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Wizards take out Cavs on road to continue impressive run after All-Star break

Wizards take out Cavs on road to continue impressive run after All-Star break

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-103 on Thursday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Wizards keep it rolling: Even a week off for the All-Star break couldn't slow the Wizards' roll. 

Though they started a bit slow in the first quarter, the Wizards picked up right where they left off with an impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team many feel improved significantly at the trade deadline.

The Cavs have some newfound confidence, but the result on Thursday was another notch on the Wizards' belt. They moved to 8-2 since John Wall got injured and to 34-24 on the season overall, 10 games above .500 for the first time in 2017-18.

Beating the Cavs was a great sign for the Wizards who are just beginning an extremely difficult part of their schedule. Of their next 16 games, 14 will be against teams currently slated to be in the playoffs. A win at Cleveland bodes well with matchups against the Warriors, Celtics and Raptors on the horizon.

Since Wall got injured, the Wizards have taken out the Cavs, Thunder and Raptors. They keep proving they can compete with anyone even without their All-Star point guard.


Satoransky continues to thrive: More and more teams are learning what Tomas Satoransky is capable of. The second-year pro had another gem of a game with 17 points (6-for-7 FG), eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers.

The Cavs added a lot of athleticism to their backcourt at the trade deadline, but it was nothing to Satoransky. He even made easy work of George Hill, an experienced and physical perimeter defender.

Satoransky also proved a much more even match for Jordan Clarkson, who was giving Tim Frazier fits before the Wizards went away from him in favor of Satoransky and Bradley Beal (18 points, nine assists) running point.

Satoransky and Beal helped lead another well-rounded effort for the Wizards offensively. They had 29 assists and five guys reached double figures. 

When Wall comes back, Satoransky will slide back to the bench as the primary backup point guard. He will still be part of the rotation, but games like this beg the question of whether his role should expand into something larger.

Given Wall plays so much, it will require Satoransky to start producing as a backup shooting guard or small forward. There are reasons to believe he's ready for those responsibilities. He can spread the floor with a consistent three-point shot and has made some nice plays off the ball in the fastbreak. He doesn't need to be the primary ball-handler to produce on offense, he just needs to gain some confidence in doing it.

Oubre was much better: The last few weeks leading up to the All-Star break were tough for Kelly Oubre, Jr. In his last 11 games entering Thursday night, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points while shooting 31.2 percent. He was looking for a breakthrough and he got one against the Cavs.

After beginning the game 2-for-6 from the field, Oubre got hot in the second quarter and had 12 points by halftime. He went scoreless in the third quarter, but hits some big shots in the fourth to end up with 17 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Oubre's second quarter surge helped turn the game around. The Wizards had trailed by as much as 11 points and were shooting just 37 percent at the end of the first quarter. Oubre hit a pair of threes in the second including one to give the Wizards a lead with just over two minutes to go in the half.

Oubre has been contributing in ways other than scoring lately, but the Wizards can certainly use more from him on offense. The Wizards' bench can be limited offensively and everything opens up when his three is falling consistently.


New-look Cavs: The Wizards took some shine off what many have praised as a rejuvenated Cavaliers team following the trade deadline. Cleveland overhauled their roster and had won three games since. But the Wizards stopped that streak and did so by holding a lot of the Cavs' players in check.

LeBron James had a big night per usual with 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals. But many others were stymied including Hill (six points, 2-for-10 FG), Rodney Hood (eight points), Clarkson (nine points), Larry Nance, Jr. (six points) and Jeff Green (five points), who happens to have hurt the Wizards on numerous occasions recently.

How the Wizards would match up with the revamped Cavs was particularly interesting because the old Cleveland crew beat the Wizards twice earlier this season. Of all the teams in the East, the Wizards seemed to match up worse with the Cavs than anyone. It was only one game, but the Wizards looked much better against this version of the Cavs than they did against the previous group.

Up next: The Wizards return home to play the second game of a back-to-back. They host the Charlotte Hornets with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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