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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 surprising 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 after overcoming considerable odds to regain his form.

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 chances 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.

[RELATED: WALL IS NO LONGER ALLOWED TO DUNK AT WIZARDS PRACTICES]

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.

It was a long road back to this point, but 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, noting he's the healthiest he's been since 2014. "I was telling one of my friends [over the summer] 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 decades-long prison sentence weighed on him. Meanwhile he spent time in the D-League, was traded to the Phoenix Suns and subsequently waived.

"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.

[PODCAST: WHAT'S UP WITH MARKIEFF MORRIS?]

In Scott, Mr. Shut Up and Train - the nickname is too good not to use - 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 $1.7 million.

The deal 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. Scott is reviving his career and it just happens to be with the team located not far from where he grew up in Chesapeake, Va.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]

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Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Nic Batum and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Spectrum Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

On the road again

The Wizards have played eight of their last nine games at home, but that is all about to change. Wednesday night's game against the Hornets will begin a five-game road trip and a stretch where 10 of their next 13 games are out of town. This will be a good test for the Wizards who have won six of their last nine, but still struggle to find consistency from game to game.

The Wizards' troubles against losing teams have been well-documented and this stretch will be an opportunity for them to right some wrongs. They begin with the Hornets, who beat them in their last meeting on Nov. 22. They will also see the Mavs and Hawks soon, two teams that pulled off upsets against them earlier this year.

PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER

Otto needs to get going

The Wizards could use more from Otto Porter who over the past year-plus has proven a capable third scoring option, but has not been providing much in that sense lately. Over his last seven games, Porter is averaging just 8.9 points on 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 20.8 percent from three. He's doing other things well, but the Wizards need more from him on offense.

Porter said he's trying to get his legs back after missing the team's game against the Bucks on Jan. 6, and only so many plays are run for him, but head coach Scott Brooks thinks there is more Porter can do to get himself opportunities. Brooks would like to see Porter get open and shoot more often. He wants Porter to be more aggressive and John Wall said pretty much the same. We'll see how Porter responds in Charlotte.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

Hornets are playing better

It hasn't been a great season overall for the Hornets, who are 17-25 and currently 11th in the Eastern Conference, but they have been playing better lately. The Hornets have won four of their last six games including victories over the Pistons and Jazz. They also beat the Warriors and Bucks in recent weeks.

Kemba Walker has been leading the charge, per usual. Over his last 11 games, Walker is averaging 23.1 points 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals. Four games ago he dropped 41 points on the Mavericks. He will be a handful for Wall, but Wall is also playing very well lately with averages of 25.3 points and 11.0 assists per game in his last eight appearances.

PODCAST: BREAKING DOWN JOHN WALL'S SHOE DEAL

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Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Voting for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game's starters is now closed and though they have not fared well with fan ballots, the chances Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal are picked as reserves seem good.

The All-Star reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks thinks the Wizards should have two representatives.

"They're definitely both having All-Star years," Brooks said. "I can't vote for either one, but they are definitely in my mind two of the best guards in the East."

Wall, 27, is averaging 19.9 points and leads the Eastern Conference with 9.3 assists per game. He also leads all NBA guards with 1.1 blocks per game.

Bradley Beal, 24, is seventh in the East with 23.7 points per game and third among Eastern Conference guards. He is averaging a career-high 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

[PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE]

The 25-19 Wizards are currently in the playoff picture, which should help their cause for two All-Stars. But there is a lot of competition at the guard position.

Beal has done plenty to make the case he should be a first-time All-Star. He leads the Wizards in points and has played in every one of their games.

What could hold Wall back is that his numbers are down from last season and the fact he missed 11 games due to injury.

Brooks, though, thinks he should be in there and that it shouldn't be all that close.

"I think John is the best point guard in the East," he said.

Wall is certainly up there among the best point guards in the conference. His competition would be guys like Kyrie Iriving, Kyle Lowry and maybe Ben Simmons. Wall is a more versatile player than Irving and has better numbers than Lowry or Simmons.

The All-Star starters are announced on Jan. 18 and the full rosters will be revealed on Jan. 23. We'll see if Wall and Beal make the cut.

[PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER]