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Wizards mount big comeback vs. Sixers by fouling Ben Simmons, but fall just short

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Wizards mount big comeback vs. Sixers by fouling Ben Simmons, but fall just short

The Washington Wizards lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 118-113 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Huge comeback... almost: With the his team facing a blowout loss on the road against a young Sixers team, head coach Scott Brooks pulled out all the tricks to get his team back into it. In the fourth quarter, the Wizards employed a strict strategy of fouling rookie Ben Simmons every chance they got.

It worked. After trailing by as much as 24 points, the Wizards cut the Sixers' lead all the way down to three points with less than four minutes in the fourth quarter. 

Simmons entered the game shooting just 56.6 percent from the line and the Wizards used that weakness to slowly chip away at the deficit. He went to the line 29 times in the game and 24 (!) times in the fourth quarter alone, an NBA record. Simmons went 15-for-29 on the night and 12-for-24 in the fourth.

Though they lost, Brooks deserves credit for getting creative, whether you like the strategy or not. It was well within the rulebook.

Offense was a struggle: The Wizards' offense put them in the 24-point bind. Though they managed 113 points, they shot just 40.4 percent. Otto Porter was the No. 1 option for much of the game and never found a rhythm. He had eight points on 3-for-14 shooting and didn't even play in the fourth quarter until there were 22 seconds left.

The Wizards' offense was missing for three quarters, but in the fourth they put up one of their best quarters ever. They dropped 48 points in the frame, tied for third-most in franchise history and more than any team has scored in one quarter this season. It was their most in a quarter since 1990. The record, by the way, is 52 set back in 1965.

Though this loss can be chalked up to an expected defeat due to injuries and it being the second game of a back-to-back set, the Wizards have now lost five of their last seven games. On top of that, five of their next six games are on the road.

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Injury scare: The Wizards were already playing without John Wall and in the first half they saw Bradley Beal go down with a laceration to his face. He took an elbow to the nose and eye area from Jerryd Bayless while defending a layup on the fastbreak.

Beal immediately fell to the ground holding his face. Here is the play:

Beal was considered questionable to return, but he did make it back to start the second half. Beal had cotton in his right nostril to stop the bleeding and his eye appeared to be puffy. It could not have been easy to come back so quickly after the shot he took.

Beal had 21 points in 22 minutes, but fouled out in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see if this injury lingers in the next few days.

Simmons hurt, but not limited: The Sixers waited until just before gametime to determine whether Simmons would play, as the star rookie left their last game with a sprained ankle and was already dealing with a swollen elbow. Simmons was able to go and didn't appear to be limited one bit.

Simmons was a force from the opening tip with six points and six rebounds in his first eight minutes. He had 11 rebounds at halftime and was a big reason the Wizards were down 35-14 in the category at the break. The Wizards tried different looks to stop Simmons with Porter, Markieff Morris and others getting a crack at him. Even Ian Mahinmi gave it a shot. Though he had six turnovers and struggled at the line, he put up 31 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and was a big reason for Philly's win.

Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday. On Friday, they host the much-improved Detroit Pistons in a quick trip home. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: WIZARDS AT THE QUARTER-MARK, BY THE NUMBERS]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: NBA trade deadline preview including who and what the Wizards should target

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NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast: NBA trade deadline preview including who and what the Wizards should target

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Travis Thomas went in-depth on the upcoming NBA Trade Deadline. What do the Wizards need? What can they trade? Which players should they target?

All of that is covered, plus a look back at recent deadline deals the Wizards have made. Chase and Travis also go around the NBA to look at the biggest trade rumors, plus why the DeMarcus Cousins ship has likely sailed.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. You can find archived episodes here. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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2018 NBA trade deadline: Clippers don't appear close to trading DeAndre Jordan

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USA Today Sports

2018 NBA trade deadline: Clippers don't appear close to trading DeAndre Jordan

For months it seemed like the Los Angeles Clippers trading All-NBA center DeAndre Jordan was a foregone conclusion, as he's on an expiring deal and while their season had gone awry. But now it is not quite that simple with just over two weeks remaining before the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.

The Clippers are actually in the playoff hunt now after winning 12 of their last 17 games. They were 11-18 before that stretch but now sit 23-23 and ninth in the West, one spot out of the playoffs. Considering they are doing all of this without Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari, and the Clippers' future doesn't seem too bad.

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There is also not a strong market for Jordan at this point. On Monday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest, but that no significant offers have been made. 

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The Clippers will have a more difficult decision to make than many thought they would. Do they attempt to re-sign Jordan this offseason in hopes of building off their surprising success, or do they trade him within the next several weeks to build for the future?

Jordan, 29, is having another strong season with 11.8 points, 14.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. His age is a consideration, as any team that signs him next will be on the hook for his early 30s. Jordan's game is predicated on playing above the rim and that may not age well.

Jordan was long considered one of the biggest names to be available at this year's deadline and the Clippers are still listening to offers, but the reasons for them to not trade him are starting to add up. 

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