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Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

Bradley Beal's dominance left Cavaliers fans wondering what could have been

The Wizards may be 15-29, on pace for fewer wins than last year and sport the worst defense in the league by a wide margin, but Wizards fans can find solace in one simple fact. 

They aren't the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Heat one night before, the Wizards waltzed to their easiest win of the season. Bradley Beal was unguardable, Davis Bertans caught fire from three and Cleveland's top-five pick, Darius Garland had another rough shooting night. 

Suffice to say, Cavs fans weren't feeling great after the game last night. Here are some reactions we felt Wizards fans would want to see. 

Sad fans wanting to jump ship

"Absolutely disgraceful performance. In all my years as a fan of this team, I’ve never seen a group of players so lazy and pathetic. I’m taking my fan-hood to San Antonio where it looks like they know how to run a basketball team," said @FreakySportz

"Why do I continue to watch this team smh," wrote @cmcgoingal98

"PLAYERS DON'T CARE!! THIS GARBAGE IS UNREAL!!" @El_Matador92 screamed through his keyboard

"This is a wasted season... They need to trade [Kevin] Love now. He isn't a difference-maker," said @chanowski_j

What could have been with Bradley Beal

Beal had 36 points and eight assists on 15-22 shooting against the Cavs Thursday night. Nobody on Cleveland's roster could contain him, and after the game, it had Cavs fans wondering what could have been if Beal fell past the Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft.

"We missed him by one spot in the draft," wrote @Hockey_Wolf

 

"I love Bradley Beal's game," said @The Real_DiO

"Beal 15-22 from the floor. You have to go into the game knowing he's the primary scorer. How many wide-open looks did he get?" wrote @CLESportPrspctv

"Not much you can do when a team is that committed to getting their star open shots. And Beal is great when free to shoot or drive... Wizards just were committed and determined to get him free," said @KirkLOB

Love brings Beal back to life

The best moment of the night came after Beal took a charge in the second half and laid flat on his back once he got hit. Then Love came over and did his best to revive the star shooting guard. 

Naturally, the jokes were flying at the Cavs' expense. 

"Love is so ready to be traded lol," wrote @ife_any

"Someone needs to revive Kevin Love's career," said @JRaviloi

"Should've left him for dead. Did you see what he did to us last night?" wrote @Belasic_Mark

"Highlight of the night," said @MomOnWarpath

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Scott Brooks learns his first lesson in how to use Bobby Portis: Put him on the floor

Scott Brooks learns his first lesson in how to use Bobby Portis: Put him on the floor

WASHINGTON -- Almost a week passed since Bobby Portis played in an NBA game. His world was twisted since then because of a trade that sent him from Chicago to Washington, a place he had vague familiarity with from a pre-draft workout in 2015. He itched to play.

Scott Brooks knew it would happen Friday, but didn’t know when or who with. Portis, Jabari Parker and Wesley Johnson had flown into town Thursday and pulled on their new Wizards uniforms Friday. They could be blended individually with the starters, play as a trio, mixed in all sorts of manners.

“I’m going to have to throw a lineup out there, and I don’t know how it’s going to work,” Brooks said pregame Friday. “I’m going to hope for the best. If it looks ugly, then close my eyes and try something else. But, they will play hard.”

Brooks turned to the bench with 5:31 to play in the first quarter Friday night, pointed at Portis, then sent him onto the floor. The only way to decipher what he now had on his hands was to roll it into the game. Portis turned the ball over less than a minute later.

Then he made a layup. Followed it with a three-pointer. Another midrange jumper. Another three. Then another jumper. Brooks didn’t need a formula on the first night for Portis. He just needed to put him on the floor. Portis finished with 30 points in his Wizards debut.

“I’m in a good rhythm right now,” Portis said.

So it seems.

His sizzling start delivered 18 points by halftime. It also prompted a message from injured John Wall.

“I just told Bobby at halftime he's got 18, if you don't finish with 30, you're a punk,” Wall said with a laugh. “That was it.”

Portis hit the total on just 18 shots. He was plus-19 in his debut, a needed 119-106 win against a hapless Cleveland Cavaliers team filled with injuries and few functioning parts beyond rookie Collin Sexton.

The Wizards tried to expedite adaptation for their new players by sending them video to watch on their flights into the city. Brooks in turn watched clips of his new crew in an attempt to decipher how he should deploy the new players.

Portis’ opening shot chart showed the combinations on the floor may not matter much for him. He scored from all three levels: in the paint, midrange and behind the three-point line. The game piggybacked a 33-point performance Feb. 2 against Charlotte and a 26-point outing in 24 minutes against Miami on Jan. 30. That’s the rhythm Portis was referring to.

“I was actually really surprised at how well he was able to mesh well quickly on the fly like that, him and Jabari [Parker],” Bradley Beal said. “It was almost like just free-flowing. That is kind of how we play anyway. It is not hard to adapt to our offense and how we play. We are used to guys being the same size, switching a lot of things on defense on that aspect, and they are two big bodies.”

Portis exited with the starters once the outcome became clear. He later had another pivot. Portis gathered portions of what was recently unpacked to go back to where he recently arrived from. Portis and the Wizards face his former team Saturday night in Chicago. Back on a plane, back to the Midwest. Portis has a game out of the way. Brooks goes into the next one with a strategical answer following Portis’ debut: Just put him on the floor.

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Wizards take out Cavaliers as Portis and Parker shine in debuts

Wizards take out Cavaliers as Portis and Parker shine in debuts

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-106 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. Whether the Wizards still have enough to make a push for the playoffs after the trades they made on Wednesday is a question that could take weeks to answer. And what they do against teams as terrible as the Cleveland Cavaliers offer no real conclusions.

But for one night, in their first game with three new players, the Wizards sure looked like a team with at least enough talent to remain competitive over the next two months.

Okay, it was the Cavs. They are so, so bad. Consider this: the Wizards scored 41 points in the first quarter on Wednesday. That was their fifth 40-point quarter of the season, and three of them have come against Cleveland.

The Cavaliers are absolutely dreadful, but the Wizards will take any win they can get. The victory snapped a skid of five losses in six games. 

Up next are the Bulls in Chicago in a game that should be all sorts of awkward after the trade between the teams this week.

2. This game wouldn't have been close if the Wizards just cleared it out for Bobby Portis. The newly-acquired Wizards forward had a sensational debut with 30 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes.

He shot 12-for-17 from the field and 4-for-6 from three. He made his first six shots and had 16 points in 5:31 of play in the first quarter alone. It was pretty amazing, actually.

Portis gives the Wizards a bit more athleticism and speed than Markieff Morris, who he has basically replaced on the roster. Portis was flying up and down the court. With Thomas Bryant, the Wizards now have two big men where speed is a strength.

Speaking of the Portis-Morris comparison, Portis’ 30 points were more than Morris ever scored in a Wizards uniform. His best game with the team was 29 points.

3. Parker was also impressive, but surprisingly it had nothing to do with his scoring. He made an instant impact as a rebounder and particularly as a passer.

Parker ended up with a well-rounded line of seven points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Some of his assists were beauties, including a behind-the-back dime on the fastbreak to Trevor Ariza. Parker stole the ball near midcourt and slipped a perfect lead pass up the floor to set Ariza up for an easy bucket.

Parker has some underrated instincts passing the ball, it appears. He dribbles in transition with his head up and is accurate passing with both hands.

The Wizards, by the way, may have gotten a bit faster. In addition to Portis’ speed, Parker is quicker than Otto Porter Jr.

4. The Wizards’ rotation is likely to evolve many times over the next few weeks, but we saw head coach Scott Brooks’ first crack at it on Friday. For now, it looks like Jeff Green will be the starter with Porter now gone.

That was to be expected, as Green had already started 26 games for the Wizards this season and didn't just get here like Portis and Parker did. But Brooks did say before the game it would be a fluid situation. Certainly, if Portis plays like he did in his debut, he could force the issue.

One other note on the rotation. This could certainly change, but for one game Sam Dekker and Jordan McRae were left out. Dekker was pushed out by the new forwards, and McRae was bumped by Wes Johnson, who came over in the Morris deal from New Orleans.

5. There was a nice moment early in this game during a first quarter timeout as the Wizards showed a video montage of John Wall’s highlights and clips from his various charitable efforts in the D.C. community. They then showed him on the big screen with the message ‘Your D.C. Family is behind you.’

Wall got a strong applause from Wizards fans, who helped show support as he gets set for a long road back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles. The procedure is expected to happen next week.

Wall was also on hand pregame for a ceremony honoring Bradley Beal’s second All-Star appearance. Wall has some tough days ahead, but it probably lifted his spirits to get some love from Wizards faithful.

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