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Otto Porter wasn't focus of Grizzlies' scouting report and they paid for it

Otto Porter wasn't focus of Grizzlies' scouting report and they paid for it

The two Wizards players who will routinely get the most clean looks, because of how defenses are consumed with John Wall and Bradley Beal, are Otto Porter and Markieff Morris. Both made the Memphis Grizzlies pay a heavy price for their coverages Wednesday in a 104-101 win at Verizon Center, the 13th in a row at home for the Wizards. 

Porter tied Wall for a team-high 25 points, but he also knocked down a career-high six three-pointers. The two biggest came in succession midway through the fourth quarter for a 95-83 lead. Though the Grizzlies would make a run to cut the deficit to two, the Wizards would hold on after leading by as many as 19 points. 

"That made them a lot dangerous. I didn't even know he was on the scouting report today. I didn't hear two words about him today in the shootaround," said Tony Allen, Memphis' best perimter defender responsible for marking Beal for most of the game. "It was just a lot about Beal and Wall. Beal and Wall. We got to pay better attention to our opponents and have a little better focus coming into games. ... When the others, guys like him, Morris, be highlights of the day, there is going to be pressure on your defense."

Beal was held in check by Allen and company as they sent multiple players at him to keep the lethal shooting guard off the three-point line. But Beal still had his chances after Allen fouled out with 6;16 left. He shot 1-for-7 on threes. Porter was 6-for-8.

Wall assisted Porter on five of the long balls. And when the Grizzlies made it uncomfortable again, Wall took advantage of being switched onto by Marc Gasol by getting layups. 

"Every night he comes in and does everything he's supposed to do," Wall said of Porter, who will be a restricted free agent after completing the fourth and final year of his rookie scale contract. "Rebounding, cutting to the basket, being in the right place at the right time, knocking down shots and even when he's not knocking them down he still believes in himself. We believe in him. We just try to put him in situations where he can excel."

Morris had his second consecutive double-double, a first for him in Washington since being acquired in a trade in Feburary 2015, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. JaMychal Green and Chandler Parsons couldn't handle him without help. And when Gasol was crossmatched on Morris, he faced him up and used his quicker first step to get the shots he wanted.

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' win over tough Grizzlies team]

Morris wasn't as effective in the second half as he seemed to rush his shots rather than kicking the ball out and resetting to take more advantage of the defense. But in combination with Porter, he contributed to a 66-point first half. 

All season, most teams have gambled off Porter and he has cashed in. When he hits the market, that'll be more literal in the summer.

"You have to pick your poison on the pick-and-roll," Gasol said. "When the initial action is not played correctly, and they get to the paint either with a drive or a pass, somebody has to help and you have to pick whether to come off Bradley Beal or to come off Porter. So you pick the one guy, and he got hot on threes and got going."

Based on their expereince Oct. 30, Porter was the right guy. When the Wizards lost 102-93 in overtime in Memphis, Porter was 0-for-5 from three-point range. Allen was out injured so this was the first time he's seen this version of the small forward.

"He is what the NBA has become. He is a Swiss army knife. He can play multiple positions," Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said of Porter, who had been silent after scoring 17 in the first half. "The more he makes his threes, the deadlier he becomes but he does so much other stuff for them."

Beal was held to 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting but Wall still was able to get his with 25 points, 13 assists and two steals. Porter made up the difference.

"The way he was shooting, he should have shot 10 more," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "The way their defense was collapsing on John, he made the right reads."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Grizzlies]

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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