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Wizards avoided making situation much worse by not retaliating against Bobby Portis

Wizards avoided making situation much worse by not retaliating against Bobby Portis

How the Wizards reacted to Bulls forward Bobby Portis' flagrant foul on Tomas Satoransky on Saturday night could have created a much different conversation over the past few several days.

After Portis hooked Satoransky's arm, Satoransky lost control in the air and slammed his head on the court. It was a vicious fall and one Satoransky's teammates immediately knew was bad. Otto Porter rushed over and Kelly Oubre, Jr. followed. Porter and Marcin Gortat then waved to the Wizards bench across the court to alert the training staff.

While all that was going on, not one player retaliated. Portis continued to walk slowly around the court, apparently not caring much about Satoransky's well-being, something Satoransky noticed after the fact. 

But nobody went after Portis, and here's why that's interesting. For one, it is uncharacteristic of the Wizards. Usually, they are quick to defend themselves.


There are several examples like Oubre when he shoved Kelly Olynyk down during the Wizards-Celtics playoff series last spring, Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal when Beal got tangled with Draymond Green in a game at the Warriors in October and last March when Brandon Jennings and Jason Smith got into a tussle with the Phoenix Suns. Along the way there have been other minor incidents to point to as well.

This time, however, they did nothing and truthfully they could not have picked a better time to keep the peace. All of those incidents above resulted in ejections and/or suspensions and the Wizards can't afford to lose anyone right now. 

Satoransky was hurt by the fall and he was the third Wizards point guard to go out, as John Wall remains sideliend by a left knee injury and Tim Frazier suffered a broken nose earlier in the same game. That's all on top of a host of players being sick.

Morris missed the Bulls game, Ian Mahinmi left after playing one half and Jason Smith missed Monday's practice with a similar illness. The Wizards also gave Beal a day to rest, which left them with seven players in practice. It was so dire that a Wizards staffer had to play point guard. So did Porter and Oubre at times.


The Wizards are still determining the status of Satoransky and Frazier for Wednesday against the Knicks, their final game before the All-Star break. The break is coming at a good time, if they can get through this last game. Imagine if a player or two were suspended. That would certainly compound the problem.

"You don't want to put yourself in a position where you're going to miss games with a fight or anything like that," head coach Scott Brooks said. "You want to protect your teammates, but you want to make sure you don't lose your cool or temper."

As for why the Wizards kept their cool and didn't go after Portis, there are some theories. Maybe it was the product of a concerted effort to control emotions, knowing the team is already down a few players and can't afford to lose anymore. Maybe the players on the court were so shocked by Satoransky's fall that rushing to his aid took precedent over anything else.

Maybe, as some have pointed out, the fact Portis was the guy changed the dynamic. He is after all known to have a screw loose and did knock famously knock out his teammate Nikola Mirotic earlier this season. Some NBA players are tougher than others and he is near the top of the list of guys you don't want to mess with.


Another theory is that the fact Morris wasn't there prevented the conflict from escalating. Morris prides himself as the Wizards' enforcer and his teammates love him for it. Whenever things get chippy, he usually steps in and regulates.

Sometimes he calms down the situation, sometimes he does not but you can always count on him being quick to join the party. Even when Morris was injured and in a suit, he ran onto the court and helped Beal engage with Green during the Wizards-Warriors scuffle. 

Regardless, the Wizards have to feel very good about their reaction in hindsight because they didn't put themselves in jeopardy of punishment from the league. There were no fines and no suspensions. Perhaps we will see something go down the next time these teams play on April 1, but for now the Wizards deserve credit for keeping a level head in what could have been a much worse situation.


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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

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Wizards lose again, this time to Nuggets as offense falls flat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Denver Nuggets 108-100 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another loss: It is becoming more and more clear that the Wizards need a shot in the arm, something to change the direction of where they are currently heading.

Whether that will come in the form of All-Star point guard John Wall returning from his months-long absence, an adjustment to their lineup or strategy, or something else entirely, the losses are piling up and at a tough time in the season.

With another loss on Friday night, their seventh in their last 11 games, the Wizards are now 40-32. They have plenty of room to still clinch a playoff berth, as their magic number stands at two, but they only have 10 games left to secure their all-important playoff seed.

Both the Pacers and Cavaliers, two teams just ahead of them in the playoff race, won on Friday.

The Wizards lost their second straight game and again offense was their problem. They scored 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers.

Big third quarter: The Denver Nuggets have emerged as a team on the rise, a young squad with burgeoning stars that could someday soon make some noise in the Western Conference. The reason is because they are very good on offense. Defense is a much different story.

That was not the case on Friday night, as the Wizards had all sorts of trouble scoring in three of their four quarters. They managed just 43 points by halftime, the fewest the Nuggets have allowed in a first half since Jan. 27.

The Wizards, though, did get cooking in the third quarter. They erupted for 33 points in the frame while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three. Markieff Morris, who finished with 17, had 11 points in the third quarter and Bradley Beal (24 points) hit three threes.

The Wizards also found a solution for Jamal Murray, one of the Nuggets' brightest young stars. He had 20 points at halftime, but went scoreless in nine minutes in the third quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (15 points) was among those who gave him trouble. Murry finished with 25.

The big third quarter reflected well on the Wizards' ability to make adjustments, but their 24-point fourth quarter flipped the script again.


Didn't force mistakes: The first time these teams squared off back in October, the Wizards forced the Nuggets into 23 turnovers. This game was a very different story. 

The Nuggets didn't commit their first turnover until midway through the second quarter and had only three by halftime. They had just 10 turnovers for the game.

Denver deserves some credit for limiting their mistakes, but all of it did not reflect well on the Wizards' defense. They didn't put enough pressure on the ball and failed to disrupt passing lanes like they usually do. It was uncharacteristic, as the Wizards entered the game 10th in average turnovers forced.

Not creating mistakes allowed the Nuggets to get way to many field goal attempts. Though they shot just 43.5 percent, Denver managed 108 points. And not getting turnovers offered the Wizards few opportunities for easy transition buckets.

Turnovers were one issue with the Wizards' defense. So was defending the perimeter, as the Nuggets shot 17-for-34 (50%) from long range.


Special night: Halftime offered a memorable moment in franchise history as legendary player and broadcast Phil Chenier had his No. 45 jersey retired by the team. His longtime broadcaster and friend Steve Buckhantz hosted the ceremony with about 20 friends and family members of Chenier's seated behind him. Buckhantz had opening comments, then majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke as everyone in the crowd stood and cheered.

Then, it was Chenier's time to talk. He thanked his former teammates, members of the organization and those close to him. He kept his composure until the very end when he brought up his mother, Peggy, who could not make the event. Chenier choked up and wiped away tears as he described what she has meant to him in his life.

It was a powerful moment and a great ceremony to honor a guy who has impacted the lives of many in the D.C. area. Now, his No. 45 will hang up in the rafters forever. That banner, by the way, features a picture of a microphone and the phrase '33 years,' signifying how long he was the color analyst for Bullets and Wizards games.


Up next: The Wizards do not have a game Saturday, though they are going to practice and Wall is expected to take a big step forward in his rehab. Their next game is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington when they host the Knicks. That will also be a special game, as the Wizards are set to honor the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship.

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

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