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Wizards pull off impressive win over Pistons to bounce back from tough loss

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Wizards pull off impressive win over Pistons to bounce back from tough loss

The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 109-91at Capital One Arena  on Friday night. to move to 12-10 on the seaon.

Here's analysis of what went down...

Impressive Win:
The Detroit Pistons may be the surprise of the NBA season so far, but the Wizards have had their number. Even without John Wall, the Wizards were able to notch a double-digit victory thanks to a collective effort from their starting lineup and some key contributions from their bench.

Markieff Morris led the Wizards with a season-high 23 points, as five players reached double-figures. More on Morris in a bit.

That included Tomas Satoransky, who had a career-high 17 points (5-for-6 FG) and four assists. He still hasn't committed a turnover since Wall went down, with 22 assists along the way. That is a very good sign for the second-year pro and suggests he should get some playing time even when Wall returns.

Also worth noting: the Wizards were crushed in rebounds in their last game, 64-35 against the Sixers. Against the Pistons, they won the rebounding margin 48-32 and that was with Andre Drummond grabbing 16.

The Wizards are now 2-0 against the Pistons this season, meaning they will at worst tie them in their season head-to-head record. These two wins could come in handy down the road as playoff tiebreakers are determined first by head-to-head records. The Wizards, in fact, have won eight of their last 10 against Detroit.

The win was also a much-needed one for the Wizards, who had lost five of seven heading into the game. They are now 3-3 on the year without Wall, a strong mark all things considered. If they can play at a .500 pace while he's out, they will be in good shape. He's only expected to miss another week or two.


Keef Looked Much Better:
Before the game, head coach Scott Brooks said he sat down with Morris for a 1-on-1 film session, hoping to help the Wizards' forward break out of a recent slump.

Morris entered the game having averaged six points in his last three games. Immediately, Morris looked more confident in this one. He hit his first three shots, including a three-pointer.

Morris finished with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks to go along with his season-high for points. He helped slow Tobias Harris, the Pistons' leading scorer who entered the game averaging 19.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. He had 15 points and two boards in this one.


Glasses On, Glasses Off:
After getting examined by an eye doctor on Thursday, Bradley Beal was cleared to play but with the recommendation to wear goggles. So, he did.

Beal's new look, however, didn't last. Beal ditched the goggles in the second quarter, as he was apparently bothered by them. Whether it was the goggles or not, Beal had an up-and-down night, perhaps because he was matched up with Pistons guard Avery Bradley, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. 

Beal finished with 10 points.

He looked like his usual self for the most part, but the Pistons' defense did a good job sticking with him off screens and bumping off him off his preferred shooting spots. The Wizards were able to overcome his low scoring output to get the win.

Let's Go-Go:
The Wizards announced the name of their new G-League affiliate at the end of the first quarter.

They will be known as the Capital City Go-Go when they begin their inaugural 2018-19 season. Not bad, right? Mayor Muriel Bowser was on hand along with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.

You can find the logos right here.

Up Next:
The Wizards are off this weekend before heading out on a five-game road trip.

They begin at the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Tipoff is at 9 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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