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Jennings scores 19, Bucks beat Raptors 107-96

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Jennings scores 19, Bucks beat Raptors 107-96

TORONTO (AP) Brandon Jennings had 19 points and 10 assists, rookie John Henson scored 19 and the Milwaukee Bucks rallied from a 20-point first quarter deficit to beat Toronto 107-96 on Sunday, their eight straight victory over the Raptors.

Monta Ellis scored 17 points and Mike Dunleavy had 15 as the Bucks improved to 3-1 under new coach Jim Boylan.

Larry Sanders had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, who won for the 12th time in 15 meetings with the Raptors.

Amir Johnson had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Ed David had 20 and 12 for the Raptors, who led 32-12 early but lost their fifth straight home meeting with the Bucks.

DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and Jose Calderon scored 15 of his 21 in Toronto's big first quarter, but the Raptors couldn't hold on, losing for the first time in three games.

Henson's hook shot with 6:54 to go gave Milwaukee its first lead of the fourth quarter at 87-86 and, after a three-second call on Toronto, Larry Sanders followed by tipping in a missed shot from Ellis.

But after Sanders missed a pair of free throws with 4:23 left, Davis answered with a slam dunk, giving Toronto a 91-90 lead.

Jennings restored Milwaukee's lead with two free throws and Sanders blocked DeRozan at the other end, leading to a fast break 3 by Dunleavy, giving the Bucks a 95-91 lead with 3:01 left.

Ellis made a layup, Sanders made two free throws and a dunk and Milwaukee led 101-91 before Fields ended a 2:45 drought by making one of two from the line.

Calderon, who scored 10 first quarter points in Friday's 99-78 win over Charlotte, was hot again to start this one. The Spanish guard hit six of seven field goal attempts in the first, including all three of his 3-point attempts, and poured in 15 points as Toronto opened a 34-16 lead after one.

Calderon left grimacing with four seconds remaining in the first and jogged back to the locker room for treatment on his right calf. With Calderon out, Milwaukee closed the gap with a 12-0 run to start the second quarter.

Calderon returned with 3:39 left in the half but the Bucks kept up the pressure, taking advantage of 10 Toronto turnovers. A fast break layup by Jennings tied at 47-all with 23 seconds left but two free throws by Quincy Acy gave the Raptors a narrow 49-47 edge at the intermission.

Johnson limped off with a sore right ankle with 1:02 left in the second, but both he and Calderon started the third for Toronto. DeRozan scored 10 points as the Raptors reclaimed the advantage and took a 78-74 lead into the fourth.

NOTES: Henson scored a career-high 20 points against San Antonio on Jan. 2. ... Milwaukee's bench outscored Toronto's 43-7. ... This was the first of a four-game road trip for Milwaukee. The three remaining games are at the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix and Portland. ... Sanders extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one blocked shot to 23.

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Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

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USA Today Sports

Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

The Wizards’ 117-109 win over the Orlando Magic Monday night was the tale of two Hoyas.

Washington brought Jeff Green back home this summer to help anchor the second unit with his defensive versatility and scoring spurts. Both aspects were on display in the fourth quarter, as the Wizards finally broke free from the Magic.

Another former Georgetown star, Otto Porter, was nowhere to be found in the fourth. Zero minutes for a third consecutive game for the Wizards’ highest-paid player, thus adding another layer of weird to his season.

The why is a topic. For a team that registered its first winning streak of the season after a 2-9 start, all that matters is finding success. That was the postgame message from Scott Brooks.

There’s no detective work required as to why Green turned into a late-game staple.

After his 19-point outing in Saturday’s win at Miami, the streaky scorer had 10 of his 18 in the final period against Orlando with four 3-pointers. Defensively the 6-foot-9 forward offers Brooks an option the roster lacked last season: a versatile player capable of guarding on the perimeter and, as was the case against Orlando center Nik Vucevic, inside against bigger players.

“We need his all-around play,” Brooks said. “He can guard just about everybody on the floor. … I thought [Jeff] did a pretty good job on the big fellow.”

Green and Markieff Morris handled the interior spots the entire fourth quarter. When the forwards can match up with opposing four’s and five’s on defense, it typically means their scoring presence opens the court for penetrating guards John Wall and Bradley Beal on the other end.

Green sinking bombs throughout the game helped as well. He finished four of five from deep with two coming in the fourth. The career 33 percent 3-point shooter is 9 of 13 from beyond the arc overall during the last four games, and 21 of 28 overall.

“He's starting to get a little bit of rhythm from the three-point line, and we need that from him,” Brooks said.

Maybe Green isn’t the ideal athletic-4 Wall called for in recent years, but the on-court connection between the power forward and point guard is evident. During the decisive 14-4 run, the two hooked up for an alley-oop lob that's turned into a go-to play for Washington.

With shooters surrounding the duo, Wall dribbles toward the left elbow, taking all eyes with him. Green immediately turns down an open lane and rolls to the rim before rising high to meet the toss.

“We have shooters, we have guys that have to [be] respected,” Green said of the play. “It keeps [defenders] at bay, and with John’s speed, to get downhill at the rim, you have to help (on him).”

Wall passed on offering any keys to the play’s success (“We just tweaked a little bit of the play. I can’t tell you about, but it’s kind of working for us.”), but he praised Green’s performance with ease.

“That’s what we got Jeff for,” Wall said.

The Wizards matched that massive four-year, $106.5 million restricted offer sheet Porter signed with Brooklyn in 2017 for all kinds of reasons. Among them, he’s an instinct-rich player who makes winning plays and ranks among the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league. Those traits haven’t kept Porter on the court late in games recently in part because they haven’t shown in full-throated ways.

The term “benching” is harsh, though the situation is odd. Morris sat out the final periods at Orlando and Miami. Dwight Howard didn’t enter the fourth Monday despite finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. Only Porter’s sit streak reached three games.

The small forward played a strong defensive game in Saturday’s win at Miami, but Brooks rode with a group that gained momentum as Washington surged past the Heat.

Porter is 9 of 16 on 3-pointers over the last four games. That’s only one aspect of the game. Brooks is looking for more. Porter took only one shot attempt in the first half Monday, lacked vigor defensively, and scored six points in 21 minutes.

"I mean, it's trying to find a blend of guys that are going to compete and going to play hard,” Brooks said of his lineup choices.

Asked specifically about Porter, Brooks said, “It’s just the way it is. Some games Otto is not going to have good games. Tonight isn’t one of them. He’ll bounce back. The guy is a winner. He knows how to play.”

Green and Porter honed their games at Georgetown under coach John Thompson III and turned into top-5 NBA Draft selections. The program is mostly closed off to the outside world, but a strong bond between the players exists regardless of when they played. The two forwards never joined forces until this season. Green knows Porter, enough to tell whether a helpful chat is required. This isn’t one of those times. 

“Otto is a pro, man,” Green told NBC Sports Washington. “I don’t have to say anything to Otto. He’s a team-first guy. He’s a guy who’s going to make sure whenever his name is called he’s going to be ready. He’s not worried about if he’s playing. I’m sure he’d like to be playing. He’s doing whatever it takes it to make sure the team is in a place to win.”

So is Scott Brooks. For now, that includes one former Georgetown star in the fourth quarter. It’s just not the obvious one.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

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USA Today Sports

5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

The Washington Wizards topped the Orlando Magic 117-109 on Monday night. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

1. Like most games the Wizards have played this season, on Monday they started out scorching on offense while defense appeared optional. 

This play was an exception. Bradley Beal, whom you will see plenty more from in this post, got a steal that led to a three for Otto Porter Jr. on the other end:

Though the Wizards won, Porter was held to just six points in 22 minutes of action.

2. Back to Beal. Though that first-half play was nice, he was quiet for much of this game. It wasn't until less than five minutes were remaining in the third quarter that he flipped a switch.

But when he did, there was nothing the Magic could do to stop him. This was one of the plays he made during his third quarter takeover. He used a nifty behind-the-back crossover to set up Dwight Howard for an and-1 bucket:

3. Beal accounted for 10 points in a three-minute stretch, capped off with this steal and dunk:

Beal started the game 3-for-13 from the field, but ended it with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

4. John Wall (25 points, 10 assists) and Jeff Green (18 points, six rebounds) also had big nights. They connected on this alley-oop in the fourth quarter:

Green had 10 points in the fourth quarter and Wall had nine.

5. Wall kept it going late with this fadeaway jumper to force a Magic timeout. The way he toyed with the defense off the dribble was quite impressive:

Speaking of Wall, if you ask Beal, it was the media (and more specifically ESPN's Stephen A. Smith) that set the five-time All-Star off. Wall, Beal says, was playing with some extra motivation with Smith sitting courtside:

Don't question him. Just go with it.

The Wizards have now won two straight games. In a sign that it's still super early and probably not time to freak out about the big picture, the Wizards are now just 1 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the East.

 

 

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