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Wizards take out Knicks to close preseason

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Wizards take out Knicks to close preseason

The Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 110-103 in their final preseason game on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

How it happened: The Wizards closed out their preseason schedule on Friday night, once again playing a team that sat their best players. The Wizards played five total exhibition games. Four of them were against NBA teams, including twice against the Knicks. Each and every time, their opponent saw opportunity to give their stars some rest.

On Friday night, New York held out both Kristaps Porzingis and point guard Frank Ntilikina, the eighth overall pick in this summer’s draft. Joakim Noah also sat out this one as the Knicks punted their matchup against the Wizards for the second time this preseason.

The Wizards did, to be fair, sit John Wall. But they played everyone else including Bradley Beal, who was clearly the best player on the court. Beal scored in a variety of ways and ended up with 24 points, four rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. He shot 7-of-13 from the field.

Jason Smith started at power forward for the third time in five preseason games. At this point he appears to be the favorite to start there during the regular season when Markieff Morris is out recovering from sports hernia surgery. Smith had another very impressive game with 17 points in 22 minutes. He hit three threes, including two from the corner. He had eight attempts, which shows where his confidence is at right now to fire away from long range.

Tim Frazier started at point guard in Wall’s place and had another solid game. He had eight points, four assists and four rebounds in 25 minutes. He did, however, have four turnovers.

The Knicks held on with the Wizards through three quarters. They were down just two after the third quarter, 83-81. The Wizards held on, as the Knicks finished their preseason without a win.

What it means: The Wizards got out of the preseason with no injuries to their regular rotation guys. They did, of course, lose Sheldon Mac to a season-ending Achilles injury in their win over the Cavs. Overall, it was a productive preseason. Smith seems ready to step in for Morris and finding a solution at power forward was the biggest objective for the Wizards before the season begins. Mike Scott looks more than capable to be the backup at power forward, as well. He's healthy and has shown some flashes on offense.

Satoransky had his best game: When head coach Scott Brooks pulled Frazier, he used Tomas Satoransky as the backup and not Donald Sloan, who is fighting for a roster spot. Satoransky looked more comfortable than he has maybe ever on an NBA court. He hit a pair of jumpers from about 18 feet out, showing no hesitation in his delivery. Satoransky finished with 10 points, five assists, four turnovers and three rebounds in 22 minutes. Two of those points came on this dunk, which is one of the nicest plays we saw in the Wizards’ preseason:


Not much of Felix and Sloan: Brooks must have his mind close to made up when it comes to the final roster spot between Carrick Felix and Sloan. Felix didn't play until the fourth quarter and Sloan didn't see the floor at all. Neither guy appeared in their previous preseason game, which was surprising. Felix already appeared to be the favorite and Brooks' rotation provided further evidence of that tonight. Felix played the entire fourth quarter, once again with max effort.

Oubre showing initiative: We don't know yet if this will carry over into the regular season, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. looks like a different player offensively. He was relentless in attacking the basket on Friday night, including with his right hand which has been limited in years past. Oubre clearly put in some work this offseason on his ball-handling and could be worthy of a larger role on offense. Oubre finished with 21 points in 23 minutes and shot 9-for-13 from the field.

Here's an example of his aggressiveness off the bounce:

Up next: The Wizards will open their season on Wednesday night at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The game is set for ESPN and should feature the NBA debuts of both of teh last two No. 1 overall picks: Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). The preseason is over, folks. Next time the games will actually count for something.


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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:


Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

Rap star Meek Mill going back to prison has affected many of his fans, Markieff Morris among them. The Washington Wizards forward is from Philadelphia, like Meek Mill, and loves his music.

Morris posted information for a rally to support Meek Mill earlier this month on his Instagram. Hundreds of fans showed up, including Sixers legend Julius Erving, Eagles players and Rick Ross.

The whole tri-state pull up and support!!

A post shared by KeefMorris5.0 (@keefmorris5.0) on


Morris joined the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week to discuss a series of topics, including Meek Mill. Morris is upset about the situation, but was happy to see the support.

"The city was big. We needed that, man," he said. "For them people to come out, it was a great thing for us, man, to see the support that the city is really behind him 100 percent."

Morris defended Meek Mill's character and pointed to his charitable efforts.

"Meek does a lot of stuff that goes unseen in Philly. He's kind of like us when it comes to showing support for the city and doing stuff while not looking for cameras to be broadcast it that he's doing something nice. He just does it because he's a good person," Morris said.

Meek Mill is going back to prison for violating his probation numerous times over the past several years. He was sentenced to two to four years.

Morris also talked about his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, why he loves playing with Mike Scott, why the Wizards are a tough team and many other subjects.

Listen to the full interview right here:

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