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Oladipo can't break losing spell against hometown Wizards


Oladipo can't break losing spell against hometown Wizards

Victor Oladipo grew up in the shadow of Verizon Center, but showed no interest in playing for the Washington Wizards heading into the 2013 NBA Draft. Considering the Wizards already had John Wall and Bradley Beal, that stance, while in the neighborhood of professional impoliteness, was understandable. It also may have been the equivalent of breaking a mirror as a black cat crossed your path on a Friday the 13th.

Since being drafted by the Orlando Magic, Oladipo has now faced his hometown team 11 times, including the New Year's Day matchup in Chinatown. His side is 0-11.

The Wizards improved to 3-0 over the Magic this season by conjuring up a 103-91 win.

Oladipo led Orlando with 20 points while adding five assists and four steals, but the Magic faded over the final eight minutes as the Wizards closed the game with a 25-11 run.

The wing guard and DeMatha product added his thoughts on the series after the loss.

“We just got to do a better job, man. We just got to realize they've been punking us, really, honestly," said Oladipo, who has played in nine of the 11 losses. "Until we get tired of them punking us, we're never gonna beat them so we just need to do a better job."

Orlando's last win in the series occurred at home on March 29, 2013. Since then, yikes.

Four months later, the Magic selected Oladipo with the second overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Wizards held the next pick.

The Magic nearly ended the skid in the 2015 season opener, but John Wall hit the go-ahead layup with 12.7 seconds left as the Wizards won 88-87. Washington also triumphed 108-99 in Chinatown on Nov. 14.

Sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 19-14 record, the perennial NBA lottery team is on track for a playoff berth in the first year under coach Scott Skiles. Solving the Wizards clearly requires more work.

"This isn't just this season," Skiles said of the losing streak. "I don't know. I don't know if guys are intimidated by them. I have no idea."

Wall, who had 24 points and 13 assists in the latest win, couldn't provide any specific reason for the head-to-head domination.

"I don't know," the point guard said. "I think we do a great job moving the ball. ...We got the looks we wanted and we gave ourselves a chance to win."    

Washington often got the looks it wanted because Orlando couldn't keep up with the Wizards' movement of any kind. 

Recalling what he saw from the game film during halftime, Skiles said, "The transition clips were embarrassing. ...They were sprinting. We were jogging." 

Other than woes against the Wizards, the Magic appear headed in the right direction with the youthful core of Oladipo, Tobias Harris and Nik Vucevic. In between the last two meetings with Washington, Orlando went 14-7. 

The Wizards (15-16) are three games back and 11th in the standings. They also apparently have the right plan against Oladipo and company. 

"They're aggressive, they deny us, they make us work but that just means we got to cut even harder and play even harder," Oladipo said. "We can't fold. Until we do that, we're never going to beat them. So we just need to do a better job. Not only them but around the league people are going to start playing us like that so we got to be ready for that. We got to be ready for guys to push up on us and push us around and try to push us around. We got to fight back. We just need to do a better job of that.”

Oladipo and the Magic have one more chance this season of breaking the losing spell. The series finale is set for Jan. 9 in Orlando.

Back in 2013, pre-draft reports had Oladipo passing on working out at Verizon Center for the Wizards. They could stop by DeMatha for a closer look at the Upper Marlboro native. Seeing as Washington was building with Wall and Beal, drafting the Indiana University standout would have been a bit of an outside the box move despite Oladipo's athleticism and potential.

Ultimately, it didn't matter as the Magic scooped him up while the Wizards selected Otto Porter.

It doesn't seem to matter what Orlando does in this series. Based on his postgame demeanor, losing to his hometown over and over and over again matters to Oladipo, as it should.

Whether some form of karma or bad luck plays a role in the losing streak, who knows. At least the Magic know flipping the calendar year didn't help.

MORE WIZARDS: Kelly Oubre loses sight of lobs from Wall: 'I couldn't see'

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Markieff Morris goes 1-on-1; no All-NBA votes for Beal?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Wizards power forward Markieff Morris. Morris looked back on the 2017-18 season and gave his side on what needs to be fixed.

Chris and Chase Hughes also had a heated debate about Bradley Beal not receiving any All-NBA votes. Chase is an awards voter and defended his ballot. Chris wasn't having any of it.

They also went into the conference finals and what it would mean if the Rockets beat the Warriors.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!