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Didn't matter who took what shots for Wizards in win over Nets

Didn't matter who took what shots for Wizards in win over Nets

BROOKLYN -- Does it really matter who gets the shot, as long as the Wizards make the right read and play at the end of a close game? They won Monday, 118-113 over the Nets, so no one will talk about Bradley Beal being scoreless after his three-pointer put them ahead for good with 3:12 left. 

"Not caring who scores the most, who gets the shot, just moving the ball, shooting with confidence," said Beal, who had 18 points on 7-for-18 shots, one fewer than John Wall. "All we have to do is worry about defense. We get whatever we want on offense. It’s just a matter of wanting to guard, get down and taking pride in it.”

The Wizards ended a difficult road trip, which started with losses in Oklahoma City and San Antonio when Otto Porter misfired at the end of regulation twice, by erasing a 15-point deficit with a defensive effort that contributed to seven players in double figures. 

Beal drained a three for a 107-106 lead for his final points. Wall ripped the ball on a handoff to Joe Harris for a dunk and Beal grabbed a defensive rebound when Brooklyn's Brook Lopez missed a three. Porter fouled out for the first time this season as he did plenty of the dirty work in the paint to limit Brooklyn's lopsided rebounding edge.

It's not that coach Scott Brooks didn't call plays for Beal. He did, but the Nets overplayed the double drag screen out of a timeout -- sending an extra defender in Harris to stop the pass from Wall to the top of the arc. Marcin Gortat flowed into a screen that freed Wall for an uncontested look in the slot from 24 feet that was good for a 112-106 lead. And Beal took on Wall's role, attacking the paint, drawing the defense and making a simple bounce pass to Gortat for the layup.  

“I thought the offensive execution was good. Everybody got involved. Keef got a bucket," said Brooks, alluding to the blown coverage by Trevor Booker that opened up Markieff Morris' backdoor cut and a feed from Wall for his game-high 13th assist and a 116-111 lead. "March got a bucket. John hit a couple of pull-up shots wide open. Brad hit a big three, got to the free throw line. That’s what you need. You heed to have all guys executing together and trusting the player that has the ball is going to make the right play, not necessarily for his shot but a good shot."

The Wizards (7-12) shot 45 of 93, or 48.4% from the field, and brought the Nets (5-15) down to 40 of 81, or 49.4%. Brooklyn began the game shooting better than 60% in the first quarter to put the Wizards in a deep hole. 

Late, the shots were much easier for the Wizards who used their ball pressure and playing over top of the handoffs to Harris and Bojan Bogdanovic.  

"Defense was giving me shots," said Wall, who was 4-for-6 in the fourth for 11 of his game-high 25 points. "I had it rolling. I just kept making them.

"We both have the edge where we both want the ball at the end of games. There are times where he should have it because he's been rolling the last couple of games. Other times it's a call that coach makes and we just go with it. ... I'm still looking for him, just like any other play. Sometimes teams try to do a good job of taking him away, denying him. We just got to go to the next option."

Beal anticipated a dribble handoff coming from Trevor Booker to Bogdanovic, jumped ahead of it and stole the ball with the Wizards ahead 116-113 with 12 seconds left. That led to a timeout, Wall making two foul shots after the ball was inbounded and the final margin.

Winning plays aren't always about winning shots. Beal made the last one.

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards comeback win vs. Nets]

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WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

As Rui Hachimura continues to grow and take his lumps at the NBA level, one important point of development for the Wizards' rookie will be finishing through contact at the rim. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

On Wednesday night against the Spurs, Hachimura hit a nice hook shot over LaMarcus Aldridge and then finished through traffic after attacking a closeout a few plays later. He entered the game shooting nearly 70 percent at the rim, a major reason why he's one of the top-scoring rookies this season. 

Then at the end of the first half, Isaiah Thomas found Hachimura on a back-door cut for the easy slam. Well-timed cuts are a great source of points for young players. 

After the break, the ninth-overall pick flashed a little finesse at the rim for another pretty finish. 

His three-point shooting will have to improve at some point down the line and learning better positioning as a defender is something every rookie has to go through. 

Both of those skills can be improved in the practice gym or in the film room. Finishing at the basket through contact is learned by repetition in-game, so it's a promising sign to see Hachimura take the ball to the rim. 

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosting the Spurs on Wednesday night brought together two of the 11 NBA teams that currently employ a female assistant coach. The Wizards have Kristi Toliver on their bench and the Spurs have Becky Hammon.

That confluence prompted a question to San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich on the future of women in the NBA coaching ranks and whether a head coaching hire could happen sometime soon. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

Though it has been five years since he hired Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history, Popovich is uncertain on exactly when a team will make the leap to hiring a woman to run their operation.

"That depends on people and organizations," he said. 

"It's a process and it doesn't happen quickly. But I think the more women there are [in the game] and as it becomes more commonplace and more the rule, it will then depend on an organization realizing there are women that can do this. Every woman can't, every man can't. But the point is there gotta be enough to choose from and it's gotta be pretty commonplace before I think somebody's gonna pull the trigger."

Popovich believes it will happen, he's just not sure when. The Wizards hiring Toliver last summer was another step in that direction and he believes she and others are showing the basketball world what they are capable of.

"There's no difference between a woman who knows the game and a man who knows the game. It's just another prejudice that probably has to be overcome just like a lot of other prejudices in the world have become less and less as people paid attention to them," Popovich said.

Hammon made the news over the weekend when Popovich was ejected from the Spurs' loss to the Kings and a committee of assistants coached the rest of the game. Popovich was asked why he didn't appoint Hammon to serve in the role for the rest of the game and he told reporters he was "not here to make history." 

Still, though there has never been a female head coach in any of the four major U.S. sports, it seems like the NBA is by far the closest with people like Hammon and Tolliver already knocking on the door.

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