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Wizards hope for better start against Celtics than they had vs. Bulls

Wizards hope for better start against Celtics than they had vs. Bulls

The Wizards' 101-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night extended their home winning streak to 10 games and pushed them past the .500 mark for the first time this season, yet in many ways it wasn't pretty. It was a win, but also a learning lesson moving forward.

They were playing a Bulls team that was missing its two best players in Jimmy Butler (illness) and Dwyane Wade (rest), as well as one of its best bench scorers in Nikola Mirotic (illness). Still, the Bulls were able to hold a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter (36-26) and at halftime (61-49). The NBA's worst three-point shooting team, Chicago hit 8-of-10 from long range in the first half. Rookie Denzel Valentine set a career-high by halftime with 14 points.

It was not an ideal start by any stretch.

"We figured Jimmy [Butler] wasn’t playing, D-Wade wasn’t playing, the game was going to be easy," guard Bradley Beal said. "Those games are probably the hardest ones to play in. We just have to do a better job of locking in, but a win is a win at the end of the day."

"They're still NBA players. I think in the first half we disrespected them, and laid down," forward Markieff Morris said. "They had thirty-six in the first quarter, like I said without their two best players, and that's unacceptable." 

Morris went on to describe the first half as "horrible." Head coach Scott Brooks used the word "exhausting" in his assessment. The game ultimately resulted in a win, but what happened on Tuesday night has hurt them before.

On Sunday in Milwaukee, they barely beat the Bucks despite Giannis Antetokounmpo not playing. Seven times this year have they allowed at least 60 points in the first half, including to struggling teams like the Heat, Nets, Mavericks and Magic. They are 2-5 in those games. The Wizards, in fact, are 2-12 in games they allow 57 points or more in the first half.

In order to win a game after giving up so much in the first two quarters, much has to change in the second half, like on Tuesday when they held the Bulls to just 38 total points in the third and fourth quarters. Chicago shot just 2-of-17 from three in the second half, including 0-for-9 in the third quarter.

"They were just too comfortable. In the first half, we just allowed them to do whatever they wanted. They were freelancing, getting to the basket, knocking down threes, getting comfortable," Beal said. "In the second half we just wanted to pressure them [and] make them play our style of game, and force them to play our hand."

The Wizards now move on to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday night in the second game of a back-to-back set. The Wizards are 1-6 in those scenarios this season.

"Boston's a good team. If we play like this, it will be hard to win," Brooks said.

[RELATED: Wall to Bulls' Valentine: 'You woke a monster']

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The NBA wants to end the one-and-done rule and the timing is right

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The NBA wants to end the one-and-done rule and the timing is right

The NBA is building momentum towards a significant change in their draft entry rules. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been outspoken about his preference to change the so-called one-and-done rule and on Thursday he met with the newly created Commission on College Basketball in Washington, D.C. to discuss the subject.

The meeting was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who says the league could once again let high school players be drafted. The compromise could be a rule requiring those who go to college to stay for at least two years. That would be similar to Major League Baseball, which stipulates three years of college.

Would a similar rule be a good idea for the NBA? While the players' union would like the option to go straight from high school, there was a reason the one-and-done rule was implemented in the 2006 collective bargaining agreement. The perception back then was that players left for the NBA too early and many flamed out because of it. The thought was that some players would have had better careers if they were older and more experienced when they became professionals.

[RELATED: WILL JOHN WALL MISS GAMES WITH HIS KNEE INJURY?]

Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Sebastian Telfair are notorious cases of draft busts who came out of high school. Many wondered if those guys would have been better off with a year in college to adjust to life on their own and with an intermediary step up in competition.

But there are important differences in the NBA's structure nowadays. Now there is a robust minor league system with G-League affiliates all over the country. There are also two-way contracts, allowing teams to pay more money to a prospect and have more flexibility in bringing them up to the NBA. Players don't have to adjust as quickly as they used to.

The G-League is going to continue to expand and the perception keeps changing. Now, it is more common to see players have a stint in the G-League either for development purposes or injury rehabilitation. Player development of baseball players is different, but the MLB's well-established minor league system is the reason why their rule allowing high school players to go pro really works.

The one year in college under the one-and-done rule, however, does have some positives. Most notably, it allows NBA teams to get a better read on draft prospects. Instead of evaluating guys exclusively in high school and AAU, they get to see them play in the ACC, SEC and other big college conferences.

NBA front offices may be hurt by it, but the time is right to go back to high school players entering the pros. Things are much different than they were in 2006 and the league can handle it. Ending the one-and-done rule would be better for the players and it should also make a lot of college basketball fans happy.

That is the good of what the NBA is considering, however, the rule requiring two years of college should not be part of the equation. If the NBA wants to grant some freedom, then actually do it. Some players may need just one year of college and nothing more. Don't punish them for it.

The two-year requirement seems like a very bad idea, but it could be part of the deal. Either way, it seems like the one-and-done rule could come to an end sooner than later and it's for the best.

[PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL GOES 1-ON-1]

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Miami Heat

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Miami Heat

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 91-88 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday night at Capital One Arena...

1. The first half didn't feature many highlights for the Wizards, as they managed just 29 points in what was their worst half of the season so far. This play, though, was nice.

Mike Scott hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter:

Scott had only four points in nine minutes.

[RELATED: WILL JOHN WALL MISS GAMES WITH HIS INJURY?]

2. The Wizards had a special guest in attendance. Nationals ace Max Scherzer showed up and was nice enough to join Chris Miller on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast.

This particular part of the interview was funny. Scherzer was asked who would be the best basketball player on the Nats and who would play the dirtiest. Scherzer was honest:

3. The Wizards were down by as many as 25 points, but they made it a game in large part due to Bradley Beal catching fire in the second half. He hit three threes in the third quarter, including this one:

Beal finished with a game-high 26 points.

4. John Wall (eight points) didn't hit his first shot until there was just 5:25 left in the fourth quarter. But his first shot was a big one, a timely three that helped key the WIzards' comeback charge:

5. Wall would hit another three soon after that:

The Wizards had a final shot attempt, but Beal's stepback jumper rimmed out. They are 9-6 on the season with the Raptors up next.

[RELATED: WIZARDS STORM BACK, BUT LOSE TO HEAT]