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Wizards lock down Hornets 109-101: Five takeaways

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Wizards lock down Hornets 109-101: Five takeaways

The old Wizards, who won games with their grit on defense and making teams pay by getting out in transition, reappeared Saturday as they topped the Charlotte Hornets 109-101 in from of 16,987 at Verizon Center.

The victory ends a two-game losing streak and Washington (11-14) did it against one of the NBA's surprise teams in Charlotte (15-11) without Otto Porter (left thigh bruise).

Four starters for the Wizards scored in double figures, led by John Wall who had 20 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, and 12 assists. Garrett Temple set a career-high with 21 points on 7 of 9 shooting, Jared Dudley had season highs of 19 points and nine rebounds and 18 points for Marcin Gortat, including a clutch shot from the baseline to give them a 103-98 edge after Charlotte had cut the deficit to 99-98.

Making his first start as a pro in place of Porter, rookie Kelly Oubre had eight points, five rebounds and one block in 21 minutes. 

The Wizards stretched their lead to as many as 14 in the third quarter despite seven turnovers.

Charlotte was led by Kemba Walker's 18 points, but he shot just 6 of 18, including 1 of 7 on three-pointers. Nic Batum, who was playing limited minutes after coming off missing a game with an illness, had 14 points but shot just 1 of 7 from deep, too. Jeremy Lin had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds off the bench.

Lin was denied on the game's final play as Wall hustled down the court for a chase-down block.

  • Playing with better players, especially when it comes to rookies, makes you better. That was clear with Oubre who scored a career-high 18 points in the Wizards' last game, a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Those were minutes when they mattered and not just garbage time. Oubre had five points and three rebounds in his first six minutes to get Washington out to a good start. Oubre didn't overdribble or attempt to do anything beyond his comfort zone. If it weren't for foul trouble, he would've contributed more. 
  • Without Bradley Beal and Porter in the starting lineup, Wall had to assume more of the scoring load and did so by scoring 11 of Washington's first 20 points as he opened 5 of 7 from the field. He's being bothered by a right ankle sprain that kept him out of practice Friday but still played 42 minutes.
  • Offensive rebounds killed the Wizards early as they gave up nine in the first two quarters. After playing good initial defense, the failure to grab the long rebounds led to so many extra chances. Eighteen of their 51 rebounds were offensive as they took advantage of Gortat having to step out and contest jump shooters and players like Marvin Williams (six) and Cody Zeller (four) slipping inside for putback chances.
  • Wall was tired and coach Randy Wittman had trouble resting him with the roster so thin. With a chance to pull away in the third quarter up 66-59, after Oubre's block of Zeller from behind, Wall had a turnover that produced a layup for Zeller. Then he had a risky pass that Batum that led to Oubre getting his third and fourth fouls and having to go to the bench. Wall had another turnover soon after that on a pass to Temple in the corner that led to Williams' layup that pulled Charlotte to 70-69. And Wall had yet another on a miscommunication with Dudley, who he thought was spotting up for a three. The Wizards led 86-75 after the third quarter, and without half of these giveaways the fourth quarter might've just been garbage time.
  • The three-point defense was finally up to par as the Wizards held them to 10 of 33, or 30.3%. They gave up some second-chance putbacks as a result but this was a pick-your-poison strategy and they opted to eliminate the long ball. Gortat bothered plenty of attempts which pulled him away from the rim and explains his six rebounds. The Wizards are the worst in the NBA at allowing three-point shots, only one of two teams to allow teams to shoot over 40% from deep. This is why they switched on most screens which left Gortat away from the rim. He contested the likes of Walker and Williams very well to force misses.

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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. 

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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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