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Morning tip: Figuring out how to win on road remains hurdle for Wizards

Morning tip: Figuring out how to win on road remains hurdle for Wizards

As good as the opening 12 minutes were for the Wizards, the third quarter vs. the Houston Rockets turned out to be a disaster that flipped the momentum of the game. A loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second game of a back-to-back tonight would constitute two steps back but they're still in a good spot to get back to .500.

The Wizards, who have won eight in a row at Verizon Center, are just 3-11 on the road after Monday's 101-91 loss vs. a potent offensive team.

"We play for 48 minutes at home," said John Wall, who had 18 points and 12 assists for his 21st double-double. "On the road we play for 24 minutes sometimes, sometimes 32. We got to play for the full 48. When we figure that out, when we don't have the crowd behind us on the road and we're not making shots we still got to defend at a high level."

Bradley Beal led the Wizards (16-17) with 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting but he could've had more had he looked more for his shot. There were opportunities as the Rockets were slow to close him out on pindowns from Marcin Gortat. 

The Wizards held them to 14 points in the first quarter, a season low, but the outcome turned after halftime when Washington lost a 53-41 lead. 

"I thought we had too many mitsakes defensively and they capitalized with threes. I think they made seven threes in that quarter. Then we had six turnovers," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "The combination of both those things happening created that 37-17 quarter. I thought we played a pretty good game throughout the game. You just take away seven or eight minutes in that third quarter."

The lead quickly evaporated because of the giveaways. The Wizards had 17 that led to 15 points for Houston which isn't noted for its defensive prowess. But to start the third quarter there was no rhythm to the Wizards' offense because of the uneven sets in the halfcourt. The transition buckets dried up as well.

"We didn't come out with the same intensity offensively. We knew there was going to be a time in the game when they were going to make shots," Wall said. "We weren't being as aggressive. They were trying to trap me and Brad and get the ball out of our hands."

As well as the Wizards' bench has played in recent games, including 50 points in a blowout of the Brooklyn Nets last weekend, they needed more from them than 13 points against an elite West team. Eric Gordon, a starter for his career until he signed with Houston as a free agent, had 31 of the Rockets' 42. He made 6 of 12 from deep.

"Sometimes we would rotate for no reason. Be in the lane when we shouldn't have been," said Beal. "We gave up some easy catch-and-shoot threes that anybody in the league can make."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards loss to Rockets]

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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