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Despite Cousins' explosion, Wizards' defensive game plan succeeds

Despite Cousins' explosion, Wizards' defensive game plan succeeds

The array of difficult shots from DeMarcus Cousins seemed to have no bounds. He made them in traffic, through contact and on stepbacks while blanketed by the 6-11 Marcin Gortat. The Sacramento Kings' big man won the night in terms of the higlight reel, but they lost the game 101-95 in overtime with Cousins needing 34 shots to score a game-high 36 points. 

In a way, that was the game plan though it had hiccups. 

"It's hard for me to say this because Cousins had 36 and 20 (rebounds) but Marcin did a great job on him," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "It took 34 shots to get those 36 points, and probably four or five were just like, 'Are you kidding me?' Couldn't do anything better than what we did, but he made them.. ... Marcin battled him throughout the game, made his catches and shots tough and made him miss 18 shots."

The Wizards led 88-80 with 5:12 left in the fourth quarter as the game began to slip away. Then Cousins took over yet again. There was a 17-foot turnaround jumper, a layup, a 14-foot turnaround and two more layups. The final one, scored with 10.9 seconds left, tied the score at 92 and would force overtime. 

Gortat was on an island as he received very little help trying to defend a 6-11 big with ball-handling skills and moves of a much smaller player. The Wizards opted to go the more disciplined route and not overhelp to create open shots on the perimeter for Rudy Gay (1-for-4 from three), Arron Afflalo (0-for-3), Matt Barnes (0-for-3), Garrett Temple (1-for-3) or Darren Collison (0-for-1).

"Not many fives can do that, put the ball on the floor, shoot threes, dribble the length of the floor," Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal said. 

[RELATED: TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZARDS' NARROW WIN OVER KINGS]

Sacramento knocked down 13 three-pointers in a win at the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. The Wizards, who have been porous on three-point defense, effecitvely took that away. It was a high risk that produced rewards in the extra session. While Cousins shot 6-for-9 in the fourth, he was 0-for-3 and the rest of the Kings were out of snyc because they hadn't been involved in the offense. 

"A couple times he had some easy looks but other than that, a lot of shots were tough," said John Wall, Cousins' teammate for one season at Kentucky where they played in 2009-10 before turning pro. "We tried to do as much as we could to double-team because he can pass to his guys. We didn't want anybody else to get in a rhythm."

The Kings shot 3-for-21 from three-point range overall, with Cousins missing 5 of 6 attempts. Gortat only had 10 points and seven rebounds as he was drawn to the perimeter regularly, but also got three blocked shots in the process. 

Unlike when the Wizards last played the Kings, on March 30 last season when they allowed 120 points, only Gay scored in double figures (18 points on 16 shots). They weren't allowing Cousins to get 29 points on just 16 shots like he did in that playoff-hope crushing loss while getting five other teammates in double-figure scoring.

They held them to 25 fewer points and got them their third win in four games.

"He got to where he wanted to get to," Beal said of Cousins' command in what became a one-dimensional offense. "In a case like that, when somebody does have it going, you have to stop everybody else."

[RELATED: DEMARCUS COUSINS SAYS HE AND WALL HAVE DISCUSSED TEAMING UP]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Pre-draft workouts begin; Michigan's Moe Wagner goes 1-on-1

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Pre-draft workouts begin; Michigan's Moe Wagner goes 1-on-1

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Michigan star Moe Wagner after his workout with the Wizards.

Chris and Chase Hughes also gave their impressions of the first prospects to come in for pre-draft workouts, including which guys are most likely to be Wizards. One of those prospects is a point guard and a likely first round pick. Chase and Chris explain why that's not a crazy idea, even considering the presence of John Wall on their roster.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

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Wizards' third pre-draft workout to feature local stars including GW's Yuta Watanabe

The Wizards will hold their third pre-draft workout on Thursday at Capital One Arena, this time featuring four local standouts out of the six players attending. Highlighting that group is Yuta Watanabe of George Washington, the Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

Here is the full list with notes on each player...

Phillip Carr, F, Morgan State (6-9, 205)

Carr averaged 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds this past season at Morgan State in Maryland. He shot 84.6 percent from the free throw line, excellent for a big man.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

James Daniel III, G, Tennessee (6-0, 172)

Originally from Hampton, Va., Daniel III played four years at Howard University in D.C. before transferring to Tennessee as a redshirt senior. He was the MEAC Player of the Year in his last healthy season at Howard. Daniel III averaged 5.6 points in 35 games for the Volunteers.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Marcus Derrickson, F, Georgetown (6-7, 250)

Derrickson hails from nearby Bowie, Md. He played three years with the Hoyas and averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and shot 46.5 percent from three this past season. 

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Etou, F, Tulsa (6-8, 235)

Originally from the Republic of Congo, Etou went to high school at Bishop O'Connell in Arlington, Va. He is Serge Ibaka's cousin and didn't start playing basketball until he was 15. Etou averaged 15.0 points and 7.9 rebounds this past season.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Junior Robinson, G, Mount St. Mary's (5-5, 150)

The Northeast Conference Player of the Year, Robinson averaged 22.0 points and 4.8 assists this past season. He was a four-year starter at Mount St. Mary's.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent

Yuta Watanabe, F, George Washington (6-9, 205)

One of the best basketball players to ever come from Japan, Watanabe was a defensive standout for the Colonials who developed into a solid scorer by his senior year. This past season, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He is known in Japan as 'The Chosen One' and both of his parents played basketball professionally. NBC Sports Washington first reported he would work out with the Wizards this week.

Potential fit with Wizards: candidate for summer league or G-League team as undrafted free agent; best chance for NBA is as defensive specialist

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