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Takeaways from Wizards' blown chances in loss to Heat

Takeaways from Wizards' blown chances in loss to Heat

A chance to win consecutive games for the first time, the Wizards allowed one of the league's worst offensive teams, the Miami Heat, light up Verizon Center from long-range on Saturday in a 114-111 loss.

Bradley Beal (34 points, five rebounds, four assists) and John Wall (34 points, eight assists) led them but couldn't find much help elsewhere as the tandem of Goran Dragic (22 points) and Hassan Whiteside (18 points, 18 rebounds). 

The next highest contributor for the Wizards was Marcin Gortat (10 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks) but no one else reached double figures until late in the fourth quarter. 

Miami (4-8) trailed 42-35 midway through the second quarter but went on a run to take the lead 60-59 at halftime. Five of its buckets in that stretch were layups. When the game was blown open in the third quarter it was because of the 13-for-23 shooting that extended the lead to 91-82 entering the fourth. 

-- The Wizards fell into too much dribbling and not enough passing and moving off the ball in the second half. That led to an elite defense such as Miami's loading up to the ball, forcing contested shots and being in position to grab the defensive rebound. Conversely, the Heat didn't wait to shoot. If the open look was there, they took it.

-- Miami was 13-for-27 from three-point range, getting mostly open look as the concern was bumping down on pick-and-rolls to eliminate easy looks for Whiteside at the rim. The Heat entered the game 22nd in the league in three-point accuracy (33.6%) and 28th in scoring (94.5). They had 91 points after three quarters. They finished at 48.1% shooting from three.

-- Markieff Morris (6 points) only played nine minutes after he went down with a right ankle sprain in the second quarter and didn't return. Morris was replaced by Tomas Satornasky (eight points, four assists) initially as they went to a three-guard lineup. When the Wizards started the third quarter, Jason Smith (four points) was with the first unit. 

-- Andrew Nicholson made an early appearance at center and despite size and athletic disadvantage vs. Whiteside. He froze the shot-blocker with a variety of pump and ball fakes. Nicholson was on the court just six minutes but was 2-for-3 (4 points). 

-- Satoransky's defense with the second unit was a bright spot as he was able to make Dragic work for his looks. At 6-7, he can recover to challenge shots. But the Heat were dominant on the boards with a 48-38 edge. Eighteen of those grabs were on the offensive end.

[RELATED: Jennings says Wizards, other teams try harder against Knicks]

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz.

The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because neither Memphis nor Utah has announced the trade.

ESPN.com first reported the deal, which it says also includes Utah's No. 23 pick overall in Thursday night's draft. 

Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA's longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has since confirmed that Memphis will also be receiving a 2020 protected first-round pick, which will either convey as a late-lottery pick in 2020 and 2021 or become a lightly-protected pick from 2022-2024. 

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Isaiah Roby's journey from small town unknown to potential NBA Draft steal

Isaiah Roby's journey from small town unknown to potential NBA Draft steal

Watch I Am the Prospect: Isaiah Roby in full in the video player above. A five-part series, I Am the Prospect follows top basketball prospects in their journey to the 2019 NBA Draft.

One hundred miles west of Chicago sits Dixon, Illinois, a small city of around 15,000 not at all known for producing star basketball players. 

But for Nebraska forward and potential NBA Draft pick Isaiah Roby, it's home. 

"Small town kid, it's something that's always been a part of my identity," Roby told NBC Sports Washington for I Am the Prospect. "I have that underdog mentality and a chip on my shoulder of being from a small town. I have a lot of pride in that."

"I think I'm one of only two or three guys to play Division I basketball out of my town, and that's something I'm really proud of."

Roby's struggle against small town obscurity began at a young age, back when he was playing AAU ball. 

"It took a lot to get to this point for me, especially coming from a small town with not a lot of opportunities so it takes a lot of time and dedication, countless miles," he said. "I would drive 90 minutes roundtrip, or both ways, just for practice, AAU practice."

And in Roby's case, he wasn't the only one making those long trips and dedicating countless hours to furthering his basketball career. Roby credits his mother, Danielle, as a big reason why he's where he is now.

"She sacrificed a lot for me to be in the place I am today and she's my biggest motivator," he said. "She's the reason that I was able to play AAU basketball because those things aren't cheap. You know, traveling, paying for team fees, paying for hotel fees.

"My mom picked up multiple jobs at a time for me to be in those positions and in order for me to be where I am today."

Roby began to gain recognition in Dixon because of his skills on the basketball floor. So much so, his "stardom" affected his job. 

"Growing up, I worked at a restaurant in Dixon, 'world's tallest host' they were saying," Roby recalled. "First I was a host, and as I got better in basketball, people started to recognize me more. They had to move me to the back because it took too long for me to sit people at tables."

However, outside of his hometown, Roby was still relatively unknown. He only received one scholarship offer from a Divison I school, Nebraska, which like Dixon had little basketball history. 

But it was that chance to make some history which sold Roby on becoming a Cornhusker.

"Probably the biggest reason I ended up at Nebraska is because of the coaching staff and the facilities they have there," he said. "Coaches sold me on being a part of something new, trying to start something new at a university. Nebraska is not known for basketball, but they kind of sold me on being a special time in Nebraska basketball history, so that was something that I definitely wanted to be a part of."

During his sophomore and junior seasons in Lincoln, Roby helped the Cornhuskers earn back-to-back berths in the NIT, Nebraska's first postseason appearances since making the NCAA Tournament in 2014. 

In fact, Roby led Nebraska to its first postseason win since 2008, scoring a career-high 28 points in the Cornhuskers' 80-76 victory over Butler in the 2019 NIT first round. 

Now, he has his sights set on the NBA. Roby projects as a low first-round or second-round pick, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig ranking Roby No. 41 on his latest 2019 NBA Draft Big Board.

And after beating the odds to play for a Division I program, Roby believes he can do the same at the next level. 

"In every gym I go into I feel like I'm the best player, so I'm just trying to prove that to all these NBA teams," Roby said. "And at the end of the day, if I get a chance, I'm the type of player that's gonna work hard."

"I know I need to work on parts of my game and develop further, but I think down the line I'm going to be a starter in this league and a player that sticks around for multiple years."

Roby has aspirations to do good work off the court as well, remembering how others helped him and his family in times of need. 

"I grew up in a Habitat for Humanity home. My family did things like shop with a cop on Christmas. The local police department would come and give my family a turkey for Thanksgiving." 

"I've had all these opportunities for people to help me and my family out, so that's something I definitely want to be involved [with] in the NBA," he said. "Being a positive role model for kids in the community, these are all things I'm looking forward to doing for an NBA team."

And as potentially the first native of Dixon to make the NBA, Roby's journey can provide inspiration to anyone with dreams that may seem impossible. 

"I'm living proof that it's possible to come out of anywhere no matter what the situation," Roby said. "If you really, truly care about it enough, anything is possible."

I AM THE PROSPECT