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Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Is Over

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Dave Johnson: Wizards Losing Streak Is Over

Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 11:30pm

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comNew Orleans---It was a night to cue up We Are The Champions. Maybe there should be a victory parade down 6th Street. The Washington Wizards are winners again.To the Wizards players that stayed competitive through the disappointment of a 16 game losing streak, the 96-91 victory over the New Orleans Hornets was a reward overdue. At the very least the Wizards only win in March brought incredible relief.It feels like a championship, said Wizards guard Shaun Livingston. I told Mike (Miller) after the game it feels like we won a ring or something. It is good to get a win and hopefully we have learned that we can play and compete. We just have to settle down and get the best shots we can.Against an All-Star in the Hornets Chris Paul, Livingston played like an All-Star and his composure in managing the Wizards offense was essential. For his first time with the Wizards, Livingston, who had 18 points and 8 assists, not only started but was on the floor at the end of game.The Wizards were effective in defending the screen and roll and Paul was never was able to get in attack mode. Paul did have 9 assists but only 8 points. David West led the Hornets in scoring with 18 pointsPlaying just 24 hours after a close loss in Houston to the Rockets, the Wizards surprised the Hornets, who had not played since Mondays win over the Lakers, with a strong start.
The Hornets only lead of the game was at 3-2 as Andray Blatche scored 12 of his 23 points in the first quarter to put the Wizards on their way.Mike Miller, who had shot 4 of 15 from the field that night before against the Rockets, led the Wizards in scoring with 27 points and rebounding with seven. In the third quarter Miller scored ten of his points but only took one outside shotInstead in the third quarter Miller was effective coming off screens at the foul line and then taking Fabricio Oberto passes and driving to the basket. For Miller the result was two layups and a trip to the line where he made two free throws.He is a shooter, Livingston said of Miller. He had an off shooting night last night and he came up to me and apologized and said I could have had you 15 assists. I dont worry about that and tonight he knocked down shots and got it going inside as well. Livingston found Miller on a play in the third quarter that exemplified the control and discipline that the Wizards played with. A fast break was triggered when Blatche defending West in the post deflected a pass intended for Paul cutting in the lane.Livingston then stormed up court but with the Hornets recovering on defense elected to slow things down instead of taking a quick shot. Livingstons patience was rewarded when Miller made a cut to the top of the key and hit a 17 foot jumper to give the Wizards a 57-44 lead.Going to the fourth quarter the Wizards enjoyed a 70-59 lead. In an effort to speed up the tempo of the game, the Hornets went with a smaller lineup with Paul joined in the backcourt by rookie sensation Darren Collison.Collison proved to be pesky as he scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards seemed to have the answer. With 1:59 remaining Blatche blocked a Collison drive and then at the other end threaded a pass to James Singleton who scored to put the Wizards up 92-86.Of course it did get interesting. The Wizards almost cracked in the final minute with three turnovers in the span of 33 seconds that gave the Hornets life. A Marcus Thornton dunk off a Collison steal and a James Posey layup off a Thornton steal helped the Hornets close the gap at 92-90 with 44 seconds left.Posey was able to come up with a steal and drive to the basket and draw a foul on Blatche with 15.3 seconds left. Posey only made one of his free throws to pull the Hornets within one point at 92-91.With time running out the Hornets were forced to foul and put Livingston at the line. Livingstons free throws then forced the Hornets to go for a three point shot with 4.4 second left, but West attempt rimmed out and Miller snared the rebound.To our guys credit, even though they lost all those games they have not been down, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders noted. They have not been saying lets just get this stuff over with. They have gone out with the idea of trying to utilize the minutes they get.

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Wizards' first pre-draft workout to feature Diallo of Kentucky, local star from UMBC

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards' first pre-draft workout to feature Diallo of Kentucky, local star from UMBC

The Washington Wizards will hold their first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena and the group of six players features some familiar names. 

Included in the mix is guard Jairus Lyles, who starred for the Unversity of Maryland-Baltimore County and helped lead them as a 16-seed over top-ranked Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. It was the first 16-over-a-1 upset in the tournament's history.

Here are the six players with some notes on each one...

Chris Chiozza, guard, Florida (6-0, 175)

Chiozza played four years at Florida and finished as the school's all-time assists leader. He averaged 11.1 points, 6.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game as a senior.

Hamidou Diallo, guard, Kentucky (6-5, 198)

Diallo redshirted in 2016-17 and played one season for the Wildcats. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. Diallo measured 6-foot-6 with shoes at the combine and boasts a 7-foot wingspan.

Tiwian Kendley, guard, Morgan State (6-5, 190)

Kendly was a big-time scorer at Morgan St., averaging 21.0 points as a redshirt junior and 26.1 points as a senior. He took a lot of shots, however, averaging 18.2 field goal attempts on 45.3 percent from the field this past season. Kendley starred at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland before joining the college ranks, first at Lamar Community College.

Jairus Lyles, guard, UMBC (6-2, 175)

Lyles was the leading scorer for the Retrievers this past season as they became the biggest underdog Cinderella in NCAA history. He averaged 20.2 points and shot 39.0 percent from three on 6.1 attempts. Lyles began his college career at VCU and played high school ball at nearby DeMatha.

Doral Moore, center, Wake Forest (7-1, 280)

A three-year player at Wake Forest, Moore had a breakout season as a junior with averages of 11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Moore played with Sixers star Ben Simmons in high school.

Ray Spalding, forward, Louisville (6-10, 215)

Spalding played three years at Louisville and averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 steals per game as a junior. He posted a 7-5 wingspan at the NBA Combine. Spalding played with Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in college. 

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Mike Scott's season...

Player: Mike Scott

Position: Power forward

Age: 29

2017-18 salary: $1.7 million

2017-18 stats: 76 G, 18.5 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 40.5 3P%, 65.8 FT%, 59.0 eFG%, 109 ORtg, 111 DRtg

Best game: 12/9 at Clippers - 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 9-for-11 FG, 3-for-4 3PT, 28 minutes

Season review: The 2017-18 Wizards season was full of unpredictability and the most positive surprise had to be the comeback of Mike Scott.

The Wizards signed Scott to a veteran minimum contract last offseason after a workout at Capital One Arena. This came just months after he had felony drug charges dropped in the state of Georgia, he lost 25 pounds and rehabbed a leg injury. That spring he had wondered, and justifiably, if his NBA career was over.

Scott overcame all of those odds to not only return to the NBA, but re-establish himself as a productive player off the bench. No one was more consistent start-to-finish in the Wizards' second unit than Scott was.

Scott earned a significant role in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation out of the preseason and stayed there. He reached double-figures in 31 of his 76 games, second only to Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the Wizards. 

Scott's primary value was on offense. He scored inside and out and got his points with remarkable efficiency. He led the Wizards and was tied for 11th in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage. He was second on Washington in field goal percentage and third in three-point percentage. 

Scott closed the season strong, reaching double-figures in scoring in seven of the last nine regular season games. He carried that over into the playoffs with 46 points through their first three games against the Raptors. 

Now comes the question of how much money Scott earned himself with his comeback year and whether the Wizards can afford keeping him. Since they are in the luxury tax, they will have little money to spend this summer. 

The way to keep Scott would be to use the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception, but that figures to be only about $1.9 million, not much more than what Scott made in 2017-18. Given how well he played this season, it would not be surprising if he earns much more than that.

Potential to improve: Free throw shooting, forcing turnovers, ability to guard bigs

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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