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Giannis' paint persistence remains problematic for Wizards

Giannis' paint persistence remains problematic for Wizards

Giannis Antetokounmpo, at 6-10 with ball-handling ability, is a matchup problem for every NBA team. After the Wizards did a good job containing him in their first meeting, the floodgates opened in a 27-point loss in the rematch. Tonight, they're meeting for the second game in a row but this one is at Verizon Center. 

Antetokounmpo had a career-high 39 points in that 123-96 win, the most lopsided loss of the Wizards' season.  The Bucks scored 73 points in the first half alone. 

"He scores all of his points in the paint," said Otto Porter, who is tasked with covering the small forward with the skill set of a guard. "He gets a lot of his points getting to the free-throw line, transition. Take three dribbles and he's already at the goal. With his ability to get to the rim, we definitely got to clog the paint a lot more than what we did. Once he gets in the paint, we got to make it tough for him. We got to come crashing down on him."

Antetokounmpo is tied with Wall for the second-most points in transition per game in the NBA (5.7) behind Russell Westbrook (6.8). 

He shot 12-for-19 which included 10-for-13 at the rim  And being in that deep led to him shooting 15 of 17 from the foul line.

"We got to go back and do what we did the first game, Porter said. "Plug the paint, make him kick it out to non-shooters."

Even when bigger defenders such as Markieff Morris, who is 6-10, switched onto Antetokounmpo, he was given the real estate too easily. 

Anteotokounmpo scored 28 and shot 11-for-18 in the first meeting Dec. 10, won 110-105 by the Wizards when he made 10 fewer trips to the foul line. He still was effective. He shot 9 of 12 inside the paint.

"We were hitting more, checking him every time he went around the court," said backup forward Kelly Oubre, who also spends time defending him. "We didn't let him freelance and get to where he wanted to go. He felt comfortable (on Friday). It was two different games."

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Bucks: How and what to watch]

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Wizards power forward Markieff Morris. Morris looked back on the 2017-18 season and gave his side on what needs to be fixed.

Chris and Chase Hughes also had a heated debate about Bradley Beal not receiving any All-NBA votes. Chase is an awards voter and defended his ballot. Chris wasn't having any of it.

They also went into the conference finals and what it would mean if the Rockets beat the Warriors.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!