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By the numbers: Wizards produce with smaller lineup, Porter on court


By the numbers: Wizards produce with smaller lineup, Porter on court

Big or small

The Wizards became a different team in the postseason when coach Randy Wittman starting using Paul Pierce at power forward with Otto Porter at the other forward slot, leaving just one true big man on the court. Once again in Game 5, that look outperformed the standard pairing of Nene and Marcin Gortat.

Pierce and Porter played 20 minutes together Wednesday night, one of 12 two-man combinations to receive at least 20 minutes. Their plus 22.3 net rating dwarfed all others.

Gortat and Nene were on the court together for 16 minutes. Their net rating, minus 25.3.

Washington's biggest issue defensively remains dealing with Paul Millsap and Al Horford because they have the size to overpower smaller defenders inside but the skill set to make bigger opponents suffer outside. The numbers - and the coach's perception - continue to indicate the Wizards are better overall going with the smaller group. 

Two sides of Otto Porter

Part of what has made the second-year forward a postseason revelation involved his scoring punch, including his 3-point shooting. But after sinking 11 of 24 from deep during the first six playoff games, Porter is just 1 of 6 over the last two games and 4 of 17 overall. He didn't just miss bombs; Porter went 2 of 7 on layup attempts. Considering the Wizards aren't going with a particularly deep rotation at this point, they need contributions from everyone, but perhaps especially from those secondary options like Porter, who are often left open as the defense focuses elsewhere. It's expected that John Wall and Bradley Beal will get theirs. When Porter makes buckets, the offense goes to another level.

While some players see their overall game dip when the shots aren't falling, Porter's remains helpful. He grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in Game 5. His net-rating of plus 7.1 (points scored/allowed over 100 possessions) was easily the highest among the six Wizards to play at least 28 minutes. The 6-foot-8 forward's length continues to bother shooters. His fill-in-the-gap style makes for a great fit with the team's established pieces. Simply put, when Porter plays, the Wizards are better.

Case in point, NBA.com John Schuhmann looked at players in the playoffs with the largest on-off court net rating differential. Heading into Wednesday's games, Golden State's Draymond Green is the clear leader on a list with notables like Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Blake Griffin. Look who checks in at seventh.

Just the facts

From Elias:Teams leading 3-2 in best-of-7 series: 234-41 series record (85.1%). This includes the first round of the 2015 playoffs.

If Wizards win, the will play the first Game 7 in franchise history since 1979 (Eastern Conference Finals at San Antonio, won 107-105)

Home Sweet Home?

The Wizards need a win Friday night at the Verizon Center to stay alive --- and snap a six-game losing at home in elimination games

2014 East Semifinals Pacers GM 6 - Loss
2008 East 1st Round Cavaliers GM 6 - Loss
2007 East 1st Round Cavaliers GM 4 - Loss
2006 East 1st Round Cavaliers GM 6 - Loss
2005 East Semifinals Heat GM 4 - Loss
1997 East 1st Round Bulls GM 3 - Loss

Clank City

Washington shot 23.5 percent (4 of 17) on 3-pointers in Game 5. That's its lowest shooting percentage since March 2 (21 games). 

(H/T CSNwashington.com researcher Rich Goldberg

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Capital City Go-Go to hold open tryouts in search of local talent in D.C. area


Capital City Go-Go to hold open tryouts in search of local talent in D.C. area

The inaugural season of the Washington Wizards' G-League franchise, the Capital City Go-Go, will bring a lot of new experiences for the D.C. area and that includes the process of open tryouts as they seek the best players in the community to fill out their final roster spots.

There will be an opportunity for the best basketball players in the region to showcase their talent in front of Go-Go executives. They don't know if there will be one or two tryouts, when or where they will be held, but the expectation is sometime in September. 

Go-Go general manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu is hoping for a big turnout.

"I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how many people and what kind of talent we can have coming out to those local tryouts. Once we got those dates, we’ll get them out to the community and hopefully we get a ton of guys coming out here to represent their area," he said.

"Whoever comes out, we’ll love it. The more the merrier. It might make our job harder to choose, but I’m okay with that. It’s an expansion team. We’re looking to put this team together and if we have 200 guys come out, that would be great. It just gives us more of an opportunity and a bigger pool to look through. I’m okay with a lot of guys coming out."

Tryouts are commonplace in the G-League, but the Go-Go expect to have an advantage based on their location. The D.C. area is a hotbed for basketball talent and over the years has produced many NBA players and Division 1 college stars.

Mensah-Bonsu can attest to that, having spent many years in the area. He was a star at George Washington University, was with the Wizards in training camp during his professional playing days and has since stuck around to make the city his home.

"The DMV area has a wealth of basketball talent," he said.

Go-Go head coach Jarell Christian is relatively new to the area, but he expects the tryouts to be productive for a G-League talent search. He has held open tryouts before when he was a member of the G-League staff in Oklahoma City. But this isn't Oklahoma City.

"The talent level in Oklahoma City is different than here in D.C., so I think we’ll be able to find some really good players, locally in those tryouts," Christian said.

Christian said that those who want to sign up will likely need to get in contact with members of the front office, either by themselves or with the help of an agent. He mentioned Mensah-Bonsu and also Scott Schroeder, their assistant GM.

Christian and the coaching staff will run them through drills and scrimmages to evaluate which players to keep. Once they see the basketball skills, they will put them through background checks and get testimonials, just like any other job.

"We just want to get a feel for what the players can do. Also, we’ve gotta get to know them and their character. If we do like a player, we’ve gotta make sure we call their references and they check out as being people that we want in our organization at the end of the day," Christian said.

The G-League allows each team to invite up to five players from their tryouts to participate in preseason training camp.

There are several stipulations when it comes to who can try out. Players have to be at least 18 years old and international prospects are often not allowed. The tryouts also generally require a registration fee. More information on the requirements for the Go-Go tryouts will be released once the dates are set.

Open tryouts for other teams around the G-League have produced some unique success stories. Guys who have gone on to make the NBA include Jonathan Simmons and David Nwaba. Perhaps the Go-Go will find the next diamond in the rough.

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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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