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No Wall, no problem as Wizards rip Nets: Five takeaways


No Wall, no problem as Wizards rip Nets: Five takeaways

John Wall or no John Wall -- and Wednesday there was no John Wall for the Wizards -- this wasn't the type of energy expected from a team on the cusp of being officially eliminated from the playoffs. At least, not for two quarters.

Still, the Wizards (38-40) came through with a 121-103 victory over the Brooklyn Nets (21-57) after allowing a 30-23 lead to evaporate after the first quarter and a 40-32 edge dissipate midway through the second.

Bradley Beal (25 points) shot 11 of 15 to lead the Wizards, followed by Ramon Sessions (18 points, 13 assists), Marcin Gortat (16 points, 12 rebounds), Otto Porter (15 points, six rebounds), Nene (13 points, seven rebounds) and Garrett Temple (10 points, six rebounds, six assists).

The sense of urgency that the Wizards needed to show to put away a team on a five-game losing streak didn't come to the surface until the third quarter where Sessions, in his first start, scored 11 points to blow open a  54-52 halftime advantage.

Thomas Robinson (23 points) scored a career-high in leading Brooklyn, followed by Sean Kilpatrick (15 points), Wayne Ellington (14 points) and Markel Brown (13 points).


If the Wizards  had lost, they would've been eliminated because the Detroit Pistons won at the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

  • Wall practiced fully Tuesday and was a late scratch because of a right knee bruise. Given that the opponent, with Larkin (nine points, 31 minutes) as Brooklyn's starter, the Wizards were able to get away with it and save him for Friday's game at Detroit. The Wizards had 36 assists on 48 made shots.

  • Temple energized the Wizards when they had no life in the first quarter and trailed 21-20, getting consecutive steals. One led to a layup for Sessions and the next produced a dunk for Markieff Morris (nine points, seven rebounds). The defensive effort of the other four players on the court picked up with Temple as they denied passing angles and took a seven-point lead into the second quarter.

  • The Nets' pick-and-roll coverage was beyond bad which allowed Gortat to get to the rim for easy finishes. Sessions has a tendency to look for his shot first with the second unit because that's his job. But he made the extra pass.

  •  Kelly Oubre (seven points) logged his most time since Jan. 20 with 19 minutes. It wasn't just garbage time. Oubre played late in the first and coach Randy Wittman stuck with him to start the second. Drew Gooden (four points) also made his first appearance in a month and just his second since Feb. 28. He had a nifty reverse towards the end of the game.

  • The Wizards were so much bigger inside, they had a 53-38 edge in rebounds and scored 68 of their points in the paint. The Nets shut down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the season because of injuries. But they also kept the Nets to 39 of 92 shooting, or 42.4% which is a telltale sign of how they're engaged defensively.

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.