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Takeaways from Wizards' big win over the Clippers

Takeaways from Wizards' big win over the Clippers

Every time out, it seems the Wizards are logging their best win of the season. Sunday, it was 117-110 vs. the L.A. Clippers in front of 17,380 at Verizon Center.

The Wizards, thin behind Marcin Gortat in the post and missing two backups to injury as well as their best wing defender in Kelly Oubre (concussion), battled back from a seven-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to secure their first three-game winning streak.

They’ve beaten the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons in the last week.

Bradley Beal (41 points) led the way and John Wall focused on defense setting the table (18 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds). Markieff Morris (23 points, 9 rebounds) had his best game of the season and Gortat (9 points, 7 rebounds) was crucial for what took place defensively in a difficult matchup with an elite pick-and-roll team.

Blake Griffin (26 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds) led the Clippers followed by J.J. Redick (17 points), Mo Speights (14 points), Austin Rivers (13 points) and Chris Paul (13 points, 12 assists).

--Gortat tied the score at 95 with a jumper and Wall and Beal returned with 7:16 left in the game. But after Rivers’ three the deficit grew to 102-95 almost put the game away.

-- The Clippers gambled off Morris, figuring they could get away with Rivers defending him at times in the post, and he made them pay. Conversely, the Wizards gambled off Griffin and gave him mid-range looks that he cashed in. Morris nailed an open jumper at 1:41 to give the Wizards a 112-108 lead.

-- Beal had his fifth game of 30 points or more this year. In his previous four seasons, he had a total of four.

--Wall’s ball pressure did the job on Paul and Jamal Crawford. And he had reliable help from his bigs, Morris and Gortat, as did Beal on pick-and-rolls.

--The Clippers went on a 10-2 run coming out of halftime and appeared on the verge of blowing it open. Beal, however, wouldn’t let them as he responded to every basket with one of his own. Beal had 18 points in the third when the Wizards were able to tie it briefly before trailing 87-85 going into the fourth.

-- Morris picked up his fourth foul at 8:49 of the third quarter defending Griffin. He had two questionable whistles go against him in the first half and opted to not respond to get a technical. Brooks stuck with Morris who was part of the run to get the deficit down to 73-71 midway through the third.

-- Andrew Nicholson played seven minutes in the first half and had his only field goal with an and-1 move to draw contact on Jordan, but he wasn’t able to keep up with the pace or quickness. He was too small for the likes of Speights and Jordan and not quick enough for Griffin.

--Daniel Ochefu played his first real minutes of the season, entering at 3:15 of the first quarter when Gortat picked up his second foul. With so few bigs available because Jason Smith (right hamstring) and Ian Mahinmi (right knee) were out. It forced him into action but he played sparingly.

--Wall’s layup with 1:18 left in the third, a reverse that cut the deficit to 83-82, was followed by his technical foul of the season as he appeared to say something to Paul. Paul lobbied for a whistle and got one from official Mike Callahan.

[RELATED: Wizards lose Kelly Oubre for game vs. Clippers because of concussion]

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Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Just a few weeks ago, the Masai Ujiri-to-D.C. movement was gaining steam quickly. Just moments after Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors began celebrating their NBA Championship, reports began to swirl that the Wizards were prepared to aggressively pursue the GM.

Sources told NBC Sports Washington that there could be the possibility of a sort of mega-deal that went beyond just giving him control of the Wizards. But Wizards owner Ted  Leonsis denied earlier this month that the team had reached out, saying that "we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process."

And on Tuesday, Uriji seemed to make it official that he will stay in Toronto.

"I love it here, my family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadians. You want to win more, for me," Ujiri said on Tuesday during his end-of-season press conference.

"Yeah, I can continue to address teams wanting me and all those things. That's a blessing in life," Ujiri said. "For me the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy, and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person."

"I identify with this place and I love it. So in my mind, I'm here."

On paper, Ujiri and the Wizards looked to be a good match. Washington could offer him money and control, while also allowing him to work with his "Basketball without Borders" program in D.C.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained recently, the Raptors late-season championship run could have messed up the timing and situation that could have lured Ujiri to a new team.

The Wizards made it through the NBA Draft without a new GM, but as July and free agency approach, the search may continue to ramp up.

The answer is still out there, it just may not be Masai Ujiri anymore.


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Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

Bradley Beal on Wizards draftee Rui Hachimura: 'He's a monster'

The Wizards added two pieces during the 2019 NBA Draft that franchise expects to be vital pieces of their future in Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura at No. 9 and Tennessee's Admiral Schofield at No. 42

Before Monday night's 2018-19 NBA Awards ceremony, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller caught up with the two faces of the franchise, Bradley Beal and John Wall, to see what they thought of the new additions to the squad.

Beal had high praise for Hachimura.

"I didn't know much," Beal said on what he knew about the Gonzaga product prior to the draft. "But from what I've seen watching the draft and things I've seen pre-draft and things like that, he's a monster."

The praise did not stop there. 

"He plays hard, extremely hard," Beal said. "Hopefully, he can have an impact right away." 

While an immediate impact would be beneficial for a Wizards team that could use Hachimura's scoring (he averaged 19.7 points per game at Gonzaga), Beal understands that Hachimura is still a very raw player. After all, he's only been playing basketball for eight years.

"But at the same time, we want him to grow," Beal said on Hachimura. "We know he hasn't been playing too long. But that's something we can build off of and mold him into the player we need him to be. He has tremendous upside, and I'm excited to get going. Hopefully, come September, October he's ready to go."

While Beal may not have known too much about Hachimura, he had followed the other Wizards draft pick, Admiral Schofield, for quite some time. 

"I love his game; I loved him in college," Beal said on Schofield. 

Beal joked about Schofield's body type, wondering whether basketball is the sport the Wizards second-round pick should be playing.

"He's got a football body. He's built like a tight end, wide receiver," Beal said. "I'm definitely happy that we have him, a fellow SEC guy. Him and [Jordan] McRae are going to hit it off. He can shoot, he's athletic, so I'm definitely excited to have him as well."

While Wall did not go into as much detail as Beal about the Wizards draft class, he was just as excited about the two new additions.

"I think it's good," Wall said. "We added some pieces [in the draft], [we'll] see what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

According to head coach Scott Brooks, both Beal and Wall can identify talent very well

"The thing I love about John and Brad: they love the game," Brooks said last week. "You can call them up, there could be high school players, WNBA players, it could be college players, it could be European players, they know them."

"It's like, 'don't you guys have a life?'" Brooks joked.

Wall spent most of his time with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller discussing his Achilles rehab, where he revealed he is going to begin jogging soon. That's a good sign for the Wizards, even though Wall s expected to miss the majority of the 2019-2020 season.

In Hachimura and Schofield, the Wizards got two pieces that are not expected to contribute right away, but also potentially have the ability to do so. Earning high praise from the two most important players on the Wizards' roster is a good start for both of the Wizards 2019 NBA Draft selections.