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New Wizard Jodie Meeks lights up the Guangzhou Long-Lions for a preseason win

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New Wizard Jodie Meeks lights up the Guangzhou Long-Lions for a preseason win

The Washington Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 126-96 in their first preseason game on Monday night at Capital One Arena.

How it happened: Even without their top two point guards, one of them John Wall, and even without their starting power forward, the Wizards had no trouble with China's Guangzhou Long-Lions in the first game of their five-game preseason schedule. 

Tomas Satoransky started at point guard and attacked the rim at will. Either he's gained some newfound confidence after a summer as the man on his Czech national team, or he was simply taking advantage of lesser competition. The same could be said about Kelly Oubre, Jr., who was more aggressive off the dribble than normal, even getting assists on drive-and-dish plays, which aren't typically in his repertoire. Regardless of the opponent, they looked good and so did backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who got anything he wanted on the offensive end of the floor. 

The Wizards' regular starters didn't see the floor much. Wall sat the game out entirely to rest. Bradley Beal played just 7:37 before calling it a night. Marcin Gortat scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 15:02 before retiring to the bench. Otto Porter had three points and four rebounds in 13:33. 

Ian Mahinmi moved well after an offseason of slimming down. He was active on the boards and dominated the paint when he was on the floor.

MORE WIZARDS: Wall eyes MVP award, appreciates Brooks' confidence

What it means: Nothing. Well, almost nothing. This was the first time the 2017-18 Wizards matched up with a team outside of intrasquad scrimmages. It gave head coach Scott Brooks the chance to test out some lineups. But given the opponent was a team from China, it's hard to clean too much from the results.

Meeks was instant offense: The Long-Lions had no answer for Meeks, who had about as good a Wizards debut as one could ask for. He showed no hesitation with a quick release and first step, relying on his three-point shot and floaters to rack up 19 points in 16:23 by halftime. He hit 4-of-5 threes in the first half and swished a floater from beyond the free throw line to end the first quarter. Health is the biggest concern for him, as he averaged 33 games the past three seasons due to various injuries. For one night, he looked exactly like the Wizards want him to look: quick and assertive with the ball.

The replacements: The most important objective for the Wizards this preseason is figuring out how to sub for Markieff Morris while he is out recovering from sports hernia surgery. Jason Smith got the start alongside Gortat at the four and immediately knocked down a three. He also had a nice block on Tyler Hansbrough, the one recognizable name on the Long-Lions. 

Chris McCullough (14 points) showed flashes, going above the rim to snatch rebounds and throw down dunks. He came to life offensively in the fourth quarter, with a 20-foot jumper and a pair of two-handed dunks assisted by Sheldon Mac. He later powered home an alley-oop set up by Donald Sloan. McCullough also gambled and lost on defense on a few plays, but overall had a nice night. 

Mike Scott didn't play at all in the first half. He then started the second half and had some moments, including a nice dish to Mac for an open three in the third quarter. Scott had six points of his own in the third quarter.

Mac made some noise: Speaking of Mac, he had a nice night overall with 13 points. After not playing at all in the first half, he was a focus of their offense in the second half. He got into the lane with easy, finishing once with a wide open, two-handed slam. Mac looked comfortable firing from long range and handling the ball. His roster spot could be threatened by Sloan and Carrick Felix, so it was an encouraging start for Mac, who finished with 13 points. Mac also pulled off an impressive feat: he fouled out despite not playing in the first two quarters.

Up next: The Wizards play their first preseason game against an NBA team on Friday night, again at home. They will host Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks.

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Carmelo Anthony to sign with Rockets on minimum contract, report says

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Carmelo Anthony to sign with Rockets on minimum contract, report says

After over a week of speculation, it appears that Carmelo Anthony will indeed sign with the Houston Rockets, as a new report from the New York Times has confirmed Anthony's plans.

Marc Stein notes that Anthony will join the Rockets once he clears waivers and will sign a veteran minimum contract. Anthony will make about $1.8 million from the Rockets on top of the $27.9 million he received in his buyout from the Atlanta Hawks. Anthony was first traded from Oklahoma City to Atlanta.

Anthony teaming up with James Harden and Chris Paul is big news, though his acquisition does carry some risks. The Rockets had a good thing going last year, as they finished one win short of a berth in the NBA Finals. They were up 3-2 on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals and lost the last two games after Paul got injured.

Adding Anthony, it would seem, could help push them over the top. But Anthony isn't the player he once was and there are questions about whether his style is conducive to winning. Anthony has traditionally been at his best when he's a large focus of the offense and he won't be in Houston.

Plus, the Rockets let some important players walk at Anthony's position. Trevor Ariza signed with the Suns and Luc Mbah Moute went to the Clippers. There will likely be a noticeable drop-off on defense.

There is a chance, however, that Anthony thrives in Houston's system. Head coach Mike D'Antoni has set up a structure of isolation ball while spacing the floor with three-point shooters. Anthony could succeed if he can make his possessions count and score more efficiently with less shots. Last year he wasn't able to do that, as he shot just 40.4 percent from the field, but he also wasn't operating in as lethal an offense as the Rockets.

Anthony going to the Rockets represents an interesting point in the career of a guy who will someday be in the Hall of Fame. This should be the best team he's ever played on and if things go right, he could rewrite some narratives about his inability to win in the playoffs.

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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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