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Gortat comes up big for Wizards in tough matchup vs. Towns, Wolves

Gortat comes up big for Wizards in tough matchup vs. Towns, Wolves

Marcin Gortat was presented with a tough assignment on Friday night, to step into the ring with one of the NBA's best young players, a 7-foot anomaly of skill and size named Karl-Anthony Towns who has been lighting up the league from both above the rim and behind the three-point line. He shoots well from long range, he dribbles past people, he blocks shots and the consensus is that Towns will be competing for MVP awards for many years to come.

Before Friday's game at the Verizon Center, head coach Scott Brooks said the Wizards would start the game with Gortat on him. Brooks said that "hopefully we can contain him."

By Towns' usual standards, they did. The former No. 1 overall pick scored 18 points, but shot just 7-for-17 from the field. Gortat responded to the challenge on defense and did his best to keep up with Towns, who is as mobile a big man as you will find in the game of basketball.

"March did a good job of knowing where he was in transition and getting out to him on the perimeter, just making it difficult for him," guard Bradley Beal said. "[Towns] is somebody that loves to go 1-on-1 and doesn't like to pass much. March did a good job of containing him."

Gortat had three blocks to go along with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his 21st double-double of the season. One of his blocks was an emphatic slam on Towns two minutes into the first quarter. Towns drove to his right, only to see Gortat swat the ball out of bounds.

The 19 points deserve their own acclaim, though. The Timberwolves feature two rim protectors down low in Towns and Gorgui Dieng. Despite that, Gortat was able to shoot 9-for-9 from the field. That's the most attempts for a perfect shooting night from a Wizards player since Ben Wallace went 9-for-9 himself in April of 1999.

That's a solid night, though guard John Wall wasn't quite impressed.

When told of the stat, Wall joked: "Did he shoot any shots outside the paint?" 

Wall had more jokes about the veteran center when discussing his game:

“When he’s dunking the ball and finishing around the paint, he makes us a better team. We try to tell him to stay away from the free-throw line and jump shots. I don’t call him the 'Polish Machine' unless he’s dunking like he was today, so he got the nickname back.”

All kidding aside, Wall and Gortat made a lethal combination in the Wizards' win. That included an alley-oop off a screen in the final minute to help seal the victory.

That connection was something Towns himself noted afterwards. As a young player on a team coming into his own, he admires their ability to consistently execute those types of plays.

"Gortat is a good player, I think he's able to finish with both hands, so it becomes a factor. They've also been playing with each other for a while, that chemistry you can see on the court as Wall is going to the basket, Gortat knows when to stop rolling or start rolling... We're building that chemistry too here for the Timberwolves, so when we have that type of chemistry we can do special things too.” 

You know you had a good night when a player as talented as Towns admits he saw something to strive for.

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Timberwolves]

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Isaiah Thomas shows off impressive collection of signed jerseys

Isaiah Thomas shows off impressive collection of signed jerseys

Like most sports fanatics, Isaiah Thomas has accumulated quite the jersey collection. The difference between him and the rest of us? He met all the people who's signed jerseys are hanging on his wall. 

Thomas showed off his collection to Chris Miller (watch above) as a part of his interview on the Wizards Talk Podcast, and we're going to go through it with him. 

First, he showed off his non-basketball collection, featuring Ken Griffey Jr., David Ortiz Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby. It's anyone's guess how he came across a dreaded Crosby jersey, but it's safe to assume he got the Brady and Ortiz jerseys from his time in Boston and his Griffey from his roots in Seattle. 

Continuing with the Seattle theme, Thomas turned to two Sonics legends in Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Kevin Durant. Thomas has been one of the biggest advocates for the NBA returning to Seattle, and bringing up the days of Payton and Kemp would make anyone miss the Sonics. 

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

Next up, former Wizards teammate John Wall, Derrick Rose, Vince Carter, Muggsy Bogues, one of the best small guards to ever play, Brandon Roy and Jamal Crawford. 

Then, Thomas moved to his "Hitter List." It's a wall consisting of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Damon Stoudemire and James Harden. 

"Those are killers right there," Thomas said.

So, the main takeaway here? Thomas has a jersey collection that would make anyone jealous and he still has plenty of time to add to it before his career is over. That's when we might need a follow-up video to see the complete collection. 

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Relive the best games of Bradley Beal's 25-point scoring streak

Relive the best games of Bradley Beal's 25-point scoring streak

With the 2019-20 season on hold due to the coronavirus, we thought it'd be a good time to re-live some of the best moments the Wizards had before the league suspended play.

From January 20 to March 6, Bradley Beal put on one of the best scoring stretches in Wizards history. He scored at least 25 points in 21 consecutive games, good for the longest such streak in franchise history and the longest in the NBA all season, beating out the likes of James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Over that 21-game stretch, Beal averaged 36 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 48.6% from the floor and 40.7% from three on nine attempts per game. He only scored less than 30 points five times throughout the course of the streak. 

30+ points: 16 games
40+ points: 6 games
50+ points: 2 games

Oh, and those 50-pieces came on back-to-back nights, which is something nobody in the NBA had done since Kobe Bryant in 2007. 

All-day Sunday, you'll be able to re-live the best games from Beal's streak on NBC Sports Washington. Here's a look at what you can expect. 

When: Sunday, April 5, 9:00 a.m.

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms

9 am -- Pistons @ Wizards from January 20, 2020: Beal starts off his streak by scoring 29 points in a much-needed win over the Pistons. This game also featured Beal crossing center Andre Drummond out of his shoes. 

11:30 am -- Wizards @ Hawks from January 26, 2020: In a trying day for the entire basketball world, Bradley Beal scored 40 points just hours after Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash. 

2 pm -- Mavericks @ Wizards from February 7, 2020: Beal scores 29 and hits the game-winning layup off a perfectly executed pass from Troy Brown Jr. 

4:30 pm -- Wizards @ Bulls from February 23, 2020: Setting a new career-high with 53 points, it's hard to look at Beal as a reason the Wizards lost this one. 

8 pm -- Bucks @ Wizards from February 24, 2020: One night later, Beal sets a career-high again by scoring 55 points in what he described was the most fun game he'd ever played in. 

11:30 pm -- Nets @ Wizards from February 26, 2020: Beal gets the Wizards back on track following a three-game losing streak post All-Star break with a 30-point night against the Nets at home. 

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