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Kelly Oubre finally performs up to par in Wizards' win


Kelly Oubre finally performs up to par in Wizards' win

PHILADELPHIA -- The first free throw caught the front of the rim, and it turned over for Kelly Oubre's first point. Then the next two, after he was fouled on a three-point attempt, swished and he was on his way. Thirteen points later, he was the Wizards' leading scorer in a 127-118 victory against the 76ers on Friday.

"Coach will tell you, I still was messing all the plays up," said Oubre, who shot 3-for-4 from the field and 9 of 11 from the foul line. "I'm still learning but I'm definitely trying to make sure my defense is more exuberant and it shows more so than my offense because my defense will lead to my offense. That was more of my scheme going into the game."

Oubre had a near steal late in the first quarter. He deflected a pass out of bounds. He then stripped J.P. Tokoto and was fouled on the drive in transition. Then came the open three-point shot to start the second quarter and Oubre, who was 1-for-10 in the two exhibitions he'd played in before Friday, looked the part of a No. 15 overall draft pick who the Wizards traded up to acquire. This was his first field goal against an NBA team, actually, because his only make had come vs. a Brazilian club.

"My teammates did a good job of helping me feel comfortable out there with all the plays and defensive schemes," Oubre, 19 said. "Everything you saw is what I'm trying to do. Plus more. I felt more comfortable out there. Smooth."

In addition to his team-high 16 points, Oubre had three steals and three rebounds in 26 minutes. He put the ball on the floor repeatedly to force the action which led to all the foul shots. Coach Randy Wittman had to go to him late in the fourth quarter to play some at power forward because the Sixers went so small.

"Played good," said Wittman, who started the third quarter with Oubre at small forward because Otto Porter tweaked his left ankle and was held out. "Played aggressive. We went so small at the end it's kind of unfair to him. He's trying to learn one position and being put in that (power forward spot), I thought he played aggressive."

RELATED: Five takeaways from the Wizards 127-118 win

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year.