.

"We're alright. We're fine. I don't know why he said it was a must-win. We want to win the home opener, yeah, but it's not a must-win," point guard John Wall said. "We've gotta find a way to get out of this slump and we can't do it with nobody but the 15 or 16 guys in this locker room and the coaching staff."

The feeling among Wizards players is that their 0-3 record doesn't accurately portray what they are capable of as a team. This is a squad that made the playoffs in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and last season finished a respectable 41-41. They expect to win and still be playing well beyond the regular season.

"It don't reflect us. This is not the kind of start we want to get out to. We worked hard in training camp, we worked hard in practice. This is not a testament to what our team is," Wall said. 

"Only we can get out of it and show people what we really are. We've gotta compete and go out there and win. We're not going to be a team that can outscore people. We can score the ball, but when we defend and rebound the ball, we're a great team. Until we start doing that for 48 minutes, we'll stay in this slump that we're in."

Like Wall, shooting guard Bradley Beal is not letting the losses start to weigh on him quite yet.

"We're still positive. It's still early. We wanted this game bad and nobody's happy. I think that's a positive in itself. I think overall as a team, our spirits are still good. It's still early. We need to focus more and I think we're going to be ready on Friday," he said.

The Wizards have already faced three teams that made last year's postseason and moving forward it won't get much easier. Four of their next five games are against playoff teams, including the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers. 

[RELATED: Wizards didn't defend like it was 'must win' vs. Raptors]

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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.

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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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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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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