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Beal returns as Wizards work over Bucks 106-101: Five takeaways


Beal returns as Wizards work over Bucks 106-101: Five takeaways

Bradley Beal made his return to the Wizards, who didn't miss a beat as they won for the third time in a row to move to a game from getting back to .500, with a 106-101 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks at Verizon Center on Wednesday.

The Wizards had seven players score in double figures, led by John Wall (19 points, eight assists, five rebounds), Ramon Sessions (15 points, five assists), Jared Dudley (13 points, six rebounds), Nene (12 points), Garrett Temple (11 points, five assists, four rebounds, five steals), Beal (11 points) and Otto Porter (10 points).

It's their third win over Milwaukee (16-25) in as many meetings. 

Washington (18-19) darted out of the gates by shooting 62% in the first quarter to take a 28-19 lead. They stretched the lead to as large as 19 points in the second quarter and showed superb ball movement.

But they lost it by shooting just 6 of 23 in the third quarter and entered the fourth down 74-71. A 20-5 run, however, to put an end to Milwaukee. 

Khris Middleton (25 points), Jabari Parker (22 points) and Greg Monroe (21 points, 12 rebounds) led the Bucks. 

  • Milwaukee's spacing is terrible, and it allowed Temple to terrorize the passing lane. He had a career-high five steals in the first quarter alone, and in the second he had a chasedown block of O.J. Mayo that led to a transition layup for Dudley. When Dudley missed a three, Temple attacked the ball on the carom and challenged Giannis Antetokounmpo for it. The loose ball was picked up by Sessions for a layup. 

  • Inserting rookie Kelly Oubre changed the tone of the game. The Bucks have length and with a 7-2 wingspan he has lots of reach. Oubre had a three-point shot at the buzzer to end the third waved off from about 40 feet. He started the fourth and made a steal on the first possession that produced free throws that he made. Then calmly, Oubre buried a corner three-pointer as the Wizards went up 78-74. Oubre had another steal that resulted in two free throws for Wall. That's five points and two steals in nine minutes. This kid is for real and shouldn't be forgotten in Wittman's rotation because Beal is back. Aside from a three-point stroke that has been deadly accurate (12 of 22 since Dec. 19), he has those intangibles -- confidence, grit and ice in his veins -- that can't be gauged. But this is why the Wizards were so confident in trading up to get him in June. This is a game, however, where he should've played more. The Wizards had 15 deflections in the fourth quarter alone and turned over the Bucks 12 times. It's not by coincidence. 

  • Porter went to the locker room with 6:46 left in the third quarter limping because of a sore right hip, after he made a difficult clutch shot in transition in the lane. He did not return. Add him to the list of the wounded that already includes Marcin Gortat (left knee), Kris Humphries (right knee) and Alan Anderson (left ankle). Neal was a game-time decision because he'd come down with the flu and only played six minutes. He did make his only shot on a three.

  • Beal only played 22 minutes but having him back changes how teams defend the Wizards. With him on the floor late in the fourth, the defense didn't think twice about allowing Dudley to shoot. Multiple defenders were too concerned about running Beal off the three-point line. The result was wide-open threes for Dudley, who even had time to reset his feet with no one running at him. The lead bumped up to 100-92. 

  • Nene, making his second start in the middle for Gortat, took over the game defensively in the fourth to lead the Wizards from a 74-71 deficit. His ball pressure produced a steal from John Henson that led to Sessions' dunk as the Wizards regained the lead 75-74. He switched on to Michael Carter-Williams and forced him to lose it out of bounds and then tied up Johnny O'Bryant to prevent an offensive rebound. Then he won the tap which led to Oubre's three. Nene had another steal that put Wall in transition that got him to the foul line, forced Henson into a miss at the rim by playing good position defense and gave up his body to take a charge from Antetokounmpo. Then a few plays later, Wall took a hard charge in a similar spot from Jabari Parker. That sort of effort is contagious. 

[RELATED: Beal reacts to hometown Rams moving to L.A.]

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bruno Fernando

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Bruno Fernando

School: Maryland
Position: Center
Age: 20 (turns 21 in August)
Height: 6-10
Weight: 237
Wingspan: 7-3
Max vertical: 33.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.9 bpg, 60.7 FG% (5.1/8.4), 30.0 3PT% (0.1/0.3), 77.9 FT%

Player comparison: Jusuf Nurkic, Bam Adebayo

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 24th, NBADraft.net 12th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 28th, Ringer 37th

5 things to know:

*Fernando tested the NBA draft waters last year before returning to school and clearly helped his stock by doing so. He went from a likely second round pick to someone who could fall in the lottery. Fernando is ranked in most mock drafts as the third-best big man in this draft behind Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes.

*He is one of the best rebounders in this class. He averaged 10.9 boards per game as a sophomore and had five games of 15 or more. That includes a 19-rebound performance against Nebraska on Feb. 6. Fernando is a strong, physical forward so there is reason to believe those skills will translate to the next level.

*Concerns about Fernando include his lack of an outside shot. He attempted only 13 threes in college and did most of his damage around the rim. But the potential for Fernando to become a reliable scorer in the NBA appear to be there. He has soft touch around the rim and can finish with power.

*Defensively, Fernando needs some work. He has the physical tools with his size and long arms, and he averaged 1.9 blocks per game in college, but some evaluatiors criticize his defensive instincts and discipline. As long as Fernando can block shots and rebound in the NBA, he should be fine on that end of the floor.

*Fernando is originally from the country of Angola and has played for their national team in several international tournaments. Angola basketball is famous for being the subject of one of Charles Barkley's most memorable quotes. During the 1992 Olympics, he said of USA's next opponent: "I don't know anything about Angola, but I know they're in trouble."

Fit with Wizards: Fernando would fit the Wizards in a variety of ways. Rim protection and rebounding are their biggest needs and he would help them to different degrees in both areas. With rebounding in particular, he could be a big plus.

But two questions about Fernando could give the Wizards pause. One is if they can justify taking him ninth when he may fall into the teens and second is what his ceiling will ultimately be. Does he have All-Star potential or will he top out as an Enes Kanter-type rebounding specialist?

Ideally, the Wizards would find someone with very high upside to give them hope for a true franchise building block moving forward. There may be better options than Fernando at No. 9, even if they play positions that are less of a need for the Wizards.

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Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

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Former Terp Kevin Huerter makes NBA All-Rookie Second Team

With Dallas' Luka Doncic and Atlanta's Trae Young leading the way, the top five NBA draft picks from 2018 have been selected as the top five NBA rookies this season.

Doncic and Young were unanimous first-team selections for the NBA All-Rookie team, which was announced Tuesday. Phoenix's Deandre Ayton, Memphis' Jaren Jackson and Sacramento's Marvin Bagley III are also on the first team, which was chosen by 100 voters who cover the league.

Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young were the first five picks in the last year's draft.

This marks the first time since the 1984 draft that the first five picks ended up as first-team all-rookie -- the selections that year being Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley. That was the entirety of the rookie team that season; the NBA didn't start doing first- and second-team selections until 1988-89.

The Hawks had two all-rookie selections this season, with Kevin Huerter on the second team to join Young. Also on the second team were a pair of Los Angeles Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet, along with Cleveland's Collin Sexton and New York's Mitchell Robinson.

Rookie of the year will be announced at the NBA Awards show in Los Angeles on June 24. Doncic, Young and Ayton are the finalists.

Doncic and Young join other unanimous first-team all-rookie picks over the last decade: Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell (2018), Malcolm Brogdon and Dario Saric (2017), Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis (2016), Andrew Wiggins (2015), Michael Carter-Williams (2014), Damian Lillard (2013), Kyrie Irving (2012), Blake Griffin (2011) and Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry (2010).

Others receiving votes: Phoenix's Mikal Bridges, New York's Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier, Minnesota's Josh Okogie, Dallas' Jalen Brunson, Brooklyn's Rodions Kurucs, Chicago's Wendell Carter Jr., Charlotte's Mile Bridges, Detroit's Bruce Brown, Sacramento's Harry Giles III, Orlando's Mo Bamba and Indiana's Aaron Holiday.