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Always will be spots in NBA for players like Garrett Temple

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Always will be spots in NBA for players like Garrett Temple

The reason Garrett Temple, who had bounced around the NBA, D-League and Europe before finding a home with the Wizards in 2012, is here is defense. But the combo guard occasionally can do more than that.

In tying his career-high of 18 points in a 108-99 win vs. the Orlando Magic on Saturday, Temple made his first start with Bradley Beal out with a left shoulder contusion. He was inserted over Gary Neal because coach Randy Wittman was concerned about Evan Fournier, who has been a problem matchup.

"I was going out looking to defend. Fournier has been on a hot streak averaging like 19, 20 a game. He still got his 18. I focused first and foremost on defense," said Temple, who made 3 of 6 threes and is considered the Wizards' best one-on-one defender. "Everything else falls into place."

Fournier only shot 7 of 17, including 1 of 6 on threes. Temple was in sync with John Wall from the beginning. He has spent a lot of time with Beal in the backcourt, too. When he was a rookie, Beal didn't have Wall to run with because he had a knee injury and Temple started a career-high 36 games in 2012-13. They won just 29 games but remarkably had a top 10 scoring defense which is virtually unheard of among losing teams. That's why he's a favorite of Wittman.

"Temp is one of the best teammates you can ever have because he’s always working hard, always one of the first and last guys (to come and leave). Never makes excuses if he’s not playing," said Wall, "but when his number his called, his opportunity is (there), he’s going to give you 110 percent. He’s not going to do nothing out of his game.”

It has taken time for him to become a better three-point shooter. When the Wizards didn't have Beal to start last season because of a broken wrist, Temple started the first nine games as they won seven. He made 14 of his first 27 threes before cooling off and settled back into his role of a situational player off the bench.

"I work well John because I know he knows where I'm going to be in the corners, running the lanes, so in the second half we were able to get out and run off of our defense," said Temple, who can assume some of the ball-handling duties to give Wall a chance to catch his breath. "That's when we were able to flourish.

"We worked on it every day, the catch drive and kick. A couple plays, we're catching it. If we have the space we shoot the shot. If not, we drive it, lanes open up, we're able to hit the bigs. I hit a couple times after the drive. That's just being aggressive, taking what the defense gives you and letting the game come to you."

It may be a while before he has another performance like this. Or it may happen sooner rather than later. That's how it is with Temple. He won't complain. He'll prepare the same way each day as he pushes Wall and Beal in practices. When the Wizards sometimes struggle defensively, Temple will be the only player that Wittman will praise for doing the right things.

"He gave us great energy. Starting him, from an offensive standpoint and defensively, it gives us that energized bunny that we need," Wittman said. "He lets things come to him.

"He's a speedster. He's not a guy  you want to play a walk-up offense with because of his ability to run the lanes, to handle the ball. ... This (offense) fits him pretty good, too."

MORE WIZARDS: Grant, Portis fall back while Oubre is on upswing with Wizards

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

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John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?