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Pargo's scoring punch highlights open practice scrimmage


Pargo's scoring punch highlights open practice scrimmage

If there were such a thing as an MVP award during Tuesday night's open practicesplit squad scrimmage, Jannero Pargo would have some extra hardware right now. The 33-year-old veteran point guard should no ill effects from his abdominal strain that kept out of action for several days, especially with his shot.

Midway through the first period (the scrimmage included three sessions, 10 minute, 8 and 5. Yes, I'm giving you more detail than you asked for, but that's why I'm here), Pargo took over offensively for the "gray" team.

The first of three straight baskets came off a crazy crossover dribble, setting himself up for an open jumper. After scoring on fast break feed from the increasingly decisive Shelvin Mack, Pargo knocked down a 3-pointer and then later he pulled up for another successful bomb from beyond the arc. His best shot of the period, a 40-footer that found the bottom of the net, came after time elapsed.

"Yeah, it felt good, got into a rhythm," said Pargo, who later tacked on another 3-pointer. "Everybody did a good job of letting me know the plays. I've been out for three days. It was a good team effort. Fortunately I was able to get hot."

For a team that ranked among the worst in the league with 3-point shooting, Pargo's production from distance surely proved thrilling - or at least as thrilling as made 3-pointers in a scrimmage can be.

Along with A.J. Price and Shelvin Mack, Pargo is part of the Wizards point guard mix as the team searches for a plan with John Wall out the rest of the preseason and likely the first month the regular season. Not only does his NBA experience double that of Mack and Price, his steady perimeter shooting is an element they others including Wall lack.

The newest Wizard also made an impression on the 2,100 fans on hand, many of whom probably entered the Patriot Center not knowing No. 7's name, but certainly did when they left.

After practice George Mason students were asked one by one to pick a Wizard they hoped would make a half court shot with free books the prize for a successful make. First pick, the new guy. Alas, Pargo's truly long shot went awry, one of few that did on this night.

Pargo, who also participated in the Wizards morning practice, played all three periods and did so with a protective wrap around his midsection.

"I feel pretty good. I wouldn't say 100 percent, but it's to the point I can practice. There is a little bit of pain, but I feel good enough to practice."

Apparently so.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' last-second loss to Heat

5 must-see moments from Wizards' last-second loss to Heat

The Washington Wizards lost to the Miami Heat 113-112 on Thursday night in their 2018-19 regular-season opener. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

Five Must-See Moments from Wizards vs. Heat

1. BooooOubre

Someone was in the Halloween spirit. Two weeks before the holiday arrives, Kelly Oubre Jr. is already wearing costumes.

He showed up to the game wearing chains and holding a skull. Perhaps this was intended to send a message to his arch-rival, Kelly Olynyk, who now plays for the Heat:

More on Oynyk later...

2.  Flashes of brilliance from Wizards bench

Though the Wizards' bench produced mixed results, there were many moments where they flashed the potential to be much-improved year-over-year. The guard combination of Tomas Satoransky and Austin Rivers, in particular, is enticing. 

On this play, they were on the same page as Rivers caught the defense sleeping and Satoransky found him with a well-timed bounce pass:

3. Jason Smith makes the most of opportunity

With Dwight Howard out, head coach Scott Brooks had to turn to Ian Mahinmi as the starter and that meant Jason Smith as his backup. Smith had an uneven night battling Hassan Whiteside, but made some nice plays on the offensive end. 

On this one, he finished an alley-oop assisted by Wall:

Smith also had this dunk just a few minutes earlier:

Smith had four points and six rebounds.

4. Wall-Star Mode

This was the best play of the night. Wall, who had been getting into the lane with ease for much of the first half, exploded to the rim and threw down one of his signature left-handed hooks:

Wall had 26 points, nine assists, three blocks, and a steal.

5. Olynyk sinks Wizards ... again

Okay, back to Olynyk. He was booed all night by Wizards fans, who remember his incident with Oubre in the 2017 playoffs, but the Heat center had the last laugh. He was in perfect position to grab an offensive rebound and lay it in for the go-ahead points in the final seconds:

That was Miami's 22nd offensive rebound of the night. What a tough way for the Wizards to lose their opener, on a complete lapse in focus right when it counted most.

BONUS: Oubre stays hyped

Oubre didn't have a great shooting night, as he went 2-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 from three, but he did a nice job attacking the rim. On this play, he cleaned up a miss with a killer putback slam.

The only problem is that he got a technical foul for taunting Whiteside right after.


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Otto Porter Jr. begins 2018-19 season with way too few shot attempts in Wizards' loss

Otto Porter Jr. begins 2018-19 season with way too few shot attempts in Wizards' loss

The initiative to get Otto Porter Jr. more attempts from three this season is not off to a great start.

That right there is called an understatement. Because it would be one thing if Porter only took a couple of them, but he literally took zero against the Heat on Thursday night in the Wizards' 2018-19 regular season opener.

Yes, one of the NBA's best three-point shooters didn't even get off a single attempt from long range. That is simply hard to justify, especially after a preseason in which the team had a stated goal to shoot more threes than ever before.

It wasn't just threes. The often deferential Porter was even more gun shy than normal. He only took seven total shots in the 113-112 loss and topped out at just nine points.

Porter, in fact, had just one field goal attempt until there was 1:19 remaining in the first half, when he got two of them on the same play thanks to a rebound on his own miss.

Porter still affected the game in other ways, per usual. He had 11 rebounds, three steals and three blocks and finished +1 in +/- rating.

But for Porter to reach the next level as a player, he has to add volume to his efficient scoring numbers.

"We will look at the film and figure it out," head coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not like we go into the game wanting to only shoot 26 threes [as a team] and Otto shoot zero."

Brooks continued to say the problem is a combination of several things. More plays could be called for Porter and his teammates could look for him more often.

But ultimately, it's up to Porter to assert himself and take initiative. Granted, that may have been easier said than done against the Heat, who boast one of the best perimeter defenders in basketball in Josh Richardson. They are a scrappy team with athletic and hard-nosed defenders on the wing.

For Porter, though, that shouldn't matter. Ultimately, his share of the offense is up to him. The ball is going to swing around often enough for him to create his own opportunities.

Porter only taking seven shots is a bad sign considering Thursday was a better opportunity to get shots than he may receive in most games. The Wizards added Dwight Howard this summer and last season he averaged 11.2 shots per game, 3.4 more than Marcin Gortat, whom he replaced in the starting lineup.

It won't be easy, but the Wizards need Porter to take matters into his own hands.