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Takeaways from Wizards' big road win over Knicks

Takeaways from Wizards' big road win over Knicks

The closing out of the New York Knicks left a lot to be desired for the Wizards, who didn’t get the best performance from Bradley Beal and lost a double-digit lead, but John Wall scored the last four points and made a strip on the final play as they won back-to-back games for the first time 113-110 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

John Wall (25 points, 13 assists, five rebounds) posted his 25th double-double and Otto Porter (23 points, six rebounds) tied his career-high with six three-pointers to lead them to their season-high fourth win in a row and and just their fifth road victory. Markieff Morris (14 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds) also had strong games.

Carmelo Anthony led all scorers (34 points, 10 rebounds) and the Knicks had Derrick Rose (20 points), Kristaps Porzingis (15 points) and Justin Holiday (11 points) also in double figures.  

The Wizards (23-19) led 100-86 entering the fourth quarter. Brandon Jennings (three points) made his only shot from deep to cut the deficit to 107-104, but Wall responded with a strong drive for a layup to end a five-minute field-goal drought by Washington.

Rose missed on a difficult drive at the rim put collected the loose ball for a putback to give New York (19-25) a 110-109 lead.

But Wall took over. He was fouled on a drive by Anthony and made both free throws. Then when Anthony tried to give his team the lead back, Wall took the missed jumper immediately downcourt for a breakaway dunk for the final margin.

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The Wizards held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-101 on Wednesday in similar fashion, almost squandering a double-digit led and surviving a game-tying shot. The Knicks never got off one as Jennings lost the handle and Wall passed the ball ahead for Bradley Beal to run out the clock.

In games decided by six points or less, the Wizards are 12-4.

--After setting a career-high with six made three-pointers Wednesday, Porter had six more as he had plenty of uncontested looks again.

--New York played better when Rose wasn’t on the floor with Anthony as the stretch option at the four spot and Porzingis at the five. Anthony went on his 25-point explosion in the second quarter with mostly the second unit. When coach Jeff Hornacek went back to it late in the third with the deficit growing, Rose was at the point guard and took the shots without success. Most were quick, low-percentage and were welcomed by Washington, which in the past has schemed to let Rose take plenty of shots.

-- For the second game in a row, Beal was cold. Unlike what he faced vs. Memphis, which is an elite defensive team, the Knicks aren't very good. Still, Beal missed 9 of 13 shots and didn’t look as crisp with his legs or decision-making. He shot 4-for-14 previously Wednesday. Beal also failed to make a three as he misfired on all seven.

--Jason Smith (11 points) and Kelly Oubre (10 points) gave the Wizards the punch off the bench that they’ve lacked on the road to compensate for Beal. They also combined for seven rebounds.

--Tomas Satornasky played 14 minutes and his only make in two attempts was a three-pointer. He had two steals in solid two-way play to further solidify his spot in the rotation. Trey Burke (three points) only played six minutes but made a three as well. Sheldon McClellan, Marcus Thornton and Andrew Nicholson didn’t play. 

--To combat New York's smaller lineups, Wizards coach Scott Brooks went smaller too whhich is why Gortat only logged 29 minutes. Gortat only played three minutes in the fourth quarter but produced nonetheless. 

[RELATED: Wall and Beal not named All-Star starters]

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Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

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Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 115-104 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

Step back: The Wizards just can't crack the code of consistency or the pesky Brooklyn Nets.

After winning three straight and looking like they had made some corrections, the Wizards stumbled out of the locker room at halftime and couldn't match Brooklyn's energy. The Nets pulled away to lead by as many as 19 and handed the Wizards yet another blowout loss in a season of which are quickly piling up.

The Nets have the formula to give the Wizards fits. They are scrappy and play defense. They are cohesive and well-coached. The Wizards are susceptible against try-hards who play with a chip on their shoulder. They too often let others set the tone and that's just what the Nets did in this one. 

The Wizards are now 5-10 on the season. That matches their 15-game start from two years ago, when they rallied to win 49 games, but that only means so much, of course.

Threes were off: While their attempts are up, the Wizards have been shooting uncharacteristically bad from three this season. They entered the game 27th in the NBA, shooting just 32.8 percent.

In this game, they didn't just struggle to make threes, they had trouble shooting them at all. Brooklyn sold out to take away the perimeter and was successful doing it. 

The Wizards went 3-for-17 from three and shot just 17.6 percent. They were 2-for-13 entering the fourth quarter.

Surely, head coach Scott Brooks won't be happy about that. Three-point shooting continues to be a major point of emphasis for him.

Howard was dominant early: Perhaps we should have expected this from Dwight Howard. After all, it was the Nets, the team Howard was bought out by over the summer, right before he signed with the Wizards. 

Was three days with a franchise enough for a revenge game? Sure, we'll go with it.

Or, perhaps he's just a bad matchup for Brooklyn because they were the team he smacked around for 32 points and 30 rebounds against last season.

He didn't quite go 30-30, but Howard was unstoppable in the first half. He ate Jarrett Allen, who is a very talented young player, for lunch. Allen and the rest of the Nets' frontline were no match for Howard's strength.

Howard popped off for six of the Wizards' first eight points. By halftime, he had 17 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block.

This game was a reminder of the fact he can do things his predecessor, Marcin Gortat, cannot. Howard, really, can produce in a way no Wizards' fourth option has been able to in years.

Markieff Morris has often served as the fourth scoring option behind John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. But Morris doesn't often go off for nearly a double-double in a half. 

But, the second half:  What was strange about Howard, though, is that he barely played in the second half until the game was out of hand. Howard picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, but that didn't explain it all.

Howard played only five minutes from the start of the second half until there were less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. During that stretch, Allen found success against the Wizards' small-ball lineups and helped the Nets pull away.

By the time Howard returned, the Wizards were down 19 points. Brooks had something that was working really well and, in part because of the fouls, he went away from it a little too long. It proved costly.

Morris struggled: As good as Howard was, Morris had one of his worst games of the season. The Wizards power forward had one of those nights we see far too often where he wasn't active enough on defense or on the boards. He couldn't get anything going offensively, either.

Morris, who ended the game with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, had zero points and zero rebounds in nine minutes in the first quarter. 

While the Nets' big men were overmatched by Howard's strength, Morris couldn't keep up with their quickness. He was a step behind and had trouble matching their bounce around the rim.

Morris predictably didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. That's the way it goes with Brooks now.



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2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

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2018-19 NBA power rankings: Wizards rising, are Warriors falling?

The start to the 2018-19 NBA season did not go smoothly for a handful of teams. The Wizards started 2-9, but have since won three straight. The Lakers, with LeBron James leading the way, started 2-5 but have won six of their last seven games.

Even the Rockets, considered one of the top contenders for the 2018-19 NBA championship, started slow, losing five of their first six games. But since the calendar switched from October to November, the Rockets turned things around, having won six of eight.

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings

What about the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry and company lost just once in their first 11 games, but have dropped three of their last five games amid turmoil between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The Warriors are still clearly the favorites to win the NBA title again, but are they still perched atop our power rankings?

Here is a look at all 30 teams...

Click here to view the latest 2018-19 NBA Power Rankings