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Wizards fall to Cavs as LeBron James nets triple-double

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Wizards fall to Cavs as LeBron James nets triple-double

The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-99 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Even depleted, Cavs are a problem: Both teams entered this game without at least one of their best players due to injury, as Otto Porter sat out for the Wizards with a hip contusion. The Cavs, though, were missing Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and despite LeBron James shooting a low percentage, they still had enough to top the Wizards for the second time this season.

It was a testament to Cleveland's depth and it came in the second of a back-to-back set, as the Cavs beat the Jazz in Cleveland on Saturday night. 

It's still early in the season, but the Wizards were reminded on Sunday how they still have work to do to catch the Cavs. They are close enough to give Cleveland a worthy challenge, but the Cavs can win in so many ways.

A different LeBron: The Wizards had no answer for LeBron in the first matchup between these teams this season. Back on Nov. 3, he pummeled them for 57 points, the second-most in his illustrious career. LeBron shot an insane 23-for-34 from the field.

This time the Wizards had much better luck despte employing a similar defensive strategy. In the first matchup, they guarded him one-on-one and LeBron feasted off of fadeaway midrange jumpers. In this game those just weren't falling for him.

Before the game head coach Scott Brooks suggested the Wizards would guard him similarly, noting they will usually live with long twos, knowing the percentages. It worked this time.

To be fair, it seemed like a relatively off-night in general for LeBron scoring-wise, as he finished with 20 and had just 13 points after three quarters. He shot just 8-for-23 from the field.

Perhaps it was the product of the Cavs playing the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Jazz in Cleveland on Saturday. All that said, he still had a triple-doube with 15 assists and 12 rebounds.

But just look at this highlight for example. He traveled twice on the same play.

That's very unusual, even for a guy like LeBron who is known for getting away with travels. 

With LeBron having to beat the Wizards with his passing, Kevin Love was a benefactor. He stepped up to drop 25 points and shoot 5-for-8 from three.


Wall moves up the list: John Wall (15 points, 10 rebounds) moved up the Wizards/Bullets' franchise all-time scoring list by passing not one but two former Bullets legends in the first half. He pushed past Phil Chenier and Gus Johnson to now own sole possession of fifth place in franchise history. The four ahead of him are Elvin Hayes, Jeff Malone, Wes Unseld and Kevin Loughery. Loughery is only 46 points ahead of Wall, so he should be in fourth very soon. 

Porter didn't play: Porter was considered a gametime decision after getting elbowed in his right hip on Friday night against the L.A. Clippers. He wasn't able to go, however, and missed his second game of the season. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points, eight rebounds) started in his place and did exactly what the Wizards didn't want him to do, he got in early foul trouble.

After picking up two fouls in about 4:30 of gametime, Oubre had to take a seat and Coach Brooks had to get creative. He played Tomas Satoransky and Mike Scott some at the three for much of the rest of the first half. Oubre finished with four fouls, but only gave the Wizards 29 minutes and probably would have played more if he stayed out of foul trouble.

Scott remains hot: Another day, another big game for Scott off the Wizards' bench. With 19 points against the Cavs, he now has 99 over has last seven games while shooting 42-for-57. That's quite good.

Up next: The Wizards stay home to host Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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