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Wizards bounce back by obliterating Orlando Magic with barrage of threes

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Wizards bounce back by obliterating Orlando Magic with barrage of threes

The Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 130-103 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Taking care of business: Well, that's one way to bounce back.

Following what was arguably their worst loss of the season on Friday night in Brooklyn, the Wizards issued an emphatic correction one night later by annihilating the lowly Orlando Magic.

To be fair, that's exactly what should have happened. The Magic were already missing three starters due to injury and then starting center Nikola Vucevic went down in the first half due to a broken finger.

But bad opponents missing key players have proven to be trouble for the Wizards so far this season. Their nine losses against sub-.500 teams are tied for the most in the NBA. For one night that wasn't the case at all.


The Wizards took control early and had 72 points at halftime, their second-most in a half this season. Their 130 points in the game were a season-high.

Many contributors got involved for the Wizards after no one had it going against the Nets. Bradley Beal was much better with 17 points on 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from three. Otto Porter looked much more like himself in his second game back from a hip injury. He had 17 points and shot 6-for-10. Markieff Morris (16 points, five rebounds) played a big factor, especially early. And the bench chipped in with 65 points.

The Wizards are now 1-4 in the first game of back-to-backs and 4-1 in the second games. Go figure on that one.

Washington moved to 18-15 on the year and 4-2 since John Wall returned from his nine-game absence due to a left knee injury. It hasn't been pretty, but that is an encouraging number.

Three-pointer party: The Wizards rained threes all night to a rare degree. They shot 16-for-30 (53.3%) for the game, just the eighth time in franchise history they have hit 16 threes or more in a game.

Morris brought it: Markieff Morris said recently he felt like things were close to turning around for him and the Wizards. He said he was feeling closer and closer to 100 percent health. It took him a few days, but Morris backed that claim up on Saturday night.

The Wizards went to Morris early and often to help him establish a rhythm and it worked. He cashed in on several post-up opportunities in the first quarter, hit a three in the second and by halftime had 14 points in 15 minutes on 5-for-6 from the field. Those 14 points were the most Morris scored in a game since Dec. 7.

Morris didn't do much in the second half, but the Wizards didn't need him to. His early scoring burst was a big reason why they coasted to a win.


Scott did his thing: It turns out Friday night agains the Nets was indeed an aberration for backup forward Mike Scott. He rebounded convincingly from his 3-for-8 performance with another quick start, something he has become known for. 

Scott came out swinging by making his first four shots including a midrange fadeaway and a three. He had seven points in his first four minutes and 10 by halftime.

Scott ended up with 18 points in 17 minutes, another efficient night. He is now averaging 14.9 points in his last 10 games while shooting 71.6 percent. The dude even got MVP chants in the fourth quarter, another indication he is becoming a fan favorite.

Up next: The Wizards are off Sunday. They then head to Boston for their big Christmas Day showdown against the Celtics. This will be the first meeting between the teams this season and their first since the memorable second round playoff series. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. on ABC, though NBC Sports Washington will have pregame coverage at 5 p.m. with Wizards GameTime.


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Wizards ride huge second half to break through, beat Pistons

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Wizards ride huge second half to break through, beat Pistons

The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 122-112 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Changes were subtle: Many were surprised when head coach Scott Brooks decided to trot out the usual starting lineup after all the talk about making changes following their blowout loss to the Hornets on Wednesday, but that didn't mean Brooks was going to keep everything the same. He did adjust his rotation, it just took him a few minutes.

Center Marcin Gortat played four minutes in the first quarter before sitting the rest of the first half. After Markieff Morris began the game cold and missed his first three threes, Scott pulled him and got creative with his lineups.

Early in the second quarter we saw Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter and Mike Scott in a super small-ball set... and it worked. After the Wizards went down by 15 points, that group exploded back by causing turnovers left and right and took the lead. Even Meeks, who has struggled all season, popped off for six points in his first five minutes.

Whether it was those moves or not, the Wizards came out in the third quarter a different team. They outscored the Pistons 45-28 in the frame and shot 16-for-21.

After going scoreless in the first half, John Wall exploded for 10 points in the third quarter and finished with 16 points and 11 assists for the game. Bradley Beal had 13 points in the third and Gortat had eight. Beal had 26 points for the game and Gortat had 13 points and nine rebounds.

The big third quarter propelled the Wizards to the win. They snapped a two-game slump and improved to 26-20 on the season.


Otto came to play: Brooks ripped into the Wizards following their loss on Wednesday and early on it seemed like most of the players didn't get the message. Porter was a major exception because he came out on fire.

Porter had 11 points, six rebounds and three steals by halftime. He was 3-of-4 from three and was all over the place on both ends of the court.

Porter ended up with 16 points. It was a great sign for the five-year pro, who hadn't reached double figures in six of his previous eight games. If Porter gets going offensively, the Wizards should be in good shape moving forward.

Oubre, too: Oubre gets criticism from time to time about his mistakes on the court, when he gambles on defense or doesn't make the extra pass on offense. But what is never questioned is his effort, so it's no surprise he showed up when Brooks was looking for more energy from his team.

Oubre lit a spark with 11 points in the first half on 4-for-7 from the field in just under 16 minutes. He ended up with a career-high 26 points for the game. He shot 9-for-14 from the field and 5-for-9 from three. He also added five rebounds.

Oubre has been one of the Wizards' most consistent players recently. He has reached double figures in seven straight games and is averaging 16.3 points per game during that stretch.

Oubre has 15 points or more in four straight games, a career-high. This season he has 13 such games compared to seven in his previous two seasons combined. 

If the Wizards continue to struggle in the big picture, Oubre will be knocking on the door to be inserted into the starting lineup. His improvement is also giving the Wizards a lot of options as they approach the trade deadline because if they want to move a starter, he could step right in.

Stocking up: The Wizards beat the Pistons for the third time this season, meaning they took the season series. That could come in handy if the Wizards need a playoff tiebreaker over the Pistons at the end of the season.

Up next: The Wizards are off through the weekend. Their next game is on Monday night at the Dallas Mavericks. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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2018 NBA trade deadline: Hornets are shopping All-Star guard Kemba Walker, report says

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2018 NBA trade deadline: Hornets are shopping All-Star guard Kemba Walker, report says

The Charlotte Hornets are attempting a firesale of sorts with the 2018 NBA trade deadline approaching and have made All-Star point guard Kemba Walker available in talks, according to a report by ESPN.

Walker, 27, is having one of his best seasons with averages of 21.7 points, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is a prolific scorer and is on a team-friendly contract of $12 million per year through next season.

Though many teams have good point guards these days, there should be a strong market for Walker. Teams like the Sixers, Pistons, Clippers, Knicks and Nuggets would seem to be great fits. 


The Pistons stand out in particular. They are currently ninth in the East and their primary point guard Reggie Jackson is hurt. Even when he does play, they need offense and that's what Walker provides.

The Sixers have Markelle Fultz working his way back from a shoulder injury, but have the assets to trade for Walker and could use some help to make a playoff push. The Knicks could use more talent around Kristaps Porzingis and Walker would certainly help.

There are still about three weeks until the Feb. 8 trade deadline and a lot can change before then. But it appears there is another big name readily available on the market.