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Film study: Scheme or effort? Tale of 2 halves with Wizards' defense

Film study: Scheme or effort? Tale of 2 halves with Wizards' defense

The Jekyll and Hyde relationship that the Wizards have with defense never has been more pronounced than Monday's game with the Brooklyn Nets. They were getting buckets at will on offense to start the game and took defense for granted. 

They trailed 66-51 by halftime to a five-win team, but they put it in another gear out of the locker room to win 118-112. 

When coach Scott Brooks, and before him Randy Wittman, highlighted effort being the main culprit it seems cliche. It can even seem like a coach who could be blaming his players for his own shortcomings. The schemes didn't change for the Wizards in wiping out a 15-point deficit. The assertiveness did:

They began the first quarter this way to get into a hole:

-- Isaiah Whitehead gets into the lane after a handoff from Trevor Booker, getting around John Wall easily. That penetration forces Marcin Gortat to sink into help stop the layup which frees Brook Lopez for his first made three-pointer of the game.

-- This is an easy entry pass to Lopez as he's being defended by Gortat. Sean Kilpatrick meets no resistance as he cuts to the rim for the handoff. Bradley Beal is trailing the play and Gortat doesn't anticipate or help to stop the straight-line run to the rim. Handoffs are difficult to guard and require help unless the on-ball defender can disrupt the play by getting a deflection before the ball changes hands. Too often, the Wizards' backcourt doesn't cover it correctly with initial defense (Brooks said Otto Porter, in particular, has struggled with defending this action).

-- Booker meets no resistance and posts deep on Markieff Morris who is on the outside the wrong hip. Entry passes and finishes don't get easier than this. Either Morris is expecting help from Gortat, who can't because Lopez is spotting in the corner, or just fell asleep. He didn't do enough to fight his way back back into the play to three-quarter Booker and is pinned. When Gortat sees that Booker is going for the shot, he starts to cheat inside but it's too late. Booker makes a counter move away from potential help to get to his preferred left hand for the finish. 

The began the third quarter this way to turn the tide:

-- Gortat makes a quick show on Kilpatrick to contain the ball on the pick-and-roll to help Beal. His help defense, Porter and John Wall, stop Lopez's roll to the basket by tagging him and sprint back to recover to their men as Gortat gets back in position on Lopez. Morris makes an immediate switch on Bojan Bogdanovic realizing he's the threat from the arc (originally Porter's man before he helped) and not Booker. Contested three way off. Shot clock violation

-- The ball pressure on Whitehead by Beal starts this. Porter tries to go over the top and get the deflection as Bogdanvic comes off this curl, but Morris helps to contest to stop the layup at the rim. Similar to handoffs, these can be snuffed out with help but it requires recognition ahead of time and the helper holding up that slasher for his teammate to recover or making the play on the ball. And when the helper vacates his frontline position, someone has to bump down on his man on the low block to prevent the extra pass or offensive rebound and putback.

-- Wall gets into the ball, and Gortat traps aggressively as they negate the screen-roll with Lopez. The moment Kilpatrick gets his back turned, Porter anticipates the only pass he can make out of this and that's to Lopez. Porter is on his blindside, too, and look how far he travels to get that steal and the breakaway. The tide has officially turned.

Fortunately for the Wizards, this was a five-win team. These sorts of sleepwaking episodes will result in losses against better opponents.

[RELATED: The 5 must-see moments from the Wizards' win over the Nets]

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Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

If the rest of the 2019-20 regular season is canceled, the NBA may be able to keep up to 25 percent of the salaries its players receive after April 1, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

League officials are in discussions with the National Basketball Players Association about a deal that would amend the collective bargaining agreement to give players a greater share of the financial damage inflicted by the coronavirus outbreak that’s put the current season on hold.

Wojnarowski writes that while the NBA has “no plans to announce the cancellation of games in the immediate future,” it’s preparing for all scenarios, including one in which coronavirus isn’t contained in time to salvage the regular season.

The NBA has already been withholding 10 percent of the players’ salaries with the promise of paying out the remaining 90 percent through April 1. In accordance with the CBA’s Force Majeure provision (reserved for catastrophic events), that money has been held by the NBA with a certain percentage slotted to be returned to teams at the end of the year depending on how much revenue is lost.

However, it appears the 10 percent cut has not been sufficient for softening the blow dealt by the season’s suspension. Per Wojnarowski, Commissioner Adam Silver and about 100 top league officials have already agreed to 20 percent pay cut. With team owners handling their own financial ramifications, the league is hoping for its players to help alleviate that burden and prevent the NBA from having to recoup additional percentages from the players after the season.

The purpose of the Force Majeure is to prevent the salary cap and luxury tax from taking a nosedive next season and beyond. By recouping additional salary, teams would be in better standing for spending relatively close to what they’ve done the past few years.

If the two sides don’t come to an agreement, players could owe back portions of their salaries at the end of the season. In an effort to avoid seizing past salaries, the league is asking the NBPA to agree to a deal while working on a plan to help players budget their spending based on reduced incomes.

As much as the NBA would like to resume its regular season in some fashion, the coronavirus pandemic has entirely changed the outlook—both logistically and financially—of professional sports in 2020 for the worst. Everything the league does now is just part of an effort to limit the damage as best it can.

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Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

NBA fans will get a chance to watch some of their favorite players go head-to-head once again, just not in the setting we're used to. 

With the regular season under suspension, the NBA announced the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament, featuring 16 players who will play each other in NBA 2K20 for $100,000 donated to coronavirus support efforts. 

The tournament will begin on April 3 on ESPN and will include the following players seeded 1-through-16 based first on their 2K rating and second on their seniority in the league:

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (96)
2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (90)
3. Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (87)
4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (87)
5. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (86)
6. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers (85)
7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (85)
8. Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (85)
9. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (85)
10. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (85)
11. DeMarcus Cousins (81)
12. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (81)
13. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (79)
14. Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (78)
15. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (78)
16. Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (78)

Each player will choose eight current NBA teams to use before the tournament starts, though they can only use each of their selections once. The first two rounds are single elimination, while the semifinals and finals will be best of three. 

Wizards standout rookie Rui Hachimura enters the tournament as the No. 13 seed and will begin the tournament against Utah's All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell Friday. Mitchell may have a higher 2K rating and status in the league, but there's no telling where either player's 2K skills stand. 

Hachimura could very well take Mitchell down and set up a showdown with the winner of Andre Drummond vs. DeMarcus Cousins. 

The first round will begin Friday and run through the weekend, with the second round airing next Tuesday and the semifinals and finals wrapping up the tournament on Saturday, April 11. 

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