Wizards

Anderson leads Raptors to victory over Bobcats

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Anderson leads Raptors to victory over Bobcats

TORONTO (AP) Alan Anderson scored 16 points against his former team, Jose Calderon had 15 and the Toronto Raptors won for the 10th time in 13 games Friday night, beating the Charlotte Bobcats 99-78.

Amir Johnson had 13 points and eight rebounds while Ed Davis had 12 points and eight boards for the Raptors, who led by as many as 24.

Anderson had four of Toronto's 12 3-pointers, while Calderon and Kyle Lowry each made three.

Toronto has not trailed in each of its past three victories, including home wins over Portland on Jan. 2 and Philadelphia on Jan. 9.

Starting for the second straight game, Toronto's Landry Fields matched his season high with 11 rebounds.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Ben Gordon each scored 12 points as Charlotte's modest streak of two straight road victories came to an end.

Ramon Sessions scored 11 for the Bobcats, and rookie Jeff Taylor had 10.

Charlotte came in having won 10 of their past 13 meetings with the Raptors, including three of the past four in Toronto, but were never in this one, trailing by double digits from the midpoint of the first quarter onward.

The Bobcats missed seven of their first eight shots and, for the second straight game, never held a lead. Charlotte also trailed throughout in Wednesday's home loss to Utah.

Calderon scored 10 points in the opening quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Raptors surged out to a 29-16 lead after one.

Kidd-Gilchrist and Walker combined for seven of Charlotte's nine free throws in the second quarter, but Toronto used seven points from rookie Terrence Ross to take a 53-39 lead at the half.

Anderson scored eight points in the third and Davis had six as the Raptors took a commanding 76-58 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Toronto made a season-high 15 3-pointers in a 123-88 win at Orlando on Dec. 29. ... Anderson played for the Bobcats in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, appearing in 53 games. ... Ross returned after missing Wednesday's win over Philadelphia with a sore left ankle. ... The Raptors conclude a season-long six-game homestand on Sunday when they host Milwaukee.

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Ja Morant turning into a 'hell, yeah' NBA Draft option if Wizards get lottery lucky

Ja Morant turning into a 'hell, yeah' NBA Draft option if Wizards get lottery lucky

The Washington Wizards selected John Wall first overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. Other lottery picks followed in subsequent years. None were point guards. Nobody bothered contemplating such a scenario.

That’s no longer the case.

There is Wall’s uncertain physical status for next season and beyond because of a ruptured Achilles.

Thursday’s mind-blowing performance from Murray State point guard Ja Morant put such contemplation into overdrive.

For many NBA-only fans, the 12th seeded Racers' 83-64 thrashing over no. 5 Marquette in its West Region first-round game marked the initial opportunity to watch the buzz-worthy Morant. He did not disappoint.

Morant, who only trailed Duke phenom Zion Williamson for jaw-dropping highlights this season, dazzled with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists. His next chance to wow comes Saturday against fourth-seeded Florida State.

Imagine the Wizards receive some lottery luck ahead of June’s NBA Draft. Not the overflowing pot of gold kind that means grabbing Williamson first overall, but jumping up above the average options to the second or third selection. Washington (30-43) has a 26.3 percent chance of landing a top 4 selection, according to the draft website Tankathon.

Williamson might be the only player selected ahead of Morant in June in what one NBA executive deems a two-player draft. “Zion makes it feel better than it is. After Zion and Ja, just an average draft,” the executive said.

You’re on the clock. Duke’s RJ Barrett is another top 3 candidate, but Morant gained ground on the wing guard and others all season by averaging 24.0 points, 10.0 assists and multiple viral video moments a game. By June, Morant might be the clear-cut second-best player.

Wall’s recovery timeline keeps the five-time All-Star sideline for the majority if not all of the 2019-20 season. He will eventually return, however. That factor cannot be ignored especially with his 4-year, $170 million supermax contract starting next season. Ideally, the selection compliments Bradley Beal and Wall in the starting lineup.

Wall also turns 29 in July and recovery from such a devastating injury presents significant unknowns.

Tomas Satoransky, Wall's primary backup and the current starter, is a restricted free agent this summer. The Wizards would like him back, but the marketplace might have other ideas.

Time’s up. Turn the selection card in. Take Morant or not?

“Hell, yes!” multiple college basketball sources responded via text.

Others went with a standard roster-building approach.

“I take the best player available and figure it out,” an NBA scout texted.

In other words, hell yeah on Morant.

Another NBA scout received his first extended look at wispy yet athletically super-charged Morant last summer at Chris Paul’s basketball camp. “I thought he was ordinary because he played more off the ball,” the scout said of the 6-foot-3, 174-pound Morant. “But now he’s really, really good. Can pass with either hand.”

The scout offered an NBA comparison: John Wall. “Not as fast as John, but he’s got the same explosive athleticism at the rim.”

The counter-argument, a mild one at that, looks beyond next season.

Playing time ranked high among the reasons why the Wizards sought low-cost backup point guards over the years for Wall. Combo guards aside, if Wall goes 35-38 minutes nightly, why invest significant assets into a 10-13 minute-a-game player.

There’s some debate over whether Morant could play off the ball next to Wall. The sophomore is shooting 33.6 percent on 4.8 three-point attempts per game this season.

Based on the initial reaction from the various sources, nobody cares. Take the talent and figure out the rest. It's unclear what the Wizards have in Wall going forward. Maybe trade one of them down the line. The Wizards only have three healthy players under contract for next season. The 2019 first-round pick could immediately become a high-rotation player.

Such expectations rise if the Wizards jump up in the lottery. Historically there’s no chance they consider a point guard in the lottery with Wall on the roster. Times are different especially if there’s a chance to grab a hell yeah talent like Morant.

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Troy Brown found out he was starting against the Nuggets through Twitter

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Troy Brown found out he was starting against the Nuggets through Twitter

The Wizards' 113-108 loss to the Nuggets Thursday marked Troy Brown's first NBA start. And the Wizards' rookie guard impressed, scoring a career-high 13 points and snagging five rebounds.

How did Brown find out he was starting, you may ask? Through Twitter, of course!

Head coach Scott Brooks told reporters Brown was taking the injured Trevor Ariza's place in the starting five before notifying Brown himself, and like every 19-year old kid, Brown gets his news on Twitter.

And Thursday night, Brown's Twitter timeline brought him some of the biggest news of his basketball career. 

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