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Otto Porter saves Wizards after starters log heavy minutes -- again

Otto Porter saves Wizards after starters log heavy minutes -- again

BROOKLYN -- The effort didn't show up until the overtime period for the Wizards, when Otto Porter grabbed three offensive rebounds en route to six points in a hard-fought 114-110 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

But this is the type of game that coach Scott Brooks was hoping to avoid after they had to go to an extra session Monday in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

John Wall, who played 44 minutes in that game, logged 46 vs. the Nets. He was 7-for-24. Bradley Beal played 41 after being on the floor for 45 two nights ago. Marcin Gortat, their oldest player at 32 who is playing a career-high in minutes, also played 41 after being on the court for 38.

"The last game he had to play those type of minutes. he played a lot of minutes tonight," Brooks said of Wall. "Maybe three or four too many (in regulation) and then we went to overtime. Can't sit him there. Our medical staff, our coaching staff are cognziant of our guys' minutes and we're real happy with the job we do monitoring their practice times and pre-practice times  and pregame workouts. The load is not just on the minutes played. Its easy (to point at) because it's out there. But we do a lot of stuff behind the sceens. His game minutes, he's averaging 36.5, he can handle it."

Sheldon McClellan, Andrew Nicholson, Daniel Ochefu and Marcus Thornton didn't play but this was the perfect chance for them to get some run. It wasn't to be as the Wizards squandered a 13-point lead in the first half and a seven-point lead to end the third quarter. 

"We didn't do a good job of stopping the penetration tonight. We didn't do a good job on the ball. We didn't do a good job on the screens but we made enough plays to win the game," Brooks said. "We gambled because we wanted to go for steals for layups and then we didn't box out. They got offensive rebounds. That was the game. They gave them the chance every time we had the lead."

The Wizards (31-21) had Tuesday's practice called off following a harrowing game with Cleveland. That could be the case Thursday, though practice is scheduled, after another prolonged outing. 

Porter put back a missed layup from Beal for a 105-104 lead in overtime and rebounded a miss by Wall for a 107-106 lead. He then cleaned up a miss from Beal and drew a foul to make both free throws to lead 109-107 to break a tie for the final time.

The Wizards would never trail again. Porter started as the "stretch" power forward because Markieff Morris (right calf) was out.

Wall and Beal were driving a lot because Brooklyn gave them mismatches with their constant switching. Beal had 14 points in the first quarter but cooled. Wall did get to the foul line 10 times in the second half where he made eight of them.

"We were attacking. We didn't get rewarded but Otto did a good job cleaning it up and getting offensive rebounds," said Brooks, who was hit with a technical foul for the second game in a row after Wall and Beal combined for zero first-half free throws. "Otto makes a lot of winning basketball plays. But defensively, boxing out, the critical parts of the game we didn't do that well tonight as well as we have been doing it."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Nets]

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

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Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

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