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Pelicans come back to clip Wizards 107-105: Five takeaways


Pelicans come back to clip Wizards 107-105: Five takeaways

NEW ORLEANS -- The start of Friday's game wasn't promising when Bradley Beal was a late scratch because of what the Wizards called a sore right leg, but they blew another game late as Gary Neal's shot at the buzzer to tie the score failed in a 107-105 defeat at Smoothie King Center.

John Wall came close to a triple-double for the second game in a row to finish with 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. 

The Wizards (9-12), who led by nine points midway through the fourth, won't have much time to think about this one. They play at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. 

Relatively speaking, the Wizards contained Anthony Davis, who was shot 8-for-15 but only scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. But the Pelicans (6-16) converted a franchise record 16 three-point shots.

Otto Porter had 15 points and seven rebounds, Neal 15, Ramon Sessions 14 and Garrett Temple and Marcin Gortat 10 each.

Tyreke Evans led the Pelicans with a game-high 27 points. Jrue Holiday had 19 points and six assists off the bench.

  • With no Beal for the fourth time this season, the Wizards have started Temple in the last three occasions with good results. Neal started the first time and that didn't go well against Oklahoma City. His scoring was needed for the bench and Temple's defense was more important for a first unit that has been notorious for giving up three-point buckets. The Wizards are 2-1 with Temple starting for Beal.

  • Wall's improved play coincides with him being healthy. He admitted before the game that he had sprained his right ankle in the fourth game of the season, a 102-99 win vs. the San Antonio Spurs. It explains the major dip he had in his play and now he's carrying the Wizards. Wall was averaging 27.6 points in December entering tonight's game and is shooting 55% (73 of 133) after Friday. He shot 10-for-18 in this one. Two of the five turnovers Wall were credited with were not his fault. On one he hit Gortat in the hands and he just lost it. On another, Gortat cut down the lane and was wide open when Wall threw it. Gortat wasn't looking. He had a layup.

  • DeJuan Blair was a better fit in the fourth quarter than Gortat where he scored all of his five points. His bucket off a feed from Wall put the score at 97-90. He also slid in front of Evans to take charge and grabbed two offensive rebounds. It was a lot of work for just eight minutes. 

  • Sessions kept the pressure up in Wall's absence. The fourth quarter began with Sessions, with his attacks on the basket, getting to the foul line four times in the first two minutes. The Wizards were able to build their lead to 86-77. Six of Sessions' points came from the charity stripe.

  • The three-point defense of the Wizards still isn't what it needs to be. Granted, having to collapse on Davis accounts for part of what happened but the Pelicans shot 16 of 27 from three, or 59%, without Ryan Anderson who sat out with a virus. Evans and Holiday combined to start 10 of 13 from deep. 

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Mike Scott

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Mike Scott's season...

Player: Mike Scott

Position: Power forward

Age: 29

2017-18 salary: $1.7 million

2017-18 stats: 76 G, 18.5 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.1 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 40.5 3P%, 65.8 FT%, 59.0 eFG%, 109 ORtg, 111 DRtg

Best game: 12/9 at Clippers - 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 9-for-11 FG, 3-for-4 3PT, 28 minutes

Season review: The 2017-18 Wizards season was full of unpredictability and the most positive surprise had to be the comeback of Mike Scott.

The Wizards signed Scott to a veteran minimum contract last offseason after a workout at Capital One Arena. This came just months after he had felony drug charges dropped in the state of Georgia, he lost 25 pounds and rehabbed a leg injury. That spring he had wondered, and justifiably, if his NBA career was over.

Scott overcame all of those odds to not only return to the NBA, but re-establish himself as a productive player off the bench. No one was more consistent start-to-finish in the Wizards' second unit than Scott was.

Scott earned a significant role in head coach Scott Brooks' rotation out of the preseason and stayed there. He reached double-figures in 31 of his 76 games, second only to Kelly Oubre, Jr. on the Wizards. 

Scott's primary value was on offense. He scored inside and out and got his points with remarkable efficiency. He led the Wizards and was tied for 11th in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage. He was second on Washington in field goal percentage and third in three-point percentage. 

Scott closed the season strong, reaching double-figures in scoring in seven of the last nine regular season games. He carried that over into the playoffs with 46 points through their first three games against the Raptors. 

Now comes the question of how much money Scott earned himself with his comeback year and whether the Wizards can afford keeping him. Since they are in the luxury tax, they will have little money to spend this summer. 

The way to keep Scott would be to use the remainder of their taxpayer mid-level exception, but that figures to be only about $1.9 million, not much more than what Scott made in 2017-18. Given how well he played this season, it would not be surprising if he earns much more than that.

Potential to improve: Free throw shooting, forcing turnovers, ability to guard bigs

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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Markieff Morris is helping his brother gameplan to defend LeBron James

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Markieff Morris is helping his brother gameplan to defend LeBron James

Wizards forward Markieff Morris is all-in on his brother Marcus and the Boston Celtics beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not only is he showing up to games in his twin brother's jersey, he is helping Marcus break down film on LeBron James.

James was held to just 15 points on 31.3 percent shooting with seven turnovers in Game 1 and Marcus got some credit for stopping him. In the two games since, James went off for 42 and 27 points, each time posting 12 assists to complement. Though Cleveland lost Game 2 as well, they punched back with a 30-point win in Game 3.

The Morrises are combining forces to make sure that doesn't happen again, according to Jay King of The Athletic. They stayed up until 2 a.m. on Sunday morning reviewing plays. 

Game 4 between the Cavs and Celtics is on Monday night. If Boston wins, they will take a 3-1 lead in the series, which will be very difficult for the Cavs to overcome. Yes, they mounted the most famous 3-1 comeback in NBA history, but this isn't the same Cavs team that accomplished the feat in 2016.

There is of course some irony in Markieff helping the Celtics, given he was so integral in the rivalry between the Wizards and Boston. But, as he has shown many times over the years, it's family over everything.

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