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Wizards fall to Heat in Miami, lose for first time in preseason

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USA Today Sports

Wizards fall to Heat in Miami, lose for first time in preseason

The Washington Wizards lost to the Miami Heat 117-115 in NBA preseason action on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena.

How it happened:

On Wednesday night, the Heat sat Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside, giving the Wizards yet another matchup that felt even more meaningless than the average preseason game.

While the Heat held out their stars, the Wizards played their regulars. The Wizards, in fact, rode their main rotation guys for the entire game. Tomas Satoransky didn't play and neither did Carrick Felix or Donald Sloan, the two guys fighting for the final roster spot. That was surprising, given the Wizards have a tough decision to make.

RELATED: WHO SHOULD START AT POWER FORWARD?

Jason Smith started at power forward and had his best game of the preseason. He finished with a ridiculous 20 points in 22 minutes on 7-of-8 shooting.

John Wall had 16 points (7-for-12 FG) to go along with eight assists in 26 minutes. Bradley Beal had 15 points and four assists in 27 minutes. Otto Porter had 11 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes despite an uncharacteristic three turnovers. Marcin Gortat had eight points with three rebounds. Oubre finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes.

What it means: 

Judging by Brooks' minutes distribution, the Wizards may have treated this game as their final preseason warmup.

It would not be a surprise if they rested some of their starters on Friday and instead let guys like Felix and Sloan get extended minutes. 

RELATED: WHO IS THE NBA'S BEST POINT GUARD?

Smith finds his stroke: 

Smith hadn't shot well before Wednesday night after breaking out last year as a three-point threat.

Before facing the Heat, Smith was shooting 35.7 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three. Immediately, it was clear things were different in this game. He knocked down his first two threes and was 3-for-4 at the end of the first quarter. By the third quarter he had four threes in his first 15 minutes of play.

Smith's ability to shoot from three allows the Wizards to space out their offense much like they do with Markieff Morris on the floor. There were times when Smith was on the perimeter, spreading out the options for Wall with Beal and Porter also hunting outside looks.

Frazier looks good:

This was the first time we got to see Frazier, who was sidelined from the first three games with a groin strain. He had a heck of a debut with nine assists in 21 minutes.

Frazier found a rhythm early, but was dishing out dimes left and right in the fourth quarter. He had a nice bounce pass to Oubre for a layup and a crisp pass to Mike Scott at the elbow. Frazier also hit a smooth fadeaway with 5:20 left and took a charge with 4:43 remaining. For a guy who has been injured, that was a good example of why Brooks calls him a "gritty" player.

Looking Ahead:

The Wizards head to New York for their fifth and final preseason game. It's set for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Madison Square Garden.

There's a good chance the Wizards rest some of their best players.

We'll see if the Knicks play Kristaps Porzingis.

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Milwaukee Bucks fire head coach Jason Kidd, report says

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USA Today Sports

Milwaukee Bucks fire head coach Jason Kidd, report says

With the Bucks currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee has fired head coach Jason Kidd. Assistant coach Joe Prunty will take over in the interim.

The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Kidd leaves the Bucks in the middle of his fourth season with the team. He took over before the 2014-15 season and has since taken them to two playoff appearances in his three full seasons. The Bucks won just 15 games the year before Kidd took the job.

RELATED: OUBRE IS CHANGING WIZARDS' OUTLOOK

Milwaukee was the sixth seed last season and entered this year with high expectations. With Giannis Antetokounmpo developing into an MVP candidate, eighth place in the East isn't good enough, even if that technically means they would make the playoffs if they began today.

The Bucks are 23-22 and have lost four of their last five. Since beginning the season 15-10, they have gone 8-12.

With the presence of Antetokounmpo and other talented young players like Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker (if he re-signs) and Khris Middleton, the future is bright in Milwaukee from a roster perspective. That makes the vacancy left behind by Kidd an attractive one for prospective coaches. 

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Regardless of what happens this summer, the Bucks' decision has major implications for the Eastern Conference in the short-term. Can Prunty, who has never been a full-time NBA head coach before, jumpstart the Bucks? Or will their struggles continue and this season be chalked up as a down year?

Teams at the top of the East wouldn't mind seeing the Bucks continue to stumble, as they proved a tough out in last year's playoffs and boast one of the best young players in the game.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

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

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

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Smith, Jr., Harrison Barnes and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday 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 DALLAS MAVERICKS

Where: American Airlines Center
Tip-off: 8:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wall and Beal continue to thrive

The Wizards have been inconsistent lately as a team with four losses in their last seven games, but John Wall and Bradley Beal have continued to put up All-Star numbers. Wall in his last 10 games has averaged 23.0 points, 10.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 43.2 percent from three. He's got five games with multiple threes during that stretch.

In Beal's last 10 games he's averaging 26.8 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three. Though the Wizards have dropped some winnable games in recent weeks, the Wizards' two best players have largely been carrying their weight.

RELATED: OUBRE IS CHANGING WIZARDS' OUTLOOK

Payback time?

The Wizards have another opportunity to get back at a team that handed them a regrettable loss. The Mavericks beat the Wizards in Washington on Nov. 7 in one of the first in their long line of defeats to sub-.500 teams. The Wizards lost by 14 that night and little did we know it would be the beginning of a trend that has defined their season so far.

Now the Wizards can get revenge, but they have had major problems doing so against other teams. They lost to the Nets in December and then got blased again by 35 points 10 days later. They got killed by the Jazz by 47 points in December, then lost again in January when they were missing their best player, Rudy Gobert. And the same thing happened against the Hornets. The Wizards lost in November and then again last week. We'll see if the Wizards can punch back this time.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

Mavs are struggling

It has been a long season for the Mavericks, who at 15-31 have the fourth-worst record in all of basketball. They have lost six of their last eight games and rank among the worst teams in the NBA in many categories including points per game (23rd) and defensive rating (21st).

They do have some talent, though. Harrison Barnes is averaging 18.5 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 45.2 percent. Rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. is putting up 14.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game while dunking all over his opponents. Dirk Nowitzki is still knocking down shots with 12.4 points per game on 47.1 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. 

Dallas does have some injuries at the moment. Nerlens Noel is sidelined with a torn ligament in his thumb. Seth Curry has a stress reaction in his left tibia. And Devin Harris could miss the game with a head injury.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS