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Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

ATLANTA -- During a regular season full of complaints about the lack of foul calls, John Wall is getting his share of them in the first three games of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Unfortunately for them, however, hardly anyone else is getting to the line heading into Game 4 tonight at Phillips Arena. 

Coach Scott Brooks addressed it after Monday morning shootaround. In fact, he went out of his way after being asked about Bradley Beal's shooting woes to segue into the lack of opportunities compared with the Hawks' Paul Millsap who has gone from 5.9 regular-season average for attempts per game to almost double that. 

“We’d like to get to the free-throw line. We haven’t been there enough," Brooks said. "Brad is one of our guys who can get there. We have to do  a better job of getting there. Millsap has had (35) free throws. One guy has a lot more than our three guys combined."

Solely based on numbers, Brooks has a point. Millsap is 28 of 35 while John Wall is 26 of 31 on free throws which basically cancels out each other. 

Among the rest of the starters, Beal is just 5-for-9 in three games, Otto Porter 3-for-3, Markieff Morris 4-for-5 and Marcin Gortat has zero attempts.

Dennis Schroder alone has attempted more foul shots than the four at 16-for-20. Tim Hardaway is 11-for-14. Dwight Howard and Taurean Prince are a combined 6-for-9.

Morris held court with the Wizards' bigs about how to defend Millsap. When he gets the ball on the left side of the floor, he sweeps through with the ball and jumps backwards to draw whistles to sell the contact.

The emphasis is on keeping the hands up and not hidden so game officials will see there was no contact on the shot. Jason Smith fouled out in just eight minutes off the bench for Washington, getting most of the whistles defending Millsap.

"The facts are the facts. Our three, four and five have only taken eight free throws in the entire series," Brooks said of Porter, Morris and Gortat. "Their one guy has taken (35). That's what it is. I'm not staying that we're not fouling, because we are. I'm not saying that they're not fouling."

The Hawks are playing soft on coverages and giving the Wizards' shooters mostly open looks as they load the paint to prevent easy finishes at the rim from Wall and Beal. Naturally, they're going to be fewer attempts for the team that shoots more jump shots but that the starting frontcourt has attempted just eight -- after a foul-plagued Game 2 that was litered with 55 called infractions -- still is eye-catching.

MORE WIZARDS: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?

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SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Monday

SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Monday

Fans of both crossword puzzles and the Washington Wizards had a leg-up when completing the New York Times crossword puzzle on Monday. 

The clue: "Wizards, but not witches."

The answer: 7 letters, "NBATEAM." 

This isn't the first time famous crosswords have included sports-related clues. The Washington Post and LA Times have used Bobby Orr as an answer many of times (trust me, we always have a half-finished crossword puzzle hiding somewhere in our living room). 

But athletes aren't the only answers to clues. Remember when the Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan revealed the Washington Capitals' "cult of crossword men" back in 2016?

The New York Times even published a list of the top-10 sports names to know for crossword fanatics everywhere. 

Just further proof that sports continue to permeate every aspect of life. 

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Wizards' new senior VP Sashi Brown's 3 best and worst moves with the Cleveland Browns

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Wizards' new senior VP Sashi Brown's 3 best and worst moves with the Cleveland Browns

The Washington Wizards have mixed things up with their front office, and that includes hiring Sashi Brown as a Senior Vice President

Brown is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and he was previously the Jacksonville Jaguars' lead counsel. But he was also an executive with the Cleveland Browns. 

He was both the Browns' Executive Vice President and General Counsel from 2013 to 2016 before being promoted to Executive Vice President of Football Operations. And then the Browns fired him in December 2017 on their way to an 0-16 record, and they were 1-27 with him as the head of personnel.

For the Wizards, Brown will work with and support new General Manager Tommy Sheppard, advising in decision-making. Brown will also contribute to recruiting free agents and promoting and selling the Wizards organization overall.

It wasn't all bad for Brown in Cleveland. But it obviously wasn't a standout run either. So here's a look at some of his best and worst moves for the Browns. 

Sashi Brown's 3 worst moves with the Cleveland Browns

1. Passing on 2 franchise QBs
While it set up some positive things for the Browns down the road (read more on that below), the team passed on key quarterbacks like Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz and Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson in back-to-back NFL Drafts. 

Until ultimately drafting Baker Mayfield in 2018 (again, more on that later), the Browns had a consistent quarterback carousel with the team starting 19 different passers between 2008 and 2017. Cleveland needed a QB, and not only did it pass on Wentz and Watson under Brown, but it also overlooked Patrick Mahomes, Mitchell Trubisky and Dak Prescott -- although so did most teams.

2. Trading for Brock Osweiler
Although it was described as one of the most creative trades in NFL history, the Houston Texans got the better end of the deal here, getting Osweiler's guaranteed $16 million salary off their books. That was in March of 2017, and then Cleveland ended up releasing him that September after he fell from a projected starter to not playing in the team's last two preseason games. 

It was an unexpected move by the Browns at the time, and then they ended up paying him to not play in the majority of the Denver Broncos' games that season.

3. Acquiring too many NFL Draft picks
Much of Brown's strategy in Cleveland was trading for future NFL Draft picks, but he may have been too all-in on this one. In his two drafts, he had a total of 24 picks, and he accumulated 13 more for the 2018 draft. The problem with this strategy is while looking ahead is good, future draft picks don't win games. And Cleveland won once across Brown's two seasons in charge of personnel. That's not great.

Sashi Brown's 3 best moves with the Cleveland Browns

1. All those 2018 draft picks
OK, so while we just said Brown stockpiled a few too many draft picks during his time in Cleveland, he laid the foundation for the team's successful 2018 NFL Draft, which included four picks in the first two rounds. The Browns got quarterback Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall, cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4 and running back Nick Chubb at No. 35. 

Last season, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and had a 63.8 completion percentage. Chubb was 10th in the league with 996 rushing yards, adding eight touchdowns, and Ward led Cleveland with 11 passes defended and had three picks for 26 yards.

2. Drafting Myles Garrett
The flip side of passing on Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and co. was drafting defensive end Myles Garrett at No. 1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. After having a strong rookie season despite injuring his ankle, Garrett was a Pro Bowler by the end of his second year. He led the Browns with 13.5 sacks for 82 yards and posted 44 total tackles. 

3. Getting Terrelle Pryor
Although Pryor turned out to be a bust with the Washington Redskins, he was one of the Cleveland Brown's best offensive players in 2016. After he switched from quarterback to wide receiver in the 2015 season, he led the team with 1,007 receiving yards off 77 catches with four touchdowns.

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