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Wizards take out Knicks to close preseason

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USA Today Sports

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:

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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.

[RELATED: WIZARDS TO HONOR 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF TITLE TEAM]

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

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2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

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4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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