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Wizards bounce back to beat Lakers with Wall, Beal and Porter all dropping 20-plus points

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Wizards bounce back to beat Lakers with Wall, Beal and Porter all dropping 20-plus points

The Washington Wizards beat the Los Angeles Lakers 111-95 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...

Rebound performance: The Wizards needed this one. After three upset losses in the last few weeks, a stretch bad enough for Marcin Gortat to describe as a s***hole, Washington bounced back with a convincing win over the Lakers on Thursday night and they did it with a much better effort on the defensive end.

Sure, the Lakers aren't a good offensive team. And yeah, they had a tough battle with the Celtics the night before. But the numbers the Wizards held L.A. to speak for themselves. 

The Wizards locked down the Lakers to the tune of 95 points on 36 percent (31-for-86) shooting. That included 13 percent (3-for-23) from three.

Early on the Lakers' guards were getting past the Wizards at the perimeter, but that was corrected in the second half. The Lakers' tired legs may have helped, but the Wizards deserve credit for their response. In winning, they snapped a three-game home losing streak and got a victory after losing five of their last seven games.

The Lakers were one of the teams that snuck up on the Wizards early this season, but Bradley Beal (22 points, six assists, five rebounds), Otto Porter (20 points, 11 rebounds) and others were determined to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

Keef's best game: In his fourth game since returning from sports hernia surgery, Markieff Morris put in what was easily his best outing of the season so far. Morris dropped 16 points to go along with five rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting, all in 17 minutes of work. 

Morris found his groove early with a fadeaway jumper over Kyle Kuzma in the first quarter. He then opened the second half with back-to-back threes. This was despite leaving for the locker room in the first quarter with a stiff left knee. He returned int he second quarter and showed no signs of slowing down.

Morris is one of the best players on the Wizards at getting off his own shot and he looked like himself on Thursday. He won't reach midseason form overnight, but Thursday was a great sign.


Block party: John Wall calls himself the best shot-blocking point guard in NBA history and he sure looked like it in this one. Wall (23 points, eight rebounds, four assists) had three blocks. Two were exceptional plays; the first on Jordan Clarkson and the second on Brandon Ingram. Both were on the fastbreak with Wall playing help defense.

Wall had another block in the third quarter on Kuzma. Wall's three blocks were tied for the third-most in his career for a single game. His career-best is five, set back on Oct. 28, 2015 against the Magic.

Wall also had two steals. Thursday was the 10th time in Wall's career he's had at least two steals and three blocks.

Bench made a run: The Wizards were given a nice boost by their bench, particularly in the second quarter as their lead grew to double digits. Of the Wizards' 22 bench points, 16 of them came in the first half. Tim Frazier had seven points and five assists. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had four points an seven rebounds, though he was 0-for-5 from three.

Up next: The Wizards continue their homestead with a Saturday night matchup against the Hawks. This is a much different team than the Wizards saw just months ago in the playoffs. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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The NBA wants to end the one-and-done rule and the timing is right

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The NBA wants to end the one-and-done rule and the timing is right

The NBA is building momentum towards a significant change in their draft entry rules. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been outspoken about his preference to change the so-called one-and-done rule and on Thursday he met with the newly created Commission on College Basketball in Washington, D.C. to discuss the subject.

The meeting was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who says the league could once again let high school players be drafted. The compromise could be a rule requiring those who go to college to stay for at least two years. That would be similar to Major League Baseball, which stipulates three years of college.

Would a similar rule be a good idea for the NBA? While the players' union would like the option to go straight from high school, there was a reason the one-and-done rule was implemented in the 2006 collective bargaining agreement. The perception back then was that players left for the NBA too early and many flamed out because of it. The thought was that some players would have had better careers if they were older and more experienced when they became professionals.


Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Sebastian Telfair are notorious cases of draft busts who came out of high school. Many wondered if those guys would have been better off with a year in college to adjust to life on their own and with an intermediary step up in competition.

But there are important differences in the NBA's structure nowadays. Now there is a robust minor league system with G-League affiliates all over the country. There are also two-way contracts, allowing teams to pay more money to a prospect and have more flexibility in bringing them up to the NBA. Players don't have to adjust as quickly as they used to.

The G-League is going to continue to expand and the perception keeps changing. Now, it is more common to see players have a stint in the G-League either for development purposes or injury rehabilitation. Player development of baseball players is different, but the MLB's well-established minor league system is the reason why their rule allowing high school players to go pro really works.

The one year in college under the one-and-done rule, however, does have some positives. Most notably, it allows NBA teams to get a better read on draft prospects. Instead of evaluating guys exclusively in high school and AAU, they get to see them play in the ACC, SEC and other big college conferences.

NBA front offices may be hurt by it, but the time is right to go back to high school players entering the pros. Things are much different than they were in 2006 and the league can handle it. Ending the one-and-done rule would be better for the players and it should also make a lot of college basketball fans happy.

That is the good of what the NBA is considering, however, the rule requiring two years of college should not be part of the equation. If the NBA wants to grant some freedom, then actually do it. Some players may need just one year of college and nothing more. Don't punish them for it.

The two-year requirement seems like a very bad idea, but it could be part of the deal. Either way, it seems like the one-and-done rule could come to an end sooner than later and it's for the best.


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Miami Heat

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Miami Heat

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 91-88 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday night at Capital One Arena...

1. The first half didn't feature many highlights for the Wizards, as they managed just 29 points in what was their worst half of the season so far. This play, though, was nice.

Mike Scott hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter:

Scott had only four points in nine minutes.


2. The Wizards had a special guest in attendance. Nationals ace Max Scherzer showed up and was nice enough to join Chris Miller on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast.

This particular part of the interview was funny. Scherzer was asked who would be the best basketball player on the Nats and who would play the dirtiest. Scherzer was honest:

3. The Wizards were down by as many as 25 points, but they made it a game in large part due to Bradley Beal catching fire in the second half. He hit three threes in the third quarter, including this one:

Beal finished with a game-high 26 points.

4. John Wall (eight points) didn't hit his first shot until there was just 5:25 left in the fourth quarter. But his first shot was a big one, a timely three that helped key the WIzards' comeback charge:

5. Wall would hit another three soon after that:

The Wizards had a final shot attempt, but Beal's stepback jumper rimmed out. They are 9-6 on the season with the Raptors up next.