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Morning tip: Scouting reports on Otto Porter start to change

Morning tip: Scouting reports on Otto Porter start to change

The true test in Otto Porter's breakout season is here, and if maximizing his earning potential in free agency this summer is of any importance he has to respond to how teams will begin defending him differently to minmize his impact.

The New York Knicks never will be mistaken for being capable defensively, but even they were disciplined enough to prevent the 6-8 small forward from hurting them.

"He got some looks. Definitely teams are scouting Otto different. They're staying at home," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after Porter's 10 points in a 117-101 victory in which he failed to make at least one three-pointer for the first time in nine games. "He’s the best, or one of the best three-point shooters in the league. So they’re not going to give him a lot of open looks. Some nights he’s not going to have the looks like he’s going to have other nights, but I thought he just stayed with it, ran his routes, got to the spots and then John (Wall) did a good job of finding him in the third quarter."

Porter, who shoots an NBA-leading 46.2% from three, went scoreless in the first half. But the flip side of it is Bradley Beal was able to inflict damage with a game-high 28 points on 18 shots in just 31 minutes. Markieff Morris had 24 points off just 14 shots and 10 rebounds.  

Carmelo Anthony took away Porter's first look from deep with a strong close out in the first quarter. Towards the end of the period, Wall floated a pass to him over an area screen from Marcin Gortat and Porter was closed out by center Kyle O'Quinn. 

Porter made the correct read, however, because that opened up Gortat on the dive to the basket for a layup. He earned the assist en route to Gortat finishing 7-for-7 shooting. It's another example of how a defense is intent on taking away an aspect of the game but being vulnerable elsewhere.

What has separated Beal is that he faces even more aggressive coverages from defenses and is not only scoring 20-plus points but creating for others and generating "hockey" assists by moving the ball out of traffic to find shooters like Porter.

"A lot of teams usually just help off Otto's side," Wall said. "They're not helping off his side as much. But he does a great job of still cutting to the basket, then getting out in transition. Keef and March and Jason (Smith) and all those guys set good screens and the weakside has to help, pick-and-choose what you're going to give up. Then he does a great job of attacking the basket off the slot."

The mid-range game was there for Porter in the third quarter where he did all of his scoring. He went back to being the reliable, steady Porter who did a lot of other small things but nothing dramatic. Porter had six rebounds and three assists 

[RELATED: 'Mentally weak' label no longer applies to Wizards]

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Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

Wizards fall flat in battle with young Grizzlies

The Washington Wizards lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-111 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. It was just over a week ago the Wizards had their best win of the season against the Sixers. Saturday night was one of their worst.

They went into Memphis to play an emerging, but struggling team and got their you-know-whats handed to them. The Wizards jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first, then lost the momentum and never got it back.

By halftime the Wizards were down 15. That deficit grew to 24 in the second half.

The Wizards ended up losing by 17, but it wasn't as close as the score would suggest. It was Washington's seventh loss in eight games.

Maybe it was the three-day layoff. Perhaps they weren't sharp. Whatever the reason, that was a bad one.

2. As this game went on, it became very obvious that Memphis' gameplan was to make sure Davis Bertans didn't beat them. They swarmed the Latvian Laser on the perimeter and guarded him well beyond the three-point line.

Bertans was held to nine points on 2-for-9 shooting and 1-for-6 from three. His one three was a quick release shot from about 27 feet out. Soon after that, the defense was picking him up at halfcourt.


This type of treatment was inevitable for Bertans, who has been the biggest surprise of the Wizards' season so far. He has turned into one of the league's best three-point shooters and the second-best scorer on the team. Teams now know it.

3. Rui Hachimura's college teammate stole the show in this one. Brandon Clarke, who played last year with Hachimura at Gonzaga, put on an impressive scoring display highlighted by a series of vicious dunks. He measured a max vertical of 40 1/2 inches and used every inch of it to dunk all over the Wizards.

He had 19 points in the first half, including an alley-oop where his head was level with the rim and a poster dunk on the fastbreak that nearly ended Ian Mahinmi's career.


Clarke had 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting with four rebounds. Coming out of the draft, he was considered a good defensive player but too old (he's 23) and too raw offensively without a three-point shot.

So far, he's looking like a major steal at the 21st overall pick. 

4. The Grizzlies might not be good, but they are fun to watch and have a nice young core with Clarke alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant. Jackson is a unicorn at 6-foot-11 with the ability to drive coast-to-coast and hit threes. Morant is a force of nature, able to play well above the rim despite being 6-foot-3.

Morant nearly pulled off one of the most disrespectful plays in basketball on Bradley Beal. He tried to pull a "Michael Jordan on Ron Mercer" by snatching the ball off the glass with two hands. But he clipped the rim and was called for goaltending. Still, it was impressive because of how high he got in the air.

Memphis has an exciting young team. They might contend for a playoff spot next year with a good offseason. If they were in the East, they could really make some noise.

5. The Wizards were without several key regulars once again. Isaiah Thomas missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain and Moe Wagner was out with his left ankle sprain after playing in the past four games.

They did get back Garrison Mathews, though. The two-way guard played in his first game since Oct. 25 after sitting out due to a stress reaction in his right leg. It was Mathews' third professional game, but he made his first shot - a corner three. It happened to come in his home state of Tennessee. 

Mathews might actually get some minutes in the next few weeks because he is the second-best shooting guard on the roster with Jordan McRae out due to a finger injury.


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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: