Wizards

Latest Huskies upset only highlights inconsistency

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Latest Huskies upset only highlights inconsistency

SEATTLE (AP) For the first time since sharing the national title in 1991, Washington has knocked off two teams ranked in the AP Top 10 in the same season thanks to its 20-17 win over then-No. 7 Oregon State on Saturday to go along with the Huskies' upset of Stanford in late September.

Despite those highlights, it's been a maddeningly inconsistent season at Washington.

The Huskies enter the final third of the season at 4-4. They've lost all three of their road games by at least 30 points and haven't won outside Seattle since Oct. 1, 2011. They are the only team from a BCS conference that has yet to score more than 21 points this season against an FBS team.

Yet if Washington (2-3 Pac-12) can solve its problems playing on the road, beginning with a rare Friday night game at California, its final four opponents have just a combined record of 9-24. Three of those final four will come on the road, meaning Washington needs at least one road victory to reach bowl eligibility for the third straight season.

And knowing these Huskies, they won't make it easy on themselves in the final weeks.

``More than anything it's understanding what the challenge is and embracing it. It's not something to shy away from,'' Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday. ``It's a great opportunity for our football team to mature, to take another step in the right direction of understanding the focus that is needed when you go on the road as a team.''

The Huskies' upset of Oregon State on Saturday night featured another strong defensive effort at home, making up for the continued lagging of Washington's offense. The Huskies forced a season-high four turnovers, all interceptions of Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion that helped balance giving up 427 total yards.

It was a significant improvement over the lackluster, half-hearted effort put forward a week earlier in a 52-17 loss at Arizona during which the Wildcats rolled up 533 total yards on Washington and created concerns that the Huskies' season was spiraling out of control.

Those concerns have been tempered for the moment, with the focus now on fixing an offense that continues to show very little pop.

``I'm waiting for the game to come where we put it all together and play consistently disciplined and executing plays down after down after down, because when we do we'll be pretty good,'' Sarkisian said. ``It's never too late to get there.''

Washington is the only team from a BCS conference that has yet to score more than 21 points this season against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Huskies scored 52 in their win over Portland State of the Big Sky Conference, but otherwise their season-high is 21 points in a win over San Diego State and their loss at Oregon.

Five of the defenses the Huskies have faced rank in the top 50 nationally in total defense, but the lack of scoring is a frustrating trend for an offensive coach like Sarkisian.

``It's on us. Granted we have played some pretty good teams, but our inconsistency is just glaring to me. It's not one guy, it's not two guys. I just feel like we keep taking our turns. Sometimes it's the play-caller that takes his turn,'' Sarkisian said. ``It takes 11 guys executing on every snap to win that snap and for whatever reason or another we just stub our own toes with mistakes we really shouldn't be making. That's the fight for us. I know that we are better than the way we have been playing.''

One offensive highlight of the Huskies' win over Oregon State was the more consistent play of quarterback Keith Price. After committing 10 turnovers in the previous three games, Price had only one miscue against the Beavers, an interception that was the fault of a receiver who stopped his route.

Sarkisian's game plan was to rely on the run game. The plan worked as Bishop Sankey ran for a pair of scores and Price was only asked to make a few critical throws.

``I thought our guys really matched the physicality that was needed in that game,'' Sarkisian said.

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Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas was an attention-grabbing, electric player on the court. That's equally true off it, where Agent Zero has made a name for himself saying outrageous things and playing the jester. 

Arenas was back at it with another controversial take on his No Chill podcast this week. This time, he took aim at bench mobs.

"[The] only thing that irritates the s--- out of me, is when someone scores and they're like shooting the arrows and they havin' this big ole hype party on the bench ... f--- that ... I want your position. I don't want you to do good."

Bench celebrations have to be some of the most fun, light-hearted and beloved parts of an NBA game. Just look at this. 

Sure, players are drawing attention to themselves by cheering on their teammates, but who begrudges guys for rooting for their own team's success?

Arenas, apparently.

It might sound odd that a guy like Gil couldn't relate to goofy antics. Take a closer look at his history, though, and it makes perfect sense. 

Arenas was one of the most ball-dominant guards in the NBA at a time when Kobe Bryant dominated. That's saying something.

Just compare him versus Bradley Beal, for example. 

Arenas averaged 19 or more shots per game in four of his eight seasons with the Wizards. Beal, by contrast, has only done that once.

Arenas also logged 39 minutes per game while playing for Washington. Even last season when Beal's playing time was a concern, he played 37 minutes a night. 

Of course Arenas can't relate to sitting back and watching his teammates take his minutes or his shots. He had no experience doing either of those things.

There's also the indisputable fact that Agent Zero loves to stir up controversy. If the general consensus is one thing, Arenas gets attention by saying the other. 

Look no further than a few weeks ago. When most NBA players and fans were excited about Vince Carter deciding to try to play another year, Arenas came out opposed to the idea on his podcast.

He said Carter should retire to make room for younger players to prove themselves in the league. 

At this rate, if Arenas uses next week's podcast space to argue that Zion Williamson should go back to Duke, no one should be surprised. 

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Wizards' Bradley Beal snubbed from All-NBA, doesn't qualify for supermax contract

Wizards' Bradley Beal snubbed from All-NBA, doesn't qualify for supermax contract

Despite setting statistical career-highs across the board and earning many votes from the media, Wizards guard Bradley Beal fell short of making All-NBA, the league announced on Thursday.

Beal, 25, put together a brilliant season despite his team's disappointing 32-50 record. He averaged 25.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three. 

But voting members of the media saw others as more worthy of the honor.

The six guards chosen for All-NBA over Bradley Beal were:
- Stephen Curry, Warriors
- James Harden, Rockets
- Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
- Kyrie Irving, Celtics
- Russell Westbrook, Thunder
- Kemba Walker, Hornets

Walker essentially got the final spot over Beal.

This is bittersweet news for the Wizards. Though Beal earning All-NBA would be an accomplishment worth celebrating, him not making it saves them a good deal of money and probably some headaches as well.

Beal would have qualified for a designated veteran player extension, also known as a supermax contract. He would have been in line to earn roughly $194 million over four years in a contract starting with the 2021-22 season at 35 percent of the salary cap.

With John Wall already signed to a supermax contract, that would have put the Wizards in a precarious financial position. But now the Wizards will not have to worry about that problem, at least for now.

Beal could always make All-NBA next season and these questions would be revisited. Also, with two years left on his contract, next summer could get interesting as he will be one year away from free agency.

But Thursday's news is good for anyone hoping to see Beal continue playing in a Washington uniform. This certainly increases his chances of sticking around for at least one more year, though the team's new president - whenever they are hired - may have other ideas.

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