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Wizards players voice disagreement with President Donald Trump, will discuss national anthem response

Wizards players voice disagreement with President Donald Trump, will discuss national anthem response

The Washington Wizards' 2017-18 media day came at an interesting time on Monday, fresh off a weekend where President Donald Trump crossed over into sports to create controversy in both the NBA and NFL. Several Wizards players had voiced their displeasure with what Trump said about Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry on social media. On Monday, they were offered the opportunity to speak in-depth and without constrictive 140-character limits.

Shooting guard Bradley Beal, for one, had some strong words for Trump, who resides just blocks from where the Wizards play their games.

"If we can't exercise our freedom of speech, then what are the amendments for? I know he's president, but at the same time I don't support anything that he represents or what he's doing," Beal said.

"Honestly, that's not a leader. For you to come out and for one disrespect a whole sport the whole world loves and call people by the names SOBs, that's out of pocket to me. You have guys who won a championship and they have the freedom of deciding whether or not they want to go. One man decides he doesn't want to go, how in the world can you just take it away? That doesn't make any sense to me. To me, you're a clown. That's unacceptable. That's not what a leader does. Your job is to bring everybody together. Since you've gotten in office, that hasn't been the case. There are so many things going on in the world. Puerto Rico doesn't have water or power and they're part of the U.S. You're focused on guys kneeling for the national anthem."

Point guard John Wall was brief in his comments, but he made it clear he is not a fan of how the president has handled the last few days.

"I don't like anything that he's been saying. I don't respect it," Wall said. "We have bigger issues in this world that you need to focus on than somebody taking a knee."

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Kaepernick and protests of the national anthem were a big deal last season as well. The Wizards decided to show solidarity by locking arms during the national anthem before games. But after Trump's recent comments calling Kaepernick a "son of a b****," those protests have taken on new forms in the NFL and other sports.

Head coach Scott Brooks says there will be a conversation between him and the WIzards players on how they will respond.

"I haven't had any discussions with the team as of yet, but there definitely will be discussions. It's a hot topic right now and rightfully so," Brooks said. "We've always done things together. I think it's stronger when you do it in a group setting. Whatever we decide on, we're going to do it together."

Those who are from other countries were also asked about Trump on Monday at Capital One Arena. Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi each have unique perspectives being from Europe, but as residents of Washington, D.C. who make their living in the United States.

Mahinmi said it has been an interesting time in his family, as his wife and daughters were all born in the U.S. Gortat didn't say much, other than he's happy with the president he has back home in Poland.

"I'm truly grateful for a great president in my country," Gortat said with a chuckle. "It's tough. I will say that I'm truly proud of the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and what he stands for and what he represents."

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Finally healthy, Mike Scott continues to be the surprise of the Wizards' 2017-18 season

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Finally healthy, Mike Scott continues to be the surprise of the Wizards' 2017-18 season

Nothing about the 2017-18 season for the Washington Wizards so far has been more surprsing than the emergence of Mike Scott, a six-year NBA veteran who through two months is on pace to have the best season of his NBA career.

Scott continued to boost the Wizards with 22 points in a win against the Clippers on Friday night. That matched a season-high and his most since April of 2014. 

In his past six games, Scott has piled up 80 points on a ridiculous 34-for-43 (79 percent) from the field. Scott admits it's the best stretch of his career and he's even surprising himself.

"I honestly didn't think I'd be shooting or playing like this, either," he said.

No one can blame Scott for not expecting this. The odds of him reaching this point seemed slim just months ago.

Scott was once a rotation mainstay with the Atlanta Hawks after joining them as a 2012 second round pick out of the University of Virginia. By his third season Scott was an important bench piece for a 60-win team on one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.

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But then several events happened that threatened Scott's NBA career. He had a host of injuries to his left leg beginning in the 2014-15 season, including to his toe, ankle and knee. Scott had surgery to repair his left ankle in July of 2015 and afterwards had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment to help it heal.

Now he's healthy and able to be himself on the court.

"My ankle's feeling great, my knee's feeling great, my leg is feeling great," he said, nothing he's the healthiest he's been since 2014. "I was telling one of my friends that if I'm healthy, everything else will take care of itself."

Throughout his injury saga, matters were complicated by a felony drug arrest in July of 2015. That took two years to settle and it helped contribute to a down season in 2015-16 and the worst year of his career in 2016-17.

Though he beat the case, the potential of a long prison sentence weighed on him. Meanwhile he spent time in the D-League, was traded to the Phoenix Suns and subsequently cut loose.

"I rested my body and sulked. The court stuff wasn't over yet," he said. "I just sulked and got down on myself."

Scott's weight ballooned to 268 pounds. Sensing his NBA career was in the balance, Scott turned to two men to help him get back on track, a basketball coach named Mark Edwards and a trainer who goes by the alias Mr. Shut Up and Train. His real name is Rahman Grayson and he's worked with other NBA players like Jaylen Brown.

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In Scott, Mr. Shut Up and Train has quite the success story. He helped Scott drop 30 pounds in a matter of months, just in time to work out for the Wizards and earn a veteran's minumum contract worth $1.3 million.

The was basically a lottery ticket for the Wizards. They knew the player Scott once was and needed help on their bench. It was low risk, but potentially high reward.

So far they are getting the latter. Scott is averaging 8.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and is shooting a career-best 57.2 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three.

"He's great. He's a warrior," guard Bradley Beal said. "We played against him in the past and he hurt us in some ways, but we're happy to have him for sure."

Beal, though, has just one bone to pick. Back in 2015, Scott dunked on Beal in Atlanta and Beal still isn't quite over it. Now they have lockers close to each other in the Wizards' locker room.

"I was a fan of him, but I didn't like when he dunked on me a couple years ago. I gotta sit next to him and deal with it all the time," Beal said.

And on Friday night against L.A., Scott threw one down that caused flashbacks for Beal.

"Even tonight, the dunk he had, I said 'you've gotta get a new dunk' because that brings back some bad memories," Beal said.

Beal and the Wizards are just glad Scott is on their side now. A Virginia-native, Scott is reviving his career and it is benefitting his hometown team.

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Wizards hold on to edge Clippers for second straight win

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Wizards hold on to edge Clippers for second straight win

The Washington Wizards beat the Los Angeles Clippers 100-91 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Win is a win: Playing down to lesser opponents has been an unfortunate trend for the Wizards all season and it was enough for head coach Scott Brooks to reference before Friday's game how they had a losing record against teams with losing records. For the second straight game they got a win, but did so the hard way.

This time it was the (11-16) Clippers and the Wizards made things much more difficult than they needed to. After leading by as much as 18 points, the Clippers hung around and cut the lead down to a tie in the fourth quarter.

The lead was lost mostly when head coach Scott Brooks used a lineup of Tim Frazier, Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, Markieff Morris and Ian Mahinmi. Brooks then brought John Wall (14 points, five assists, six rebounds), Bradley Beal (20 points, 10 assists) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (eight points, seven rebounds) in and they couldn't stop the bleeding initially.

That group, though, made the final push towards victory. Oubre converted a four-point play with 3:11 remaining and Wall followed that with a three-point play on a fadeaway with 1:51 left.

The Wizards tied their season series against the Clippers after losing in L.A. last Saturday. Washington is now 16-13 on the season as they get set for a big matchup with Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, who dropped 57 on them in the first meeting back in November.

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World's Best Boss: Mike Scott might officially be unstoppable. The Threegional Manager lit it up again and for the second time this season against the Clippers.

Scott poured in 22 points in 24 minutes on 9-for-10 shooting, tying a season-high (also vs. the Clippers) and his most since the 2013-14 season. In his last six games, he's scored 80 points and shot 34-for-43. Despite being signed to a veteran minimum contract over the summer, Scott has emerged as their most consistent scorer off the bench. He's a big reason why their second unit has improved year-over-year.

Scott got started early with his usual mix of midrange jumpers. He cashed in post opportunities and hit a pair of threes. By halftime, he had 12 points and was 5-for-5 from the field.

Scott also did something he hadn't done yet this season, throw down a big dunk. This looks like the guy from a few years ago who was a force for the Atlanta Hawks:

Sato still the guy: Satoransky was the primary backup point guard again for the Wizards. He played 19 minutes, while Frazier only got three. Satoransky played much better in his second showing with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and three assists. He helped lead the Wizards on a nice push in the first half to build a double-digit lead.

Morris, Mahinmi returned: The Wizards were at full-strength for the first time this month on Friday, as both Markieff Morris and Mahinmi returned from their brief injury absence. Morris was nursing a host of minor injuries including a sore right hip. He was a late scratch for Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies and came back after missing one game. Mahinmi missed two games with a right knee strain and was cleared as a gametime decision.

Morris was okay with eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes as he battled foul trouble. Mahinmi had three points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Porter not so lucky: The Wizards were fully healthy for about three minutes of game time as starting small forward Otto Porter left with a right thigh contusion. He first had his right leg stretch and examined by trainers in front of the Wizards' bench, but soon after he exited to the locker room and never returned. A contusion doesn't sound serious, but it was enough to make him miss most of this game.

Up next: The Wizards take Saturday off before hosting the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Tipoff is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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