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Bradley Beal was excellent again but his biggest play vs. Nets was the game-winning pass

Bradley Beal was excellent again but his biggest play vs. Nets was the game-winning pass

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets 110-106 on Wednesday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down:

1. Two streaks ended for the Wizards on Wednesday night, but they have no problem with the end result.

Bradley Beal did not score 50 points after doing so in two straight games, but the Wizards won against the Brooklyn Nets to break a three-game skid coming out of the All-Star break. After dropping 55 against the Bucks on Monday, Beal said he would rather have the win. He got his wish on Wednesday.

Beal still played very well. He had 30 points to go along with five assists, five rebounds and three steals. Seventeen of his points came in the fourth quarter. 

Beal shot 11-for-24 from the field and 4-for-9 from three. That is an excellent game, even if it was a major drop-off from his previous two in the points department.

Beal's best play was a pass to teammate Jerome Robinson with under 10 seconds to go. Though an unproven player, Robinson was wide open and was able to knock down a go-ahead three. Robinson then grabbed a rebound and made two free throws to seal the victory.

The win pushed the Wizards to 21-36 on the season and it also helped them gain some ground in the playoff race, as the Nets are currently the seventh seed.

2. The Wizards made a lineup change for this game, replacing Ish Smith as the starting point guard with Shabazz Napier, who came over weeks ago in a trade deadline deal. 

The Wizards had lost three games, which may have had something to do with it. But head coach Scott Brooks described the move as more related to Smith's success running the second unit. Smith, of course, has spent most of his time on the bench this season, previously backing up Isaiah Thomas.

And when Thomas was in the fold, it was obvious to most that Smith was the better player, even though he wasn't starting. To his credit, Smith seems to have no problem with either role, just as long as he has one.

3. After two so-so games against the Bulls and Bucks, Rui Hachimura was back to his usual scoring ways with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field. Most of those points came in the midrange and on drives to the rim, the combination which has become his bread-and-butter.

Hachimura, though, didn't score in the fourth quarter. The trend of him starting fast, then slowing down continued.

4. The way Troy Brown Jr.'s minutes were doled out in this game is worth noting. Brown, who is usually one of the first players off the bench as the back-up wing, didn't check in until there was 6:27 left in the second quarter. He ended up playing only 13 minutes, which is more than a few ticks below his 25.5 per game season average.

Even with the roster now nearly healthy, he still usually plays a lot more. This month, for instance, he is averaging 22.2 minutes. 

Even when Brown got in, Brooks was keeping a close eye on him. Late in the first half, right after Brown knocked down a three, Brooks got right out of his seat to yell at Brown about his defensive positioning. It looks like the coach is practicing some tough love for the 20-year-old.

Brown ended up with seven points and three boards.

5. Davis Bertans was back in the lineup after missing the last game with right knee soreness. He played quiet well, too, with 14 points, going 4-for-11 from three-point range.

Thomas Bryant also returned after resting Monday in the second game of a back-to-back due to his recent right foot issues. He had eight points and seven boards.

At this point, it seems like it might be a while before Bryant is fully himself again as he continues to deal with a strict minutes limit.

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Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard had eye on present and future with trade deadline acquisitions

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard had eye on present and future with trade deadline acquisitions

The Wizards didn’t make any earth-shattering moves at the NBA Trade Deadline, but they did initiate a couple of trades that general manager Tommy Sheppard believes can help the team in the interim and long-term.

Sheppard joined the Wizards’ broadcast prior to Friday’s game at Capital One Arena against the Mavericks to discuss those moves and more with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller.

He conveyed a sense of sadness for having to part with Isaiah Thomas and Jordan McRae, who were both well-liked within the organization, but he was excited about the acquisitions of guards Jerome Robinson and Shabazz Napier.

“For us, to get Jerome, that’s a fantastic buy for us for the future,” Sheppard said. “And we think with our player development staff that he’s going to be able to be implemented pretty quickly.”

Robinson, a first-round pick of the Clippers in 2018, has played sparingly the past two seasons. In 75 total games, the combo guard has averaged about 3 points in just under 11 minutes per game. The Clippers, usually in playoff contention, could afford little time and room for Robinson to grow compared to what he's expected to have with the Wizards.

Sheppard said the Clippers weren’t necessarily looking to get rid of Robinson, but in acquiring Marcus Morris Sr., they needed to shed salary. The Wizards were more than willing to help, as they were able to acquire a player they coveted in the 2018 draft.

Trading Thomas for Robinson created a void at the point guard spot, however, which Sheppard said prompted the second trade.

“Denver had made a trade earlier last week where they moved out their bench scorer, Malik Beasley,” Sheppard said. “And we had a walking bucket, Jordan McRae, and all of a sudden we needed a point guard. So it was a deal that kind of fit both needs, for Denver and for us.”

Sheppard did add that Napier was a player the Wizards had discussions with last summer in free agency. He said the guard will be able to have an immediate impact.

Napier, a first-round pick in 2014, has been a career backup to this point in his career. He averaged a career-high 9.4 points last season for the Nets.

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