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Morning tip: Kelly Oubre likely will spend time defending Kyrie Irving

Morning tip: Kelly Oubre likely will spend time defending Kyrie Irving

Whenever the Cleveland Cavaliers would be in need of a bucket vs. the Wizards, they'd run pick-and-rolls with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to force switches that would get them both in favorable positions and in space for high-percentage looks. 

It would result in one of those two having Jared Dudley in front of them to beat.

But that was so 2015-16 season.

The Wizards (30-20) already have a 6-10, more athletic Markieff Morris there as the starter to give them a better chance. They also will have the 7-2 wingspan of Kelly Oubre, who has emerged in his second year, to give them a unique look when the two teams face off on Monday night at Verizon Center.

Oubre usually takes the floor late in the first quarter as the small forward while starter Otto Porter shifts to the "stretch" forwards. He'll also find hmself cross-matched against point guards by the fourth quarter. 

The latter is a strategy that Washington used in a 15-point win over the Boston Celtics when the NBA's leading scorer in the fourth, Isaiah Thomas, was held to one field goal. At 6-7, Oubre has the length and athleticism to bother guards and force them to finish tougher shots. And if he ends up switched onto the stronger James, he won't cede ground in the post. 

"Sometimes on defense, when they don't have their other main guys in. I'll not take a break but just get a little more rest," said John Wall, who'll assume an easier assignment while Oubre focuses on defending  the point guard. "We use it at times. But in the game I want to be on those guys. I'm one of those point guards that likes to go against the point guards to make it a matchup.  

"Not to say it's a one-on-one but at times we usually switch it up. A lot of good teams do that. That's why you've got defensive stoppers."

Irving scored a game-high 29 in a 104-95 win on Nov. 11 at Verizon Center. It's just one of six home losses.

They won't be able to shut down everyone, but the Wizards can't allow Irving and James to be effective simultaneously. If they can take away one of the Big Two, chances are Oubre will have something to do with it. 

RELATED: IAN MANHINMI EXCITED TO 'BE A PART OF THIS STORY'

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

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This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

With the NBA season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wizards, or any team for that matter, are currently unable to make their mark on the NBA history books. 

So on this day, March 28th, we roll the clocks back 17 years to a major moment in not only Wizards history, but in NBA history as well. The final meeting between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. 

2003 was Jordan's second season in Washington and his last in a legendary 15-year career where he won six championships, five MVPs, 10 scoring titles and nine All-Defensive selections.

If anyone came close to being the next MJ, it was Bryant. By their final meeting, the 24-year-old prodigy already had three titles and more than enough reason to put on a show against his idol. 

Bryant went for 55 points against the Wizards, scoring 42 in the first half. He went 15-for-29 from the field and made 9-of-13 from three. Safe to say, Bryant was on a mission following a one-point loss to the Wizards earlier that season. 

He scored an inefficient 27 points on 8-21 shooting and was outplayed by a 40-year-old Jordan. According to Gilbert Arenas, Jordan told Bryant he would never fill his shoes following the loss. In true Bryant fashion, he held onto that moment, apparently didn't talk to his teammates for two weeks leading up to the rematch and took it all out on the Wizards. 

Jordan didn't have a bad game by any stretch. He still scored 23 points on 10-20 shooting to go along with four assists, but he was simply no match for Bryant. 

The Wizards would go on to finish 37-45 miss out on the playoffs and take Jarvis Hayes with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The Lakers went for the first run of four-straight titles since Bill Russell's Celtics but fell short in the Western Conference Semifinals to Tim Duncan and the Spurs. They'd return to the Finals the following year only to lose to the Pistons. After that, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami and the Lakers didn't win a championship for another five years. 

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