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Breaking down the Wizards' incredible 26-0 run vs. Celtics in Game 4

Breaking down the Wizards' incredible 26-0 run vs. Celtics in Game 4

Coming out of halftime of Game 4 on Sunday night, the Celtics appeared to be in control. After a 48-48 tie at the break, the Celtics got five quick points in :50 seconds. They had the momentum. 

Within a matter of seconds, everything changed. Washington ignited into a five-minute mushroom cloud of threes, three-point plays and fastbreak wizardry. Just over five minutes later, after trailing by five, the Wizards were up by 21.

It was a 26-0 run and later head coach Scott Brooks described it as "probably our best stretch of basketball" of the season. Somehow, everything clicked for the Wizards and there was nothing that could stop them.

The run began at the 10:41 mark and ended at 4:42 when Al Horford scored an alley-oop layup out of a timeout. That finally stopped the bleeding, but by then it was far too late for Boston.

The Wizards' starting lineup of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat were on the floor during the 26-0 run and all of them contributed. Beal scored eight points, Wall had seven, Morris had five, Porter four and Gortat had two. The Wizards shot 10-for12 and made eight straight before the Celtics finally scored. Washington also made all four of their free throws.

RELATED: FORMER NBA TOUGH GUY STEPHEN JACKSON ADMIRES WIZARDS' EDGE

The Celtics blamed turnovers afterwards for why things slipped away and the numbers back that up. Boston had seven turnovers during that stretch and Isaiah Thomas had three himself.

"We turned the ball over," Thomas said. "And then they got a few offensive rebounds where there were kick out threes, those kill you. That's what happened in the third quarter."

Many of the turnovers during that stretch were forced. The Wizards clamped down and earned a shot clock violation. Wall and Porter each had one steal and Morris had two.

Much of those five minutes was played in the fastbreak and the Celtics committed five fouls as they tried to slow the game down. That allowed both Wall and Beal to earn and-1 calls on layups and each of them hit their free throws.

The Wizards nearly had a 26-0 run in Game 3 when they outscored the Celtics 22-0 during one point in the first half. On Sunday, they became the first team with two runs of 20+ points to zero in the postseason since the 2010-11 Spurs.

Several players were surprised that the number on Sunday reached 26-0. They knew they were playing well, but that well? They were just that locked in.

Morris, however, found some words to described what happened and produced what was quite easily the best quote of the night.

On what was going through his mind during the 26-0 run: "Blow them the f--- out. Just keep pressing them. Go up by 50 if we can. That's the mindset I feel like all of us had."

No need for numbers when you can sum it up that well.

[RELATED: Thomas not happy with refs after Game 4 loss to Wizards]

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Former Wizard Jared Dudley: Time for a Wizards shake-up

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Former Wizard Jared Dudley: Time for a Wizards shake-up

Jared Dudley spent one season with the Washington Wizards. The core pieces on the current roster were there during that 2015-16 campaign. Based on that prior experience and a first-hand look Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets forward offered a candid assessment of the 5-10 squad. 

"I’m seeing a team that has been together too long,” Dudley told NBC Sports Washington following the Wizards’ 115-104 home loss. “They haven’t made progress, so it’s time to change things over there.”

John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter were teammates of Dudley for a full season. Markieff Morris joined the roster at the 2016 trade deadline. Washington failed to make the playoffs that season, but qualified in each of the next two and has reached the postseason in four of the five last years. 

The Wizards did not advance beyond the second round during any of those postseason appearances and lost in the first round last season after a 43-39 regular season. Following a 2-9 start, Washington won three in a row before falling to a scrappy Nets team that lost leading scorer Caris Levert earlier in the week to a gruesome ankle injury.

Dudley started and played 22 minutes in Brooklyn's win. The 12-year veteran's opinion on Washington included suggestions like extended use of a small-ball lineup. 

“I think (they have) good players, but sometimes, good players need different situations. For them, I think that it’s tough the way the league is changing. They play two bigs,” Dudley said about the combination of power forward Markieff Morris and center Dwight Howard. “In this day in age, Otto needs to play more four because he’s tall enough, more spacing.”

Facing a Brooklyn defense that leads the league in opponent mid-range shots, Washington often settled for such looks. The Wizards attempted a season-low 18 three-point attempts. 

The NBA rumor mill continually attempts to plot a new course for the Wizards. New York Times NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves tried to “engage” Washington in trade talks for Jimmy Butler before shipping the All-Star guard to Philadelphia. “But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start,” Stein reported earlier this week. “They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts.”

Dudley sees the logic of moving at least one of those three players.

“I think they’ve had enough time, but they really haven’t (broken) through,” Dudley said. “I can see by the All-Star break or summer time one of these pieces moving. It’s going to be good for them. If it’s John, or Otto or Brad, one of them three, I think their next move is going to be good for both teams."
 

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Kelly Oubre Jr. is ready to 'take over the world' with new Converse shoe deal

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Kelly Oubre Jr. is ready to 'take over the world' with new Converse shoe deal

Kelly Oubre Jr. takes his style very seriously, perhaps to a point even further than the most fashionable of NBA players. He wants to be a figure in the industry someday as a designer of his own shoes and clothing line.

So when he approached the process of brokering a new shoe contract, he took into consideration factors that went well beyond the average player and outside of the mainstream. He wanted more than a basketball shoe. He wanted a lifestyle brand and a partnership that wasn't solely about basketball.

Oubre left Adidas to sign a new mutli-year deal this week with Nike and Converse. He will wear Nike shoes in the meantime, until a concept made by Converse is ready for game action. Then, he will become the only NBA player to wear the brand on the floor.

"Everyone knows me and I'm a different individual," he said. "Converse is reinventing themselves in the basketball world. I will be the only athlete this year flying the flag. I'm very excited to be able to represent."

Converse has a history in the game of basketball, of course. Before Nike and Adidas took over, Converse was the dominant brand for most of the 20th century, up until the 1980s. Their Chuck Taylor All Stars maintain a legacy today in the casual shoe market.

The deep basketball history of Converse appealed to Oubre.

"It's old school. It started with basketball, then it went to the rock stage, then it went to people wearing them without any thought to what the foundation of the brand was," he said.

Oubre said there is no release date yet for the new-age Converse basketball shoe. He expects to have some input on the design of future shoes and said it's part of why he chose them.

Oubre plans to begin his own clothing line at some point with the working title of 'Dope Soul.' He told NBC Sports Washington on Friday that it is "coming soon," but couldn't provide any further details. 

Oubre had restrictions under his previous contract with Adidas and had been looking forward to finding a new deal that would allow for such things. It sounds like he may be afforded that freedom.

For now, with Converse, Oubre is excited to chart a new path with an unconventional company.

"You can't really define Converse because we've done everything and we're about to take over the world," he said.