Wizards

NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

NEW YORK (AP) Luol Deng scored a season-high 33 points in the Chicago Bulls' third victory over New York this season, a 108-101 win Friday that sent the Knicks to their season-high third straight loss.

Topping the 29 points he scored here last month, Deng shot 13 of 18 from the field and also led the defensive effort that contained Carmelo Anthony in the decisive first half of his return from a one-game suspension.

Carlos Boozer added 17 points for the Bulls, whose offense won't be at full strength until Derrick Rose is back from knee surgery, yet they still shot 57 percent.

Anthony ended up with 39 points for the Knicks, who were roughed up again a night after losing in Indiana.

HAWKS 103, JAZZ 95

ATLANTA (AP) - ATLANTA (AP) - Devin Harris scored a season-high 24 points and Atlanta rallied from 15 points down in the second half.

Randy Foye had 25 points to lead Utah, which had won four of five but was denied its first back-to-back road wins of the season. Al Jefferson had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Milsap had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz.

The Hawks, who trailed 75-60 in the third quarter, played from behind before taking their first lead of the second half on consecutive baskets by Al Horford. The second basket by Horford, set up by Josh Smith's pass, gave Atlanta a 94-92 lead with 2:44 remaining.

Jefferson answered with a tying basket before Ivan Johnson scored on a fast break to give the lead back to Atlanta. Utah's Jamaal Tinsley made one of two free throws to leave the Hawks' lead at 96-95. Josh Smith's short jumper and Lou Williams' 3-pointer padded the lead.

HORNETS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 92

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Greivis Vasquez had 18 points and 13 assists to lead New Orleans to its fourth straight win.

Eric Gordon added 16 points, Ryan Anderson had 15, Jason Smith 14, Al-Farouz Aminu 12 and Roger Mason 10 for the Hornets, who have won five out of six with Gordon in the starting lineup.

Luke Ridnour scored 20 points to lead a balanced Timberwolves offense. Nikola Pekovic added 18 points, Andrei Kirilenko 17, Dante Cunningham 12 and Alexey Shved 11.

New Orleans trailed 29-14 after the first quarter but outscored Minnesota 56-32 over the next two periods to take a 70-61 lead.

The Hornets hit the century mark for the first time since 113-102 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 14.

CELTICS 103, ROCKETS 91

BOSTON (AP) - Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half and Kevin Garnett added 17 points and four blocks as Boston nearly blew a 17-point lead before pulling away late.

The Celtics extended their season-high winning streak to five games, but only after surviving a 12-0 run that pulled the Rockets within two points midway through the fourth quarter.

Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points and eight assists for the Celtics. Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger scored 14 apiece and Sullinger also had 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.

James Harden scored 24 and Chandler Parsons added 18 for Houston, which fell to 0-2 during a three-game road trip that concludes Saturday in Philadelphia.

NETS 99, SUNS 79

NEW YORK (AP) - Joe Johnson scored 19 points and MarShon Brooks added 17 points off the bench as Brooklyn won its fifth straight.

The Nets have won three straight games by 20 or more points for the first time in the team's NBA history.

Deron Williams added 14 points and Andray Blatche chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds as the Nets ended a five game home losing streak against Phoenix.

Jared Dudley led the Suns with 18 points and Shannon Brown had 15 off the bench as Phoenix lost its fifth straight and for the 11th time in 12 games.

RAPTORS 99, BOBCATS 78

TORONTO (AP) - Alan Anderson scored 16 points against his former team, Jose Calderon had 15 and Toronto won for the 10th time in 13 games.

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.

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.

PISTONS 103, BUCKS 87

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Greg Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Knight scored 20 points, and Detroit handed Milwaukee interim coach Jim Boylan his first loss.

Detroit led 74-60 going into the fourth quarter and squashed any hope of a Bucks comeback when Monroe scored on a hook shot, layup and dunk and Knight added a 3 as the lead grew to 83-62 with 9:57 to play.

Rodney Stuckey's 3 gave the Pistons another 21-point lead with 2:48 to go and the Bucks didn't get closer than 14 again.

Brandon Jennings and Beno Udrih had 15 points for Milwaukee.

Boylan, who took over for the fired Scott Skiles earlier this week, had won his first two games - against Phoenix on Tuesday and Chicago on Wednesday.

GRIZZLIES 101, SPURS 98, OT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Rudy Gay hit a pullup jumper from 14 feet with 27.8 seconds left, and Memphis held off San Antonio in overtime for its fourth straight victory and the first over its Southwest Division rival since the 2011 playoffs.

Gay led Memphis with 23 points, and Mike Conley had 21 points and five assists

San Antonio had won five straight in the series since the Grizzlies upset the then-No. 1 seed in the opening round in 2011. The Spurs also had a 2 1/2-game divisional lead on Memphis coming into this game - with the Grizzlies having played five fewer games - and the teams played at postseason intensity despite the calendar.

Tony Parker, who finished with 30 points for the Spurs, forced overtime, beating the buzzer with a 27-footer tying it at 95. He also opened the extra period with a 3 that turned out to be the Spurs' only bucket as San Antonio went 1 of 10 from the floor. Manu Ginobili missed a long 3 just before the buzzer.

NUGGETS 98, CAVALIERS 91

DENVER (AP) - Danilo Gallinari scored 23 points, hitting a crucial 3-pointer in the waning seconds, and Denver rallied for the win after trailing for the most of the game.

Kosta Koufos added a career-high 21 points and Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Nuggets withstand 22 turnovers, which matched a season high and led to 24 Cleveland points. It was the fourth win in a row for the Nuggets, who beat Cleveland for the 10th time in the last 13 meetings in Denver.

Kyrie Irving, playing despite an illness, scored 28 points to lead the Cavaliers. Dion Waiters had 18 points and Tristan Thompson 16.

Quick Links

Enormity of the Wizards’ offseason and long-term future will hinge on the May 14 Draft Lottery

rj-barrett-defense-duke-ucf-usat.jpg
USA TODAY SPORTS

Enormity of the Wizards’ offseason and long-term future will hinge on the May 14 Draft Lottery

With the 2018-19 season in the rearview for the Washington Wizards, we at NBC Sports Washington are analyzing the five biggest questions of what should be the most consequential offseason they have had in years...

NO. 5: WILL THE WIZARDS GET LUCKY IN THE DRAFT LOTTERY ON MAY 14?

Though the Washington Wizards made some poor decisions to create the mess their next general manager will need to clean up, they have also been struck with a good deal of bad luck. John Wall falling in his home and rupturing his Achilles tendon certainly qualifies. Dwight Howard suffering a relapse with his back and requiring surgery to repair a herniated disc was out of their control. And if Bradley Beal makes All-NBA and qualifies for a supermax this summer, the timing would not be ideal as far as their finances are concerned.

The Wizards have long been one of the most snakebitten franchises in sports and even stand out in a city where curses are often blamed for sports misery. They could use some luck for a change and especially on the night of May 14.

That's when the 2019 NBA draft lottery will take place in Chicago, Ill. ESPN will broadcast the event live at 8:30 p.m. as the ping-pong balls fly through the air, determining the order for the June 20 draft and therefore the future of the league.

The Wizards will for the first time since 2013 have high stakes in the lottery. They had finished with at least a .500 record for five straight seasons before bottoming out in 2018-19. But their 32-50 record this past season gave them the sixth-best lottery odds and, in the first year under new lottery rules, that has left them in excellent shape ahead of May 14.

The Wizards lottery odds will break down pick-by-pick like this:

1st - 9.0%

2nd - 9.2%

3rd - 9.4%

4th - 9.6%

5th - N/A

6th - 8.6%

7th - 29.6%

8th - 20.6%

9th - 3.8%

10th - 0.2%

The two most important numbers to consider are nine and 37.2. They have a nine percent chance at the first overall pick and a 37.2 percent shot at selecting in the top four.

The Wizards' nine percent odds at No. 1 are only five ticks lower than the top teams in lottery odds, the Knicks, Cavs and Suns who are tied at 14 percent. Though their chances are still less than one-in-ten, that means they will be very much in the mix to land the ultimate prize, Duke forward Zion Williamson.

Williamson would change everything for the team that drafts him, but perhaps especially for the Wizards, considering the alternative direction their franchise could go. They already fired their general manager and have an uncertain future with their head coach Scott Brooks and arguably with their best player, Beal, as well. They appear to be teetering on the brink of a rebuild and Williamson could jumpstart them into the other direction.

No draft prospect, maybe with the exception of LeBron James in 2003, offers guarantees. Williamson could top out as a good, but not great player. But few who have dominated college basketball quite like he did have then failed to live up to the hype. Consider the fact he is only the third freshman ever to win the Naismith award for NCAA's best player. The other two were Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.

One NBA front office executive told NBC Sports Washington he believes Williamson will be an All-Star as a rookie and not just because of fan voting. He has superstar potential, both from a production and marketing standpoint. Williamson would likely step right in as at least the Wizards' second-best healthy player and as the face of their franchise, the player most associate them with.

Landing the top pick is not the only way May 14 can result in a success for the Wizards. Jumping into the top four would be a major victory, especially in this year's draft which appears to be top-heavy. That could mean a chance to draft Ja Morant of Murray State or R.J. Barrett, Williamson's teammate at Duke. 

Barrett would be a nice fit alongside Beal and Wall when he returns from injury. He complements them positionally and has All-Star potential.

If Morant is the best player on the board, the Wizards should take him. But doing so would create a brand new storyline of how he would co-exist with Wall, who plays the same position. That dynamic would be hard to ignore for as long as they are together in the organization.

Though the Wizards have a better than one-in-three shot at the top four, their two most likely landing spots are No. 7 and 8 overall. If the Wizards did not make a major jump in the lottery, they may be wise to trade back and acquire more picks. They do not have a second round pick this year and not until 2023. They also have roster spots to fill and could use more young (and cheap) players.

The Wizards may not have to trade back very far to stock their cupboard with more picks. Last June, the Hawks got a lightly-protected first round pick from the Mavericks for going back from No. 3 to No. 5. The Sixers traded back from 10th to 16th with the Suns and scooped the Miami Heat's unprotected 2021 first round pick.

In a draft that most consider to not be deep outside of the top four or five picks, the Wizards may not see a huge difference in the eight pick and, say, selecting 12th. And that could be the key to getting another first or a collection of second round picks.

There are so many scenarios for the Wizards that all depend on their luck on May 14. Who they choose to send as their representative will be interesting. Will it be Beal, who right now is their biggest star? How about Wall, who was the first overall pick in 2010 and would be able to impact the franchise in an indirect way despite his long-term injury absence? It could also be whomever they hire as their new GM, or someone in the ownership group.

The Wizards, like the 13 other teams in the lottery, will be hoping for a blessing from the basketball gods.

MORE WIZARDS OFFSEASON NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals defensive prospect Aaron Ness stable after scary injury in Hershey playoff game

usatsi_10315428.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Capitals defensive prospect Aaron Ness stable after scary injury in Hershey playoff game

In their first game against the Bridgeport Tigers to kick off the 2019 Calder Cup playoffs, the Hershey Bears lost blueliner Aaron Ness to a serious injury in the third period.

After Travis St. Denis put pressure on Ness from behind, Ness lost an edge and slid into the goal post and then crashed head-first into the boards, where he was seemingly knocked unconscious. He laid motionless for a few moments as he received attention from medical personnel.

The 28-year-old was stretchered off the ice and transported to Bridgeport Hospital, where he underwent further evaluation. Bears play-by-play announcer Zack Fisch later reported through Dan "Beaker" Stuck that Ness was awake and alert at the hospital and getting x-rays, according to Chocolate Hockey.

The Bears posted an update on Twitter Saturday in regards to his status, saying that he is in stable condition and is expected to be released. It's unclear when he will return to action, but it likely won't be anytime soon.

Ness, one of Hershey's six alternate captains, had 50 assists and 55 points in 71 games with the Bears in the regular season. He has three points in 18 games up in the NHL with Washington.

After the Sound Tigers tied the game following the Ness injury to force OT, Kieffer Bellows scored in double overtime to lift Bridgeport to a 3-2 win to take Game 1 of the series.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: