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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 vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Myles Turner and the Indiana Pacers host Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre and the Washington Wizards on Monday night as they hope to move up in the everchanging ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

With the possibility of John Wall not playing, this game will be a big moment for the rest of the Wiziards players to step up and show the city what they can do. The Pacers, on the other hand, have been playing exceptionally well in their past 6 games.

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington for pregame, postgame and live game coverage of Wizards at Raptors.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time…

WIZARDS at PACERS HOW TO WATCH:

What: Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers, 2018 NBA Regular Season, Game 27

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

When: Monday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards-Pacers will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can stream Wizards vs. Pacers live on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and the MyTeams by NBC Sports App. After the game tonight, Wizards Postgame Live and Wizards Outsiders are streaming exclusively on the MyTeams app. Download MyTeams now for full postgame coverage and 24/7 Wizards news.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS at PACERS TV SCHEDULE:

06:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
06:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) 
07:00 PM: NBA: Wizards @ Indiana Pacers (LIVE)
09:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders 

WIZARDS at PACERS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (out, lumbar microdisectomy procedure)

Pacers: Victor Oladipo (out, sore right knee)

WIZARDS at PACERS SERIES HISTORY: 

Number of all-time Meetings: 174 games (6 playoff games)

Regular Season Record: Pacers lead series, 96-78

Playoff Record: Pacers lead series 4-2

Last Meeting: Wizards beat Pacers 109-102 on 3/17/2018

Last 10: Wizards 6-4

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John Wall had the worst game of his career against the Cavs

John Wall had the worst game of his career against the Cavs

The problem with John Wall on Saturday night in the Wizards' blowout loss to the Cavs depended somewhat on whom was asked. Either that, or it was all of the above.

Head coach Scott Brooks indicated to reporters in Cleveland that Wall was sick. Bradley Beal referenced personal issues the team would prefer to keep in-house. Wall suggested he was hampered by a nagging left heel injury. 

Wall's explanation certainly passed the eye test. He clearly didn't have his trademark burst up and down the floor. Plus, he has been icing his left foot after recent games.

Add it all up and it was enough to produce the worst stat line of Wall's nine-year NBA career. Never before had he been held without a field goal and not once had he scored just one point in a game.

Wall runs the Wizards' offense, so naturally, his lethargic play set a sleepy tone. The Wizards dragged their feet, got shoved around by Tristan Thompson and went down by as many as 29. A reminder that this was against the Cavs, a 6-20 team with the worst defensive rating in the league.

Wall went on to tell the Washington Post that the pain in his heel is bad enough that he can't yet commit to playing on Monday in the Wizards' next game. 

When Wall is playing through injuries, he will often go out of his way to downplay them. His admission of the heel injury and how much it has hurt him is unusual and indicates the severity.

Wall has been dealing with several minor leg injuries this season. On top of the heel issue, he played through a thigh bruise earlier this year. But it had yet to be this bad and there may be a reason for that.

Wall returned for this game after being away for a few days to deal with a personal matter. Perhaps that time off made it tough for him to get loose or manage the injury like he usually does when under the watch of team doctors. 

That would make sense, given the last time he played, he played well. Wall had 18 points and 15 assists against the Knicks on Monday.

Many factors may have been at play. The result was a hobbled version of Wall, one who couldn't force enough separation to even get his shots off. Wall attempted only five field goals, the second-fewest of his career. Usually, even on his worst shooting nights, Wall can at least put up shots.

The pain and how it affected his game was clearly wearing on Wall. With just under two minutes to go in the first half, he drove into contact in the lane. After missing the layup, and not getting a foul call, he slapped the stanchion under the hoop before slowly turning to head back on defense.

When Wall is at peak powers, he plays with an unrelenting chip on his shoulder, flying to the rim like he's drawn by a magnetic force. He glides down the court, finishing with left-handed dunks and darts to open teammates on the perimeter. 

On Saturday, the swagger wasn't there. He hung his head, trotted timidly up and down the court and watched helplessly as rookie Collin Sexton and others drove past him.

Wall was far removed from his usual self against the Cavs. It would be hard to envision a scenario in which the Wizards could win with how he played.

At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if he missed Monday's game against the Pacers. The Wizards need him at or near 100 percent and he wasn't close enough against the Cavs.

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