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Oubre: We need to play like 'savages on the court'


Oubre: We need to play like 'savages on the court'

Garrett Temple and Kelly Oubre both expressed similar concern about the current state of the Washington Wizards defense following the team's 125-101 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the veteran Temple expressed his opinion in measured yet forceful tone, the rookie Oubre talked with youthful exuberance about what's lacking.

"The dog. The fight. The grit and the griminess," the 19-year-old said shortly after Washington allowed its most points on the young season. "That's pretty much it. We need to be more and more [like] savages on the court I'd say. "

Other players and the head coach had plenty to say about Tuesday's disaster at Verizon Center and the Wizards third straight loss overall. The Thunder scored 37 points in the first quarter, made 17 3-pointers and outrebounded Washington 53-41.

"They jumped on us from the start," stated Temple, who has been part of Washington's top-10 ranked defense over each of the last three seasons. "Defensively we didn't come with it. We weren't focused. The coaching staff did a great job of telling us which plays they want to run. We just didn't execute the game plan."

During the three-game skid, the Wizards are allowing 119 points.

"Until we defend, get the defensive mindset we've had the last few years and rebound the ball, we're not going to be as good of a team as we expect to be. That's to a man, one to 15. We have to defend, we have to rebound otherwise it's going to be a long season."

The long night began immediately. Oklahoma City's third basket highlighted Washington's defensive disconnect.

Replay shows Otto Porter fronting Durant on the right wing immediately after a Wizards basket on the other end of the court. Denying a direct pass to the scoring savant makes perfect sense. The issue? Big men Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries were positioned near the free throw line, leaving the basket area unprotected.

Russell Westbrook spotted the opening. After taking one dribble across midcourt, the Thunder point guard threw a pinpoint lob toward the basket, which Durant easily grabbed and layed in uncontested.

"We didn't execute what we were supposed to do defensively. Durant got a lob dunk," Temple said.

Oklahoma City continued on the attack and led by 14 points after the first quarter.

"They pretty much punched us first, I would say," Oubre stated. "They punched us first and we never kind of retaliated."

No, no they did not. The margin was 18 at halftime and immediately increased in the third quarter even with Durant sidelined after suffering a hamstring strain. Westbrook finished with a triple-double of 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He helped finish off the listless Wizards by scoring or assisting on the Thunder's first five baskets of the second half.

Bad results and blowout losses occur over an 82-game season. This one cannot be dismissed as "one of those nights" seeing as it took place immediately after a 118-98 loss at Boston and a 114-99 setback in Atlanta.

"We've been embarrassed [over the last three games]," Temple said. "We haven't brought it. It's different if you lose close games. I don't care who is playing, who is not playing. We're all professionals. We can put out an effort and we haven't done that. Atlanta we played hard but made a lot of offensive mistakes. This game we didn't have any type of effort defensively on the boards.

"That's a thing you can control. You can't control the ball going in, but you can control your effort and we didn't have any tonight."

MORE WIZARDS: Gortat thinks Wizards got 'punked again'

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

With Wizards training camp set to begin next week, we at NBC Sports Washington are counting down the five biggest storylines for the team as they start a new season. Today, at No. 4, a look at the amount of expiring contracts on the roster and how those situations will work themselves out…

One way or another, what happens for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season will be determined in part by seven players operating in the final years of their contracts. That seven does not include Dwight Howard, who has a player option for the 2019-20 season worth just $5.6 million. If he’s lumped into that group, only the L.A. Clippers have more players entering walk years.

The Wizards players in their contract years include Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Austin Rivers, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Jodie Meeks and Jason Smith. That will present a unique dynamic to the Wizards’ roster and it may affect guys differently.

Some may thrive, knowing how much money they stand to gain with a big year before free agency. Others may succumb to the pressure as they find their niche on a team with a lot of added depth at several positions.

Let’s start with Rivers. The challenge for him will be going through his contract year while taking a reduced role from what he was used to with the Clippers. Last season, he started in 59 games and averaged 33.7 minutes and 13.2 field goal attempts.

Now in Washington, Rivers has to play second fiddle to two All-Star guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal. The minutes and shot attempts will almost certainly go down in a year where he would understandably want all of his numbers to go up.

Green may also have a smaller role than what he was in Cleveland where he started 13 games and averaged 23.4 minutes. But this is his fourth straight year playing on an expiring contract and knows what he’s getting into. He should be fine.

Meeks and Smith are in an interesting spot because they are longtime NBA veterans who don’t have defined roles entering this season. They, of course, would like to put up good enough numbers to earn their next NBA contracts, but will have a tough time getting minutes.

Oubre and Satoransky are in unique spots because this is the first time in their careers they have played in contract years. Oubre, in particular, has a lot of money on the line as a former first round pick who is just 22 years old.

A big year for him could mean a lucrative contract next summer. He has seen how breakout seasons in walk years has helped Beal and Otto Porter, Jr. get paid and surely wants to follow that same career path. The Wizards would certainly welcome that type of emergence from Oubre, as he could drastically transform their ceiling as a team.

Satoransky, 26, is older than Oubre, but has intriguing potential based on his athleticism and versatility. The problem, however, is that recent history shows his minutes are anything but guaranteed.

Morris is in his own category among the Wizards’ expiring contracts because he’s 29 and probably facing his best opportunity for a long-term payday. Morris also has some money to recoup from taking a hometown discount from the Suns years ago, one that didn’t pay off as he hoped.

Howard, though technically under contract for 2019-20, is susceptible to the same factors as the others on expiring deals. If he puts up strong numbers and helps the Wizards succeed, he could opt out and cash in.

The Wizards are confident the expiring contracts will not be a detriment to their locker room. But in order for that to be the case, the players will need to compartmentalize and focus on the team’s goals rather than their own. For some, that might be easier said than done.


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5 things to know about Wizards training camp invitee Lavoy Allen


5 things to know about Wizards training camp invitee Lavoy Allen

On Wednesday the Washington Wizards added a six-year NBA veteran Lavoy Allen to their list of training camp invitees. 

At 29, Allen comes to the Wizards after being picked up by the Capital City Go-Go in the G-league's expansion draft.

Here are five things to know about the newest Wizard:

1. Allen spent the last season in the G-league

Although he has spent six years in the NBA, he was not as fortunate during the 2017-18 season. Last year he was on the court with the Northern Arizona Suns and only played in 10 of the squad's 50 games.

Averaging 21 minutes of action, he scored nine points a game and grabbed just over six rebounds. 

The last NBA franchise he played on was the Indiana Pacers, who declined their team-option in 2017.

2. At 6-9, Allen Recorded 22 rebounds in an NBA game 

Allen's second year in the association was arguably the best of his career. Ascending as a rotational for the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen started a career-high 37 games during the 2012-13 season.

None of his starts were bigger for him than a February win over the Charlotte Bobcats when he brought down 22 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive end. He also recorded 14 points on 7-for-16 shooting. 

3. He's the all-time leading rebounder in Temple history 

As one of the best Owls to ever suit up, Allen has etched his name in the Temple record books. With 1,147 boards there is not a single Owl that has more.

During his collegiate career Allen carried Temple to four NCAA Tournaments. He also holds the record for games started and rebounds in a single season at Temple.

4. Played in France for a season after being drafted by Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the team that took a chance on the talented forward/center. After getting selected 50th in the 2011 draft, Allen had to wait before he jumped onto an NBA court. Due to the lockout, Allen had to play in France for IG Strasbourg, until the labor dispute was over.

5. Wrote "Go Pacers" on the Cleveland Cavaliers' Quicken Loans Arena 

At first this seems like the ultimate sign of disrespect. Then you look at everyone else's scribble on the hardwood and it is less impressive.

Still not too many players have this as a headline during an NBA playoff game. Less than two months after this picture, he was out of job.