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Pacers end Wizards' win streak 123-106: Five takeaways


Pacers end Wizards' win streak 123-106: Five takeaways

As much as the Wizards want to play fast, the Pacers want to play just as fast and they did it better Tuesday night. Paul George and C.J. Miles dominated the action from the opening tip, converting a combined 15 of 17 three-point attempts to end Washington's three-game winning streak, at Verizon Center.

Miles had his season high (22 points) at halftime when he made all six of his threes and finished with 32 points on 10 of 16 shooting, draining 8 of 9 from long range. George was near flawless with a season-high 40 points on 14 of 19 shooting, including 7 of 8 three-pointers. George Hill had 14 points and Monta Eillis 10 as the Pacers (9-5) overcame 20 turnovers.

The Wizards (6-5) led 42-35 in the second quarter when Ramon Sessions broke away on a steal for a dunk but trailed 62-61 at halftime as even Rodney Stuckey and Chase Budinger drained threes.

John Wall, who was a non-factor in the second half, had 18 points and just five assists. Bradley Beal had 20 points and Gary Neal a season-high 23 off the bench. They also had 21 turnovers, something they avoided during the win streak. 

The teams combined for 32 made three-pointers, a franchise record for two teams in a Wizards game.

  • Otto Porter picked up three fouls in the first half, having to scramble to defend George who was on fire. Carmelo Anthony torched the Wizards for 37 points as he was too big and strong for Porter. George's strikes were just too quick. Kris Humphries started at power forward, but style-wise he wasn't the right fit for this game. He played just five minutes in the first half until coach Randy Wittman pulled him for Jared Dudley at 7:05 of the first quarter. When the Pacers went with Jordan Hill and Lavoy Allen in the fourth quarter, Humphries made it back on the floor for four minutes. He didn't score for the second game in a row and missed his only shot. 

  • The Wizards had an advantage with Marcin Gortat and Nene in the low post but weren't able to exploit it as much as they'd hoped because of the small-ball tempo. The Pacers only have Ian Mahinmi and Hill, neither of whom can guard either big. Still, Gortat had a complete stat line (10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals) and so did Nene off the bench (11 points, seven rebounds and four assists). 

  • Beal's aggressive streak returned, playing in his second game back from a left shoulder contusion. He launched 12 shots in the first half alone to score 15 points and keep the Wizards from being blown out. But he turned ice cold in the second half. The open looks from three were there, but when the game ended he was just 2 of 8 from deep. He shot 2 of 10 in the second half.

  • The second unit continues to be consistent, coming off three games in which they contributed 30, 46 and 51 points in wins. In this one, they generated 51 points. Temple had a rebound of Gortat's missed foul shot and a putback to trim the deficit to 81-77. He had a strip of Stuckey that disrupted a possession but Miles launched a three from deep for a unbelievable make, his seventh in eight tries at that point. It was that kind of night. The bench didn't have the same spark late, but they did more than their job. It's on the starters for not closing out. 

  • When Wall starts making risky passes, the Wizards' turnovers skyrocket. He had eight in this one, three to start the second half when they had a chance to make a run out of the locker room because Indiana also was sloppy with the ball. He made a one-handed, high-risk pass to Porter to put the Pacers in transition -- and it resulted in Porter's third foul to send him to the bench. Porter never got in sync, only playing 25 minutes.

[RELATED: Bradley Beal adjusts to protection on left shoulder]

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 



John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?