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Kelly Oubre credits OKC star Russell Westbrook for inspiring him to play hard every time

Kelly Oubre credits OKC star Russell Westbrook for inspiring him to play hard every time

The admiration taht Kelly Oubre has for Russell Westbrook, who is on the verge of breaking the NBA record for triple-doubles in a season, comes from a distance. The second-year player doesn't appear to have any close personal ties to the Oklahoma City star, but he knows effort when he sees it and used it to best explain his own play in Tuesday's 118-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

"Russell Westbook," Oubre told CSNmidatlantic.com's Chris Miller after the game. "Straight up."

Oubre had 15 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.

Quirky and into fashion, like Westbrook, Oubre can do peculiar things that draw chuckles. He also matches to his own beat, not worried about being different or conformity. Oubre understands that there's strength in just being himself -- and by himself, if necessary.

At 9:36 of the fourth quarter, he got Jeremy Lamb to bite an upfake during his drive and tumbled to the floor. Oubre then did a few pushups while there just because why not?

"If I see him out there doing what he does every night playing with an intense motor," Oubre said, "why can't I?"

It's that type of hustle why Oubre stayed in coach Scott Brooks' rotation despite his struggles early and at the mid-point. And it's that attitude why every player on the roster, during exit interviews after a 41-41 record landed them out of the playoffs a year ago, lobbied for more playing time for Oubre to majority owner Ted Leonsis.

The Wizards moved up in the 2015 draft to get Oubre, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. At 6-7 with a 7-2 wingspan and an ability to defend both guard positions, too, he could prove to be a steal.

When he was acquired, president Ernie Grunfed said it would take the then-19-year-old Oubre about 2-3 years to develop. He might not have 41 triple-doubles like Westbrook, who is one shy of breaking Oscar Robertson's all-time record, but he's right on schedule and peaking at the perfect time as the playoffs draw near.

[RELATED: Scott Brooks on Steve Kerr's apology, NBA's unwritten rules]

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Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura tops the list of jersey sales in Japan

Today the NBA announced that Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has the most popular jersey in Japan.

Sales from NBAStore.jp, the official online NBA store in Japan, put Hachimura at the top of the list, followed by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. The rankings were based on online sales during the 2019-2020 NBA season through January.

Hachimura's ranking shouldn't come as a surprise, as the rookie became the first Japanese-born player selected in the first round of the NBA draft when the Wizards took him ninth overall last summer.

Not only was Hachimura the top-selling jersey, but he also accounted for 24% of all jersey sales. Additionally, the Wizards made up 13% of all team merchandise sales. 

The Lakers topped the list of most popular team merchandise, followed by the Wizards and the Warriors. The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks rounded out the top five.

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Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Report: Steph Curry will return from hand surgery against Wizards

Steph Curry will return to game action when the Golden State Warriors host the Wizards on Sunday night, The Athletic reported Tuesday. The game will come almost four months to the day after Curry broke his left hand during a collision with Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes on Oct. 30.

The Warriors (12-14) enter play Tuesday with the worst record in the NBA having played most of the season without Curry or shooting guard Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL during the NBA Finals last summer.

Curry was cleared for contact Saturday and told reporters that March 1 had been his target date for a while.

"It's always been March 1," Curry said, per ESPN's Nick Friedell. "But that for me mostly is just to give you a target. You have to have something to work towards in the rehab process because that gives you a barometer for each week, what you're building towards."

The Wizards are hoping for the healthy returns of Davis Bertans (sore right knee) and Thomas Bryant (right foot) to the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and will presumably go into Sunday’s contest with a clean injury report outside John Wall.

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