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Wizards pull away from Magic 103-91: Five takeaways

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Wizards pull away from Magic 103-91: Five takeaways

One of the surprise teams in the NBA, the Orlando Magic can't figure out the Wizards who beat them for the third time in a row, 103-91, to start the New Year on Friday at Verizon Center in front of 16,986.

The Wizards (15-16) had six players score in double figures led by John Wall's 14th double-double since Dec. 1 and 18th overall (24 points, 13 assists), Otto Porter's third double-double of the season (20 points, 11 rebounds, four steals), Ramon Sessions (13 points, five rebounds, four assists), Kris Humphries (11 points), Garrett Temple (11 points) and Marcin Gortat his 13th double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds).

The Magic (19-14) were led by D.C. native Victor Oladipo (20 points), who came off the bench, and Nikola Vucevic (14 points, seven rebounds).

After Washington came out of the locker room at halftime to take a 12-point lead on a three-pointer from Temple, they went silent and allowed Orlando to tie the score at 72 entering the fourth.

But it was a 15-3 run in the fourth, led by Wall and Humphries, that put this one away and ended the Wizards' two-game losing streak. Humphries scored all of his points in the fourth.

  • After being pounded on the boards in a loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Wizards had the edge (46-39) and were plus-five (12-7) offensively. They also fewer turnovers (10) than Orlando (16). Both of these stats are good signs.

  • It doesn't have to be Porter or rookie Kelly Oubre. It can be both. For the second game in a row, with Porter back in the starting lineup, Oubre shared the court with him and it produced good results. Both are long and defensively capable and both can run the floor. Off of Temple's backdoor cut, he found Oubre in the corner and he made the extra pass to Wall, who took a three-point shot that rimmed off. Then Oubre darted in, timed the carom perfectly for a one-hand putback slam. At the end of the second, Wall drove into the paint and Oubre was left alone for a wide-open three and he cashed in. The movement and activity appears to be at another level with Porter and Oubre together. Oubre made a backdoor cut and got a bounce pass from Sessions for a dunk at 3:51 to give Washington its largest lead 93-81. The rookie, who played all 12 minutes of the fourth with the game on the line, had seven points and five rebounds in 21 minutes though he misfired on two lobs for dunks from Wall.

  • Drew Gooden originally was listed as out by the Wizards, but the 6-10 forward warmed up with the team and played for the first time since Nov. 17. Gooden blocked Evan Fournier to force a 24-second shot-clock violation but that's where his night ended. He picked up three fouls in three minutes. Gooden left the game after the third quarter and didn't return, walking to the locker room with head athletic trainer Eric Waters. He re-injured his right calf and likely will be set back.

  • Jason Smith came off the bench to keep Orlando close with eight points in the first half as he made 4 of 6 shots. Smith, who has had his career hobbled by knee injuries, is a mid-range shooter and Gortat wasn't able to get to him away from the basket in time. When Smith would hear the defensive calls, he'd pop and get open looks which put Gortat in a tough spot. Smith also had a layup to tie the score at 76. In previous meetings, Dewayne Dedmon was called on but he was too undersized to defend in the post. In the fourth, coach Randy Wittman went with Humphries on Smith and then Vucevic and it worked better. He hit consecutive jumpers to give the Wizards an 82-78 lead, blocked Oladipo's drive at the rim and then answered Oladipo's three with a three of his own. The Wizards led 88-81.

  • When Wall left the game, the ball pressure picked up full court. Oladipo disrupted Sessions and got a steal for a breakaway dunk that trimmed Orlando's deficit to  69-67. The pace came out and open shots were tough to come by. Sessions, however, did make 2 of 3 three-point shots as he was left wide open.

 

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It took three minutes for the Wizards and Raptors to get into a Game 3 altercation

It took three minutes for the Wizards and Raptors to get into a Game 3 altercation

WASHINGTON —  It didn't take long for playoff basketball to escalate in the nation’s capital.

Less than three minutes to be exact.

On only the fifth possession of Game 3 between the Wizards and Raptors at Capital One Arena, Wizards forward Markieff Morris and Raptors forward OG Anunoby got tangled up and let their emotions out.

From the initial look it appeared that Morris just got tripped up in setting a screen, but if you look more closely, Anunoby appeared to pull down Morris from the back.

Even though a foul was called, Morris made sure that Anunoby knew his displeasure and even threw an extra shove at Serge Ibaka.

Both Morris and Anunoby received a technical foul after the altercation.

Once again the Wizards getting physical in a playoff series. 

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

THE DRAKE-WIZARDS TRASH TALK WON'T STOP

HISTORIC ODDS FOR TEAMS THAT GO DOWN 0-2

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3

 

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks believes he is partly to blame for Bradley Beal's lackluster scoring output through two games in the team's 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series against Raptors. The head coach said as much following the Wizards' disastrous Game 2 loss and stated it again for clarity at practice on Thursday.

They weren't just throwaway lines. No, Brooks truly meant what he said and followed up those comments with an apology face-to-face. Brooks met with Beal and John Wall in between Games 2 and 3 to see how they can get Beal going and reiterated that some of it all was on the coach.

"He apologized to me, which was weird because he's somebody who always holds me accountable for stuff," Beal said after Friday's shootaround. "I guess he figured I wasn't shooting the ball enough and he thought it was his fault. I don't know."

Beal, who is averaging 14.0 points in two games and scored only nine in Game 2, came away from the meeting with a good understanding of what he needs to do to get back on track. After apologizing, Brooks laid out a strategy in hopes that he, Wall and Beal can all be on the same page moving forward.

They need to get their All-Star shooting guard back to form on the offensive end.

"He just basically challenged me. He challenged me to be more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end," Beal said.

What has made Beal's scoring troubles through two games particularly surprising is how well he played against the Raptors during the regular season. He averaged 28.8 points in four games against Toronto and all were without Wall.

Beal shot 50 percent against the Raptors both from the field and from three. So far this series he's shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range.

Asked whether there is anything he can draw from the regular season to apply to the playoffs, Beal said it's not as easy as it may seem.

"Those games are different. The matchups are different to an extent. It's totally different in the playoffs because you have more time to prep and prepare and gameplan for us," he said. 

"I think the biggest thing is them being physical. They are real physical with me. Whenever I'm standing around on offense or moving around, they are grabbing me. I just need to be physical back with them. Keep moving off the ball and especially if Kyle [Lowry] is guarding me. Tire him out as much as possible. Continue to be aggressive."

Coaches use all sorts of leadership tactics to motivate players. Perhaps an apology will do the trick.

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

HISTORIC ODDS FOR TEAMS THAT GO DOWN 0-2

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3

THE DRAKE-WIZARDS TRASH TALK WON'T STOP