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How the Wizards beat the Spurs in last meeting

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How the Wizards beat the Spurs in last meeting

The last time the Washington Wizards faced the San Antonio Spurs, the Washington Wizards beat the San Antonio Spurs. The rematch takes place Wednesday night at Verizon Center. Here's what happened in the previous game and what the past may tell us about the next meeting...

  • Actually, here's what happened before the Jan. 13 meeting at Verizon Center. The Spurs arrived in Chinatown with a 17-game winning streak in the series dating back to 2005. That's why this win counted for a bit more than just a "win" even if the people who run the NBA standings disagree. 

  • As for the game -- which came right after a 31-point loss against the Hawks -- John Wall paced five double-digit scorers with 25 points. Wall didn't score in the final period, though he finished with a game-high eight assists and matched Bradley Beal with two blocks. Beal and Paul Pierce each scored 13 points while Kris Humphries had 10 points and eight rebounds. Defensively, Washington rocked in the fourth and overall held San Antonio to 39.6 percent shooting from the field while nearing sink half of its own shots (49.3%). But in the pivotal fourth quarter, the real hero was...

  • Kevin Seraphin. Yes, Kevin Seraphin. Facing French national teammates Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, the big man scored 11 of his 17 points, grabbed five of his eight rebounds and had a key block during the fourth quarter. Anyway, Seraphin now plays for the Knicks, meaning the hero role is available.

RELATED Watch LIVE tonight: Wizards host San Antonio Spurs

  • Parker led the Spurs with 14 points followed by Patty Mills with 12 and Tim Duncan 11. Worth noting Kawhi Leonard did not play in this game. Obviously, neither did LaMarcus Aldridge, signed by San Antonio this summer. Both forwards will be forces in Wednesday's rematch. They are combining for 37.3 points and 14.3 rebounds this season.

  • This was definitely not a small-ball kind of win as the Wizards took only 12 3-pointers. Yet they made six compared to the Spurs shooting 9 of 29 from distance. This season, Washington has attempted at least 21 in all three games. However, the Wizards are only middle of the pack (16th) in 3's attempted per game (23.7). The Spurs are taking only 17.3, ranking 27th overall.

  • In addition to contributions from Seraphin and Humphries, Marcin Gortat and Nene each grabbed at least 10 rebounds on that January night. Washington is eking out a rebounding edge over opponents through three games while the Spurs are plus 4.2 on the boards.  

  • Considering the Spurs' size up front with Duncan and Aldridge, the Wizards may end up using more two-big man combinations in this game or at least it won't hurt them. Aldridge hasn't made a 3-pointer this season and at 6-foot-11, he's probably a bit too tall for Jared Dudley.

  • San Antonio may have struggled shooting from the field in January, but so far this season, ranking fourth in field goal percentage (46.9). The Wizards (43.8) are currently tied for 14th.

  • Otto Porter was given the night off in the previous game. The small forward's perimeter shot has been off through three games, missing 10 of 12 attempts from beyond the arc. If the Spurs game plan around stopping Wall and Beal, the ball will end up with Porter likely in good shooting spots. 

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: KZ Okpala

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: KZ Okpala

School: Stanford
Position: Forward
Age: 20
Height: 6-10
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 7-2
Max vertical: 37 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.5 bpg, 46.3 FG% (5.9/12.7), 36.8 3PT% (1.1/3.0), 67.1 FT%

Player comparison: Kyle Kuzma, Gerald Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 27th, Sports Illustrated 29th, Ringer 41st

5 things to know:

*Okpala is a tall, lanky wing who loves to drive from the perimeter to the rim. He made the All-Pac-12 team this past season after improving his scoring average from 10.0 points as a freshman to 16.8 points as a sophomore. He also increased his rebounds per game average from 3.7 to 5.7.

*He is arguably one of the most athletic players in this class. At 6-foot-10 in shoes, he has great size for a wing player and measured at the NBA combine with a 7-2 wingspan. He also has an impressive vertical leap of 37 inches which would be good even for a point guard. He is also fast in the open court. Teams will be enticed with his ceiling on both ends of the floor.

*Okpala scored a lot in college but has a raw offensive game. He isn't fully there as a ball-handler and has an improving, but still inconsistent outside shot. The fact he made a leap from his freshman to sophomore year as a three-point shooter was a very good sign. His 36.8 three-point percentage on three attempts per game is encouraging but does not offer any guarantees that he can stretch the floor at the next level. His 67.1 free throw percentage doesn't help his cause.

*He is just the third player from Stanford to leave for the NBA before his junior season, joining the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, who were first round picks in 2010.

*Okpala is the son of two Nigerian immigrants. He had a 4.4 GPA in high school.

Fit with Wizards: Okpala would fill a need for the Wizards in that he is a forward and they don't have many of those under contract for next season. He would also give them a young player with high upside, something they currently lack.

But Okpala also seems to offer decent bust potential. Ever since Kevin Durant came into the league, there have been a lot of players like Okpala to come along, ones that are tall enough to play inside but prefer to work on the perimeter.

Sometimes that can work, like with Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brandon Ingram (sort of). But for every success story, there seem to be a lot of guys like Perry Jones and Thon Maker.

Okpala seems very much like boom or bust, and the Wizards may not be able to afford taking a chance like that.

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Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

Neil Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers, off the table for Wizards job

After Tim Connelly decided to re-join the Nuggets rather than take the Wizards' vacant front-office position, Washington has been forced back to the drawing board.

The Wizards have interviewed Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver, former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and Wizards interim team president Tommy Sheppard.

In addition to those names, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported the team could have interest in Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

That option was eliminated Friday when Olshey signed an extension to remain with Portland. 

With Connelly and Olshey off the table, there are fewer high-profile candidates left for the Wizards to consider as replacements for Ernie Grunfeld. 

Standig noted that Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris could also draw interest from Washington. 

The franchise is running out of time to find their new front-office leader with less than a month remaining before the NBA Draft. 

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