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Wizards top LeBron-less Cavs in preseason, lose Mac to injury

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Wizards top LeBron-less Cavs in preseason, lose Mac to injury

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 in NBA preseason action on Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena.

How it happened: The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to rest basically their entire rotation, not just LeBron James and Dwyane Wade but even their secondary players like J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert on Sunday afternoon. Those who paid the price of admission may have groused about it, but the goal in any preseason is to get out of it without injuries. On Sunday, the Wizards weren't as fortunate.

Second-year guard Sheldon Mac fell in a heap late in the second quarter after suffering a lower left leg injury. It could be something minor, it could be an ankle sprain, but this looked serious and required him to be carried off the court by trainers. Before he was lifted off the ground, the entire Wizards team surrounded him at midcourt as the crowd fell silent.

Mac will not receive many minutes for the Wizards this season, regardless of his health. But he is a key figure in one of the Wizards' biggest roster battles in preseason. He is fighting for a job with veterans like Carrick Felix and Donald Sloan and this throws a wrench into all of it. Felix (13 points, 4-6 FG) had another solid game and could be considered for a roster spot, especially if Mac's injury is serious.

As for the game itself, the Wizards had some unexpected trouble with a Cavaliers team comprised mostly of guys who won't see the floor this season. Offense, again, wasn't the issue. But the Wizards starters allowed 29 points in the first quarter and let this version of the Cavs go 3-for-5 from three. Their perimeter defense is something head coach Scott Brooks is aiming to correct this season.

What it means: The Wizards have played three preseason games and none of them have provided a true test worthy of a regular season warmup. We did, however, get to see some new lineups and may have learned more about the power forward competition.

Oubre started: After Brooks went with Jason Smith at power forward for the first three preseason games, Smith rested this one and Kelly Oubre, Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup. Otto Porter, Jr. was technically the four, though those two are mostly interchangeable. Oubre was even deployed to guard Kay Felder, the Cavs' point guard who is nearly a foot shorter than him. Oubre spent time checking Jarrett Jack against the Knicks on Friday and Brooks highlighted his ability to defend point guards before Sunday's game. 

Porter continues to have a rough time shooting this preseason. He finished 1-for-4 from the field in 7:27 of play. Oubre was the only starter who saw significant time. John Wall (6 points, 7:27), Bradley Beal (11 points, 9:20) and Marcin Gortat (5 points, 10:18) all had short nights.


Mahinmi had a tough time: This wasn't Ian Mahinmi's best game. He had four rebounds and one point on a free throw, but also found himself on the wrong end of several Jeff Green dunks. Who knew Green could throw down like this?

Green did play a lot of games at Capital One Arena back when he was at Georgetown University. Perhaps that helped him turn back the clocks.

Three-guard lineup: Oubre certainly has a chance to take Markieff Morris' spot in the starting lineup, but in that case things get interesting on their bench. In this game Brooks decided to go with a three-guard lineup of Beal, Wall and Jodie Meeks once he subbed out Oubre, who picked up three fouls in his first 5:37 of play. Meeks had another good game, going 3-for-4 from three with 13 points. He's now 9-for-13 from three this preseason, by the way. 

Brooks then kept Meeks on the floor with Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon Mac. Regardless of the choices, it seems like Brooks will have no choice but to go even smaller with his second unit than he will with his starters when he goes with Oubre and Porter together.

Up next: The Wizards move on to Miami for their fourth preseason game. That one is on Wednesday. They will see the Heat, who could be their biggest threats to repeating as division champions.


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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!