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Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

The record is clear about the Wizards' inability to close games out at the end of regulation. The coach can been Randy Wittman or Scott Brooks. The supporting cast can include Trevor Ariza, Paul Pierce or Jared Dudley. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau, John Wall is 0-for-16 when shooting in the final five seconds of a game to tie or win. In Wall's seven seasons, the Wizards are 6 of 47 overall shooting in those situations. Bradley Beal is 1-for-4. 

The Wizards are 1-2 in overtimes this season. In each game, the Wizards had a chance to win on the final possession in regulation:

– Oct. 30 in a 112-103 loss to Memphis: Wall admitted after the fact that he made the wrong read. Mike Conley doesn't allow him to turn the corner on this drive and Vince Carter prevents a shot. Wall went away from Beal, who is getting a screen from Gortat to get him a possible open look. Beal cleared that strong side of the floor also to create better floor balance. At about 3 seconds, a quick pass out to Beal, if he flares to the corner to lose James Ennis, likely gets him deeper but better shot. Instead they go into the extra session tied at 100.

– Nov. 28 in a 101-95 win vs. Sacramento: This is a simple pick-and-roll action with Wall and Gortat and it's the right play considering the personnel on the floor. They get the Kings' worst frontline defender, DeMarcus Cousins, switched onto Wall and he settles for a fallaway jump shot over the 6-11 center. There are two better options looking at you here. Matt Barnes, who is matched up against Markieff Morris who is spotting at the three-point line, and Gortat diving to the basket. Darren Collsion has switched off and Barnes will have to help if Wall makes this read. The other, simpler read is Wall going straight at Cousins who is playing soft and squared up and banking on his speed being better than the big man's lateral movement. And if Wall misses, as long as he gets the ball on the rim Gortat is in position to clean it up no one his size in the play. Another adjustment here is not running the screen-roll to Beal's side of the floor. Garrett Temple, the Kings' best defender, is blanketing him in the strong side corner and running the play to this side kills the spacing. The Wizards go into the extra session tied at 92 but win this time.

– Nov. 30 in a 126-115 loss vs. Oklahoma City: This looks like the right move. Morris screens Russell Westbrook off Wall, who then gets switched onto by Jerami Grant. It appears that Wall drove left with the intention to pass as he knew that Morris would have a mismatch with Westbrook at the rim. The pass isn't clean, almost turns into a steal and Otto Porter misses the shot as he recovers the loose ball. Wall had Grant beat on his first step but discontinued his attack to the rim which allowed him recover. If he attacks the rim and misses the shot, the odds of Morris cleaning it up are better. Morris' chances aren't good anyway as he allowed Westbrook to sneak inside of him on his roll to the basket to takeaway the position and passing angle. If Morris beats Westbrook to the spot, it's an easy pass from Wall at the rim. This appears to be why he was indecisive when getting in the air.

– Nov. 4, 2015 in a 102-99 win vs. San Antonio: This is the biggest moment of Beal's career. Last season, he hit this game-winning shot over the Spurs at Verizon Center. It's not about who takes the last shot. Compare what you see here -- mutliple screens, including one by the eventual shooter Beal on a brush -- and how much more better balanced the floor looks. This is tougher to defend. Marcin Gortat screens for Wall to get the ball which gives him space to operate. Then he pins two defenders, his own man LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, as Beal fills the slot on the opposite side of the floor. But before Beal does that, he brush screens Green to give Wall more space to make an easy pass. Green is so locked into Wall, he's deceived as Gortat then screens him as he tries to fight through. The ball is reversed and Beal gets nothing but real estate for an open shot. Another thing to note here is the screen by Gortat on Leonard, who is trying to chase Beal as he goes to ball screen. That ram screen makes it difficult for defenses to help. Leonard can't recover and Aldridge is late getting to Beal on what's a mismatch from that distance. 

The pick-and-roll between Wall and Morris wasn't a bad idea. It got the Wizards the mismtach they wanted. But they just don't seem comfortable and able to execute that down the stretch the way they do earlier in games.

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Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

“On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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