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Wizards hold on to edge Clippers for second straight win

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Wizards hold on to edge Clippers for second straight win

The Washington Wizards beat the Los Angeles Clippers 100-91 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Win is a win: Playing down to lesser opponents has been an unfortunate trend for the Wizards all season and it was enough for head coach Scott Brooks to reference before Friday's game how they had a losing record against teams with losing records. For the second straight game they got a win, but did so the hard way.

This time it was the (11-16) Clippers and the Wizards made things much more difficult than they needed to. After leading by as much as 18 points, the Clippers hung around and cut the lead down to a tie in the fourth quarter.

The lead was lost mostly when head coach Scott Brooks used a lineup of Tim Frazier, Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, Markieff Morris and Ian Mahinmi. Brooks then brought John Wall (14 points, five assists, six rebounds), Bradley Beal (20 points, 10 assists) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (eight points, seven rebounds) in and they couldn't stop the bleeding initially.

That group, though, made the final push towards victory. Oubre converted a four-point play with 3:11 remaining and Wall followed that with a three-point play on a fadeaway with 1:51 left.

The Wizards tied their season series against the Clippers after losing in L.A. last Saturday. Washington is now 16-13 on the season as they get set for a big matchup with Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, who dropped 57 on them in the first meeting back in November.


World's Best Boss: Mike Scott might officially be unstoppable. The Threegional Manager lit it up again and for the second time this season against the Clippers.

Scott poured in 22 points in 24 minutes on 9-for-10 shooting, tying a season-high (also vs. the Clippers) and his most since the 2013-14 season. In his last six games, he's scored 80 points and shot 34-for-43. Despite being signed to a veteran minimum contract over the summer, Scott has emerged as their most consistent scorer off the bench. He's a big reason why their second unit has improved year-over-year.

Scott got started early with his usual mix of midrange jumpers. He cashed in post opportunities and hit a pair of threes. By halftime, he had 12 points and was 5-for-5 from the field.

Scott also did something he hadn't done yet this season, throw down a big dunk. This looks like the guy from a few years ago who was a force for the Atlanta Hawks:

Sato still the guy: Satoransky was the primary backup point guard again for the Wizards. He played 19 minutes, while Frazier only got three. Satoransky played much better in his second showing with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and three assists. He helped lead the Wizards on a nice push in the first half to build a double-digit lead.

Morris, Mahinmi returned: The Wizards were at full-strength for the first time this month on Friday, as both Markieff Morris and Mahinmi returned from their brief injury absence. Morris was nursing a host of minor injuries including a sore right hip. He was a late scratch for Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies and came back after missing one game. Mahinmi missed two games with a right knee strain and was cleared as a gametime decision.

Morris was okay with eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes as he battled foul trouble. Mahinmi had three points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Porter not so lucky: The Wizards were fully healthy for about three minutes of game time as starting small forward Otto Porter left with a right thigh contusion. He first had his right leg stretch and examined by trainers in front of the Wizards' bench, but soon after he exited to the locker room and never returned. A contusion doesn't sound serious, but it was enough to make him miss most of this game.

Up next: The Wizards take Saturday off before hosting the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Tipoff is Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Last night's Washington Wizards comeback would not have happened had it not been for the team's blowout third quarter. 

Of course, you can say that literally about any quarter, but if you take away the third, the Toronto Raptors outscored Washington easily, 78-66.

The Wizards won by eight and this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a performance of this magnitude from this bunch.

In that frame alone in Game 4, the Wizards broke out to 40 points, the same amount they had in the first two quarters combined. As a team, they shot 65 percent and 83 percent from deep (5-for-6).

By far that was their best offensive quarter of this series.

Of course, Bradley Beal got his due, 12 points including three 3pters, but for the first time this series, Otto Porter Jr. became a threat on the offensive end of the court.

The 6-8 forward scored 10 of his 12 points, all of which came in a 26-14 run. First, he started with back-to-back three-pointers, both in the tail end of a transition, both a feed from John Wall. One came from the corner and the other came off of a screen that ended up being a close contest from OG Anunoby.

That run resulted in the Wizards’ first lead of the game from a corner three courtesy of Beal.

Speaking of Anunoby, he was silent in that quarter for the Raptors. Granted in the first half he was taken off the court after getting pinned under Marcin Gortat, but the Raptors’ guard played for nine minutes and the only thing he recorded on the stat sheet was a foul.

Serge Ibaka, who has also been a pain in the Wizards’ side also disappeared. One rebound, two points from the free throw line, and one block was all that the 6-10 forward managed. With Porter on the court and producing, it pushed Ibaka to set up outside the paint, clearing the lane for Wall to generate movement on the offense.

All this being said, Toronto actually didn’t have a bad quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field and DeMar DeRozan had 14 points.

But the Wizards were simply better. They out-shot one of the best all-around offensive teams in the league.

Rolling with the punches in transition, not passing up open looks, Wall dealing out six assists; that is the Wizards’ team that knocked off some of the top teams in the NBA this year. No one shot more than five times in the quarter and the team combined for 10 assists on the 15 made baskets.

They erased a 14-point deficit and were tied at 80 heading into the fourth.

If you look back to the last 40-point playoff quarter for Washington, there are many parallels. It was another series where the Wizards were down 0-2 to the Celtics. They were dealing with an offensive driven team and the physicality became a prevalent story in the series.

Had it not been for those 12 minutes of basketball, the Wizards would be down 3-1 and face an insurmountable climb to get back into their First Round series. Now they are at a fresh slate in a best-of-3 series. With all the momentum, Washington is just two wins away from getting back to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, this time is a little different than the last.





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Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

Kelly Oubre, Jr. continues to step up for Wizards in series against Raptors

All along as Kelly Oubre, Jr. wilted from the three-point line down the stretch of the regular season, his head coach Scott Brooks would deflect the attention to other areas of his game. Brooks was sending a message to his young forward that he can still make an impact in other ways, and as long as he did Brooks would overlook the shooting woes.

Through four games in the Wizards-Raptors series, Brooks' mantra with Oubre has proven prescient. Just like the Wizards as a team, Oubre has his swagger back and for him it's had nothing to do with hitting threes.

Oubre was a sparkplug in both Games 3 and 4 as the Wizards earned consecutive victories to send the series back to Toronto locked at 2-2. Game 4 on Sunday night well illustrated just how effective Oubre can be even if he isn't scoring.

Oubre had 10 points and shot 2-for-6 from the field, a modest scoring night. He did everything else well.

Oubre drew two offensive fouls, notched two steals, grabbed give rebounds and dished two assists. He was aggressive attacking the rim and earned seven free throw attempts as his reward.

Oubre was personally most pleased with forcing turnovers. In true Oubre fashion, he offered a unique explanation why.

"Yeah, man. You got to be different. I'm just trying to be different, man. Trying to get extra possessions for my teammates," he said.

Oubre's defense was essential in Game 4. He helped hold DeMar DeRozan to just 10 field goals on 29 attempts. Though DeRozan ended up with 35 points, he needed to attempt 18 free throws to get there.

The Wizards can live with DeRozan scoring a lot of points, even 35, if he shoots 34.5 percent from the field. He also had four turnovers.

Oubre's most important moments came in the final five minutes of the game. Star shooting guard Bradley Beal fouled out with 4:58 remaining and Brooks had nowhere else to turn. Tomas Satoransky's role has been diminished in the playoffs, Ty Lawson gives up size on defense and Jodie Meeks, the primary backup shooting guard for most of the season, is suspended.

Oubre was contributing all night, so Brooks put him in there alongside John Wall, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. It worked.

Wall scored eight of their final 14 points as the Wizards closed out the victory, but Oubre did several things to help seal it. He hit three free throws, grabbed a rebound and stole the ball from Kyle Lowry with 12 seconds to go and dribbled it out.

Two of Oubre's free throws came with 22.5 seconds left and they extended the Wizards' lead to 104-96. He was fouled in the final second of the shot clock and the Raptors called a timeout, perhaps hoping to ice him.

After the team gathered, Oubre walked to halfcourt to wait for the break to end. Veteran Jason Smith, who did not appear in the game, walked out to chat with him. 

Smith stood next to Oubre and gave him an extended pep talk. He sensed the moment and knew Oubre needed to calm his nerves.

Smith led Oubre through deep breaths to slow everything down. Oubre nodded his head and followed along, then he knocked down both shots.

"I've been there before," Smith said. "I've gotta stay active and impact the game any way I can. That was my little tidbit."

Oubre was clutch for the Wizards when they needed him most and got some sage advice as he helped the Wizards push over the finish line.

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