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Wizards suffer another letdown loss to a bad team, this time to the Nets

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Wizards suffer another letdown loss to a bad team, this time to the Nets

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 103-98 on Tuesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Another bad loss: The Wizards keep letting this happen and it has to be driving head coach Scott Brooks absolutely nuts.

Once again, the Wizards lost to a team they had no business losing to. After owning the Nets (11-15) for years, Brooklyn was the aggressor all night. That was despite missing a host of regulars including Jeremy Lin, D'Angelo Russell and the newly acquired Jahlil Okafor.

The Nets trotted out a team of guys you probably have never heard of, but it didn't matter. The Wizards lost for the seventh time this season to a sub-.500 opponent. They are 9-6 against teams with .500 records or better and just 5-7 against sub-.500 teams. It's a confusing trend and it continued against the Nets.

Many on the Wizards struggled including Otto Porter (11 points, 5-for-13 FG), Markieff Morris (six points, one rebound) and Jodie Meeks (six points, 2-for-9 FG). Bradley Beal had 28 points but shot 11-for-33 from the field and 0-for-7 from three. He also missed several key shots down the stretch as he attempted to shoot his way out of the slump.

One big mistake with 8.8 seconds left really hurt the Wizards. Point guard Tomas Satoransky turned the ball over on a five-second violation before he passed it in to Beal. The Wizards didn't even get a chance tie when they were down three at the time.

The Wizards are now 4-5 without John Wall since he had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee. They are 5-6 without him this season overall.

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Morris keeps struggling: Something seems up with Morris. After going off for 21 points and six rebounds against the Suns two games ago, he's been missing in action the last two outings. He had just two points vs. the Clippers on Saturday and followed that up with another stinker against the Nets.

Morris managed only six points and one rebound in 18 minutes. We know he's been dealing with some discomfort in his left ankle dating back to the Wizards' playoff series against the Celtics in April, even Morris would say that doesn't explain it all. He's in a funk and there's no clear answer for why.

Mahinmi, Wall out: The Wizards were without Wall for the ninth straight game on Tuesday, as he continues to recover from his left knee injury. They were also without Ian Mahinmi, who missed his first game of the season due to a right knee strain. It's unclear how serious Mahinmi's injury is, but right as they are about to get Wall back they have a new knee injury to worry about.

Smith got some run: With Mahinmi out, Brooks turned to Jason Smith as he's been prone to over the last two seasons when one of his big men is injured. And per usual, Smith made a nice impact.

There were moments where he looked rusty, but Smith put in his best game of the season. He set season-highs in points (nine), rebounds (five) and minutes (28). The bench overall was a relative positive, as they managed 43 points. They also outrebounded the starters with 29 of the team's 49 boards.

Up next: After a five-game road trip, the Wizards finally return home on Wednesday to host the Memphis Grizzlies, possibly with Wall in the lineup. Tipoff is at 7 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.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

BEAL FOULING OUT NEARLY CHANGED THE ENTIRE SERIES

KELLY OUBRE CONTINUES TO STEP UP

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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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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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

BEAL FOULING OUT NEARLY CHANGED THE ENTIRE SERIES

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN