Wizards

Quick Links

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

usatsi_10335334.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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.

[RELATED: BEAL, WALL HAVE A NICKNAME FOR CAPITAL ONE ARENA]

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.

[RELATED: WHO SHOULD START AT POWER FORWARD?]

Quick Links

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

usatsi_9095555.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

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.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

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. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

Quick Links

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

usatsi_10649028.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

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:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

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:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

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:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS