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Fast break: Minus Wall, Wizards lose for 1st time in playoffs


Fast break: Minus Wall, Wizards lose for 1st time in playoffs

ATLANTA -- Without John Wall, the Wizards didn't stand much of a chance at beating the Atlanta Hawks again at Phillips Arena in Game 2 Tuesday. Ramon Sessions' postseason career-high 21 points almost did it, but in the end they ran out of gas without their best playmaker. 

The Wizards lost for the first time in the playoffs 106-90, but the series is now 1-1 though they still have home-court advantage. 

Wall (left wrist) was injured in Game 1 here when the Wizards won 104-98. Sessions started for him, and while the assists weren't there the scoring was as he went 8-for-14. Sessions had four assists. Wall has averaged 13 assists per game in the playoffs. 

Bradley Beal had more ball-handling responsibilities as well and produced 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Paul Pierce had 15 points and Marcin Gortat 10 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:26 left. Otto Porter came off the bench to score 15 and grab eight rebounds.

Sessions scored 10 points in the first 3:13 of the third quarter to put the Wizards in range of a game they trailed after having a 7-6 first-quarter lead. They drew even on Porter's three-pointer at 71 but never could regain the lead. 

The Hawks had 18 assists on their first 20 made baskets as they took a 53-46 lead going into halftime. DeMarre Carroll had a team-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and four assists while Paul Millsap and Al Horford scored 18 each. Kent Bazemore had 10 off the bench.

TURNING POINT: The Wizards went without a field goal until 9:19 of the fourth when Sessions made a drive to the basket. They still were able to get to 84-81 after a three-pointer from Pierce but an offensive rebound and putback by Millsap and a three-pointer from Pero Antic pushed the lead to double digits for Atlanta. 

NUMBERS GAME: The Wizards shot 35-for-82 from the field, 42.7%, includ2ng 13 of 22 three-pointers, 54.5%, but lost the edge in rebounds 44-40 edge in rebounds and 38-30 in paint points while the Hawks also were plus-nine in assists with 30.

RETURNED: Garrett Temple made his first appearance in the postseason, and it was his first game action since March 9 when he strained his right hamstring and had a setback during recovery. He entered at 2:54 of the first quarter and made Korver uncomfortable with his 6-6 frame. Temple only scored two points in 13 minutes on 1-for-4 shooting but he's on the roster because of his defense and hustle.

IN CHECK: Even without Wall, the Hawks' backcourt of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver were outdone again. They combined to shoot 7-for-23, including 4 of 14 on three-pointers. Beal and Temple kept Korver contained. 

LOST OPPORTUNITY: The Hawks went with Mike Muscala for the first time in this series and weren't able to make him a factor when he came in with 1:03 left in the first quarter. The Wizards allowed him to take a few open shots that he missed badly, but Nene wasn't able to make them pay by closing the gap. The Hawks were ahead by six when Muscala entered. When he left with 8:52 left in the second, they led by eight. For the second game in a row, Nene didn't have a field goal. His only two points came on foul shots. He went 0-for-5 in 27 minutes. 

VILLAIN: The "Paul Pierce sucks" chants began again after the Wizards' forward dealt a hard foul to Teague to prevent a transition basket just before halftime. The same thing happened in a first-round series with the Toronto Raptors, but that was for what he said before it began. Pierce leaned into Teague with his shoulder to stop a fast break. It was just a common foul.

UP NEXT: The Wizards returned to D.C. immediately after the game and likely will be off Wednesday. They don't play Game 3 until Saturday at Verizon Center (ESPN, 5 p.m. ET).

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall's injury jeopardizes Wizards' postseason run

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Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

The Wizards are holding their highest-profile pre-draft workout yet on Monday, hosting UNC teammates and projected lottery picks Coby White and Nassir Little. 

White earned All-ACC and All-Freshman honors during his lone season in Chapel Hill, averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Little's season with the Tar Heels did not go as smoothly as White's, but he is an NBA-ready athlete with tons of upside. 

Both White and Little could be options for the Wizards at No. 9 and would provide solutions to some of Washington's major needs. White would give the Wizards a primary play-maker while John Wall recovers from his Achilles injury, while Little would fill Washington's hole at small forward and bring some much-needed defense and rebounding to the team.

Before White and Little, the Wizards had brought in very few projected lottery picks during their pre-draft process, outside of Kentucky forward Keldon Johnson and French prospect Sekou Doumbouya. But with the 2019 NBA Draft looming on Thursday, the Wizards are ramping up their search for the player they'll pick at No. 9. 


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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again.