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Takeaways from Wizards' 21-point come back over Blazers in OT

Takeaways from Wizards' 21-point come back over Blazers in OT

The offensive hot streak continued, and the absentee defense that plagued the Wizards for this road trip evaporated in second half as they erased a 21-point deficit to pull out a 125-124 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday at Moda Center.

It was their second win in a row in the extra session after beating the Sacramento Kings 130-122 on Friday.

The Wizards (41-24) got it together late and used a 22-6 run to cut a 70-49 halftime deficit to single digits, took the lead after John Wall buried a couple of three-pointers and then Bradley Beal made a three. They won both games of a back-to-back for the fifth time in a row and are 4-0 on this West trip with their final game Monday at the Minnesota Timberwolves.

They've almost matched their win total from a year ago when they went 41-41 and are now 15-15 on the road. 

Wall (39 points, nine assists) led Washington while Beal (26 points, six assists), Marcin Gortat (15 points, 15 rebounds), Otto Porter (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Markieff Morris (13 points, 11 rebounds) rounded out the starters.

The Blazers rode the hot hand of C.J. McCollum (team-high 34 points) and Damian Lillard (33 points, seven assists). Mo Harkless (15 points) and Allen Crabbe (14 points, six rebounds).

The Wizards cut the deficit to 98-97 but went cold. Morris short an airball on a post up of Al-Farouq Aminu (11 points) and then turned it over on another post up. But the biggest play came when Beal jumped a handoff from Jusuf Nurkic to McCollum and had a layup.

He missed and it led to a three-pointer for Lillard for a 106-97 lead. That’s when Wall and Beal took over and led 112-106.

Portland, however, tied the score at 112 with a pair of foul shots from Nurkic that followed a four-point play. Morris was called for a defensive three seconds which led to a technical foul shot and Aminu made a three-pointer to set up the finish in regulation.

Both teams traded shots in overtime. Lillard scored nine of Portland's 12 points, but with 16 seconds remaining and the Blazers up 124-123, Wall blocked Lillard's shot. Brooks called timeout after his team looked confused with six seconds left.

After Porter inbounded the ball to Beal off a curl around staggered screens, he drove into the lane, drew three defenders and found an open Morris in the corner. Morris pump-faked, put the ball on the floor and knocked down a mid-range jumper that proved the game-winner. Portland protested that Morris stepped out of bounds before the shot, which postgame replay confirmed, but referees ruled it was not reviewable. 

– The more aggressive team on the defensive end made the runs. The Blazers, who really aren’t that good on defense, had been allowing 112.7 points per game since the All-Star break. They were physical in the first half when they gained their lead, but when the Wizards made their second-half run they flipped the script. The multiple efforts by Wall and Beal sparked a unit that had more active hands and did a better job contesting shots and blowing up dribble handoffs. 

– The coverage on flare screens was inadequate in the first half. The Wizards got out to an 11-4 lead but seemed unprepared or unaware of how the Blazers prefer to use their shooters. McCollum would come from the corner on the strong side of the floor, loop to the weakside and get a flare screen from a post player. His three-point looks were mostly clean as the trailer was a step late and help from the big stepping over wasn’t there. It’s how McCollum scored 25 of his points in the first half on 9 of 12 shooting, including 4 of 5 from three.

– Coach Scott Brooks said he doesn’t believe in taking games off or holding out players for no reason. “I don’t. Not at all,” Brooks said about having his stars take games off. “We all have 82 games to play and coach and you have to do your best each game. You can’t give into the schedule. You can’t give into the back-to-backs, four in five nights in four different cities. … My job is to adjust the minutes and make sure everybody is as fresh as they can.” Wall played 40 minutes but Beal, who played 42 vs. Sacramento, was kept to 33.

– McCollum only had 12 points in the first meeting, a 120-101 loss to the Wizards in January. But McCollum was held to 0-for-3 shooting in the fourth quarter and Lillard 3-for-8 when the Wizards made their run. Overall, the Blazers shot 7-for-21 while the Wizards were 11-for-22.

– Wall was forced to score more as the Blazers committed to taking Beal away and Porter couldn’t knock down open looks from the short cornter. He shot 23 times, making 13 of them, but it took him away from his primary role as a facilitator. It's why despite Wall's activity he only had two assists in the first half when they trailed. When the Wizards got back into the game, they found space for Beal and he alternated with Wall to keep the Blazers off-balance.

– Brandon Jennings (1-for-4 shooting) still hasn’t found his footing offensively. With a chance to knock down an open three as he went uncovered, he shot an airball with 30.8 seconds left. Lillard took it the other way for a layup and a 93-82 lead. Then early in the fourth, the Blazers allowed Jennings into the paint without a contest and he short-armed a floater. Even though the bench has been upgraded, it only contributed 14 points. Bojan Bogdanovic (11 points) made 2 of 4 threes, both of his makes coming in the fourth during the comeback.

MORE WIZARDS: ​Morris steal sets up Wall left-hand jam

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Wizards' Bryant, McRae hope to make most of second chance in G-League

Capital City Go-Go

Wizards' Bryant, McRae hope to make most of second chance in G-League

The NBA's G-League for many represents a second chance and that is the case for two Wizards players entering the 2018-19 season, the first for the Capital City Go-Go.

Center Thomas Bryant is on the Wizards' roster, but will likely spend much of his time with the Go-Go. Guard Jordan McRae is on a two-way contract and will also be there plenty. The two were in Congress Heights on Saturday representing the Wizards' G-League affiliate as their new arena was introduced to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Bryant, 21, joined the Wizards organization back in July on the second day of free agency. He had been cut by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Wizards claimed him, adding another young prospect to their roster.

"If you get waived by a team, you don't feel too good about it. But when the Wizards picked me up right after, I felt great about it," Bryant said.

The 6-foot-10 big man was a second round pick last summer. He played in 15 games with the Lakers at the NBA level and 37 games with their G-League affiliate.

Bryant was one of the standouts for the Wizards' Summer League team in Las Vegas. In the time since, he has been working out with Rico Hines in L.A.

Bryant said he hopes his improving outside shot and physical conditioning can help him succeed with the Wizards this season.

McRae, 27, is just eight months removed from having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He also spent all of last season away from the NBA, either playing overseas or working his way back from injury.

He sees the Wizards as an opportunity to revive his career.

"After taking a year off, the Wizards are believing in me and trusting me to be the player that I was or be better. I'm just looking forward to it and I'm honored to be here," he said.

McRae has been training in Atlanta at P3 Peak Performance Project. They oversaw his rehab from surgery and have helped him get ready for this season.

Like Bryant, McRae has been in Washington getting to know his knew teammates in recent days. McRae, though, has a history with some of them having played against Bradley Beal going back to college and having played with Markieff Morris with the Suns. He has also worked out with Otto Porter, Jr. during the offseason.

McRae sees the Wizards as a decent chance to earn playing time, or at least better than his previous stop. He played the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with the Cavaliers and won a championship ring in 2016.

McRae earned some hardware and got to see LeBron James, Kyrie Iriving and Kevin Love make history, but he was in a reduced role.

"I'm just looking forward to a consistent opportunity. Being in Cleveland for two years was tough. Now I feel like here will be more of an opportunity and I want to make the best of it," he said.


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Former Wizards PG Tim Frazier joins Bucks training camp roster

USA Todeay

Former Wizards PG Tim Frazier joins Bucks training camp roster

Former Wizards point guard Tim Frazier has joined the Milwaukee Bucks' 20-man roster for training camp.

Frazier, who spent last season in Washington, might actually have a shot at making the full 15-man roster behind Milwaukee's two true point guards, Eric Bledsoe and Matthew Dellavedova.

With Washington, he appeared in 59 games - 11 starts - and averaged 3.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game. 

Frazier played at Penn State, and over the course of his NBA career, has averaged of 5.2 points, 4.0 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 186 career games, per a team relase.

At 6-foot-1, Frazier is joining his fifth team in five seasons.

The Bucks will hold their first day of training camp Tuesday, and their first preseason game is scheduled for Oct. 3 against the Chicago Bulls.

The Wizards host the Bucks on February 2, and then travel to Milwaukee four days later.