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Morning tip: Inside presence with Marcin Gortat keeps Wizards' options open

Morning tip: Inside presence with Marcin Gortat keeps Wizards' options open

The inside game has been missing with the Wizards for months, and it wasn't until recently that coach Scott Brooks made a concerted effort to get Marcin Gortat the early post touch in each half. 

Thursday, he shot 7-for-7 and finished with 16 points in a 106-103 win at the New York Knicks as John Wall fed him. Gortat aggressively went at Marshall Plumlee on that first possession, sank the turnaround jump shot and it was a smooth night. His seven field goals were the most he'd made since Feb. 10 vs. the Indiana Pacers.

"I'm looking probably at two, three, four shots a game," said Gortat about the games when he's not involved immediately in the offense. "Coach tried to get me going early. We all know if we have an inside game we definitely don’t have to worry about the outside game because John and Brad (Beal) are going to take care of that."

Wall and Beal combined for 49 points. Beal had the final five points to break open a score that was tied at 101 and 103 in the final minute.

Gortat has had tough sledding since the All-Star break. His last double-double came during an overtime win at the Portland Trail Blazers on March 11. It was just his fourth game scoring in double figures since March 3.

And despite being in sync with Wall, Gortat only grabbed three rebounds. The Knicks pounded them 20-9 on the offensive glass.

With Markieff Morris (foot) being out, the Wizards had to establish a post presence with somebody. Brooks went away from those early touches to Gortat because he wanted more movement in the offense, feeling that the Wizards became bogged down with isos and post-ups.

Morris and Gortat don't finish at a high percentage on those plays, but at times they have matchup advantages they'll need to exploit more. The game plan is likely to change often to cut down on predictabliity with seven-game playoff series on tap. 

Gortat played some of his best defensive basketball in a long time in the second half of a comeback win over the Charlotte Hornets earlier in the week. He'll have a few more games to right himself.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Beal hits big 3, high-fives Wizards fan in New York]

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Report: NBA likely to use new All-Star format again, will discuss using it in G-League

Report: NBA likely to use new All-Star format again, will discuss using it in G-League

If you were a fan of the NBA's new format for the All-Star game, which featured a target score to decide the winner instead of a clock, you might be in luck. 

According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the NBA is likely to use the target score format again in next year's All-Star game. The NBA's president of league operations Byron Spruell told Lowe it's a 'good assumption' we see this format again. 

In its maiden voyage, the target score was a smashing success. The NBA has struggled to make the All-Star game entertaining and intense enough for the best players in the world to try. By adding 24 points onto the leading team's score at the end of the third and saying, "First one to this number wins," it sparked the competitive fire in the league's biggest stars and made for an unforgettable basketball moment. 

The target score is very similar to the "Elam Ending," created by Ball State University professor Nick Elam. The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all event held over the summer, has used the Elam Ending for the last two years.

Chris Paul suggested using the format in the All-Star game to commissioner Adam Silver, and now the target score ending has a chance at making it to the G-League. 

Lowe also includes in the story that the NBA will discuss using the target score system in the G-League, the league's developmental league. However, concerns about making G-League play too different from play in the NBA make it unlikely for a full adaptation of the target score system. 

Spruell did say a possible first step would be using the system at the annual G-League Showcase, which usually takes place in December. 

To go even further down the rabbit hole of hypothetical changes to NBA games, the NBA will also reportedly discuss using target scores in the elimination rounds of a midseason tournament. In late December, the NBA propose massive schedule changes to the league's owners including shortening the regular season to 78 games and introducing a midseason tournament. 

The owners still have to approve the changes before any target scoring system can be implemented. 

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Wizards congratulate Marcin Gortat on retirement with tribute video

Wizards congratulate Marcin Gortat on retirement with tribute video

Following Marcin Gortat's retirement from basketball, the Wizards and Capitals made sure to congratulate him on wrapping up a 12-year career. 

Gortat spent five seasons with the Wizards from 2013-2018, averaging 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds during his time in D.C. He was a reliable roll man f next to John Wall and helped lead the team to four straight playoff appearances. 

After spending a short time with the Clippers last season, The "Polish Hammer" decided to retire earlier this week. He did not play in the NBA this year. 

Could there be a Gortat appreciation night at Capital One Arena sometime soon? Wizards fans probably wouldn't oppose. 

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