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Takeaways from Wizards' 5th loss in 6 games vs. Rockets

Takeaways from Wizards' 5th loss in 6 games vs. Rockets

As has been the cast most of the time for the Wizards this season, a double-digit lead evaporated quickly in a disastrous second quarter as they lost for the fifth time in six games at Verizon Center on Monday.

John Wall, who returned to action after being held out of Saturday’s game because it was a back-to-back and he is rounding into form off knee surgeries,

But while the Wizards paid special attention to James Harden (32 points) to keep him from scoring 42 as he did in their last meeting last season, his supporting cast had high-percentage looks. Ryan Anderson (23 points), Clint Capela (14 points) and Trevor Ariza (15 points) combined to shoot 14-for-23 in the first half alone.

Otto Porter (20 points, eight rebounds) contributed heavily along with Bradley Beal (20 points) and Marcin Gortat (14 points, 12 rebounds), but in the end they couldn't get enugh stops. 

Wall had two turnovers -- the second one coming after a timeout -- as the Rockets started to pull away with a 10-0 run. The Wizards still had a chance when they made it a two-possession game with 33.6 seconds.

  • Wall took up the challenge to defend Harden and did well considering he is probably the NBA's best scorer. Wall picked up the second technical foul of the season after being upset over a no-call on a drive and missed layup. He got another one late in the fourth and was ejected wth 33.6 seconds left. It'll cost him $2,000 per technical.
     
  • Until Markieff Morris’ three-pointer with 6:50 left in the third quarter, he’d missed 17 shots in a row going back to the previous game with the Orlando Magic. He had a major skill advantage on Anderson but didn't have the success he'd had in earlier games vs. Paul Millsap and Serge Ibaka. 
     
  • Kelly Oubre (10 points) had his best offensive game of the season after not getting off the bench two games ago. He was 2-for-3 on three-point shots that bailed out the offense low in the shot clock. Catch-and-shoot threes are what he’s best at in his development.
     
  • The second unit that started the fourth quarter was the best of the season to get the Wizards back into the game: Tomas Satoransky (two points), Marcus Thornton (eight points), Oubre, Porter and Jason Smith (four points). When Wall and Beal returned with 7:37 left in the fourth, they were handed a rare 93-91 lead. Trey Burke played six minutes early but never left the bench again.

 

  • Oubre was out of the rotation two games ago and is back in. This time it was Andrew Nicholson who didn't play off the bench for the first time.
     
  • Anderson, who was a primary free agent target during the offseason, was bypassed after the Rockets offered him $20 million and the Wizards went with Ian Mahinmi instead. Mahinmi has yet to play because of knee surgery.

 

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Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Not only are the Washington Wizards dominating the NBA 2K simulation, but they are also doing it against some tough competition. 

With a 70-61 win over the Toronto Raptors, Washington has now won seven of nine simulations. Other victories have come against the likes of the Bucks, Lakers and 76ers. In the 2K world, the Wizards are consistently beating the best.

In the latest win, the formula remained the same as past simulations. Behind another big night from Rui Hachimura (21 points) and some added scoring from Bradley Beal (12 points), the Wizards offense was able to put up enough to get past Toronto. Timely runs in the second half and some stingy defense left the Raptors with no chance to mount a comeback as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Here are some key takeaways from the Wizards win.

Rui keeps on rolling 

There has been no stopping the Wizards rookie in 2K as of late. With 21 points, he now has back-to-back 20-point performances. The first-round pick of Washington in 2019 has been doing it on both ends of the floor, sparking big plays with blocks and finishing at the rim.

Hachimura also stepped behind the line and showed some range on Tuesday, hitting a smooth-looking three-pointer.

It's been a great 2K run for Hachimura overall as of late, as he also took down Donovan Mitchell in the first round of the 2K Player Tournament.

Strong finish

Though the Wizards played well throughout, it was a dominant stretch toward the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that sealed the win.

A 16-6 run to close the third coupled with a 16-3 run early in the fourth gave Washington a comfortable lead. After taking a 42-41 lead in the third, the Raptors would never lead again.


Dominant inside, efficient outside

Similar to other simulations, the Wizards once again did a lot of their scoring inside the paint. Washington outscored the Raptors 46-32 in the paint, finishing at the rim in multiple ways consistently. 

Thomas Bryant was once again a beast down low, throwing down dunks and recording a team-high 16 rebounds in addition to 10 points to complete a double-double.

Though the real NBA has become a three-point heavy game, it hasn't quite translated to 2K. The Wizards only attempted eight shots from behind the arc on the night, a number that could sometimes come from just a few possessions in a real game. Even more peculiar, Davis Bertans didn't register a single three-point attempt. 

Yet, the Wizards made the most of the attempts, going 4-from-8 from three. Of course, Bradley Beal was in the mix.

Run for the (simulation) playoffs?

In the 2K universe, the Wizards entered Tuesday just two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth spot in the East. With a win, the virtual team may have inched even closer to the playoffs. 

Simulation-wise, Washington could not have asked for a better stretch of play.

The 2K Wizards will be back in action Friday at 7 p.m. ET against the Rockets. 

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Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

By the time Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA subsequently suspended the 2019-20 season, a number of teams who'd played Utah leading up to the suspension had to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

One of them was the Washington Wizards.

They suffered a 10-point loss to the Jazz 12 days before Gobert tested positive, so they urged their players to self-quarantine for several days. Fortunately for the Wizards, no player ended up tested positive for the virus.

Washington's second-year wing joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast and gave a window into what his reaction was to the fact he had played the Jazz leading up to Gobert's positive test. 

"I wasn't touching [Gobert]," Brown said with a laugh. "I didn't go in for no layups or anything like that. But all jokes aside though, it was one of those things that was scary because I didn't know really what to expect coming out of it."

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Heading into the league's suspension, Brown was enjoying a strong season where he showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year. He was averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on much better shooting splits (45.3% FG, 34.5% 3P in 19-20 vs. 41.5% FG, 31.9% 3P in 18-19). 

Brown seemed to have much more success coming off the bench with a unit in which he had more ball-handling opportunities. We'll see if he can continue to grow when basketball returns, though the 20-year-old is forced to focus on the challenges that come with isolation. 

"It definitely is a lot easier being with my family and being in my own space and being able to make decisions for myself," Brown said. "Being in D.C. was kind of hard because I didn't have anybody else there besides my dog, living by myself in quarantine. I feel like it's those people that are struggling with the quarantine stuff being isolated by themselves because you don't really know what to do."

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