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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout loss to Bucks

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout loss to Bucks

The second three-game road trip of the Wizards’ season came to the same conclusion as the first time at 1-2. They were obliterated by the Milwaukee Bucks, 123-96, on Friday.

It was the most lopsided loss of the season for Washington (13-16) who were flat defensively from the opening tip which led to career-high scoring for Giannis Antetokounmpo (39 points, eight rebounds and six assists), rookie Malcolm Brogdon (17 points, seven assists), Jabari Parker (21 points, eight rebounds),

Milwaukee (14-14) tied the season series at 1-1 with a rematch set for Monday at the Verizon Center. The Wizards opened the trip with a two-point loss to the Indiana Pacers, came back from double digits to beat the Chicago Bulls and then produced this result. In their only other road trip of three games, they lost games at the end to the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs before salvaging it with a win at the Brooklyn Nets.

The Wizards got off to a good start offensively. Otto Porter (18 points) returned from missing the second half of Wednesday’s win at the Chicago Bulls with back spasms to make his first four three-point shots. John Wall (18 points, 10 assists) did most of his damage in the first half and Markieff Morris (14 points) followed.

--The Wizards got their scoring done. They had 29 points in each of the first two quarters, shooting 51.2% (22 of 43). Milwaukee had 36 and 37 points and shot 66.7% by halftime (26 of 42).

--The pick-and-roll coverage, without Kelly Oubre on the floor, and switches on defense created a lot of busted coverages. Porter and Bradley Beal routinely confused the coverage which led to either uncontested layups and dunks or open three-point shots. They opened the third quarter with a botched exchange that allowed Tony Snell (11 points) and layup.

--It wasn't just screens by Parker that the Wizards had difficulty getting over. Matthew Dellavedova set screens that they couldn’t be covered properly. Their perimeter defense was absent. The help rotations from Morris and Marcin Gortat (eight points, six rebounds) weren’t there, either. Brogdon was 7-for-7. This is why Milwaukee had 66 points in the paint, 20 more than Washington.

--The eight game streak of consecutive games with 20 points or more ended for Beal (10 points). He only got up 10 shots in 31 minutes but dished out six assists.

--The energy and legs that the Wizards had in Chicago evaporated. They were beaten in fast-break points 27-8 despite only being minus-3 in turnovers. They had 15.

--The Wizards shot 0-for-8 in the third quarter from three-point range. Any chance they had of making a comeback from a 73-58 halftime deficit were nil after that. They brought the Bucks’ shooting accuracy down to 43.5% (10 of 23) but still were outscored 27-20.

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' loss to Bucks]

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Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Natasha Cloud is tired of the Bradley Beal trade rumors

Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has had it up to here with trade rumors about Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Beal has been a strong vocal supporter of the Mystics and the WNBA, in general. He works closely with Kristi Toliver, who, in her offseason, works as an assistant coach for the Wizards. His closeness with the Mystics has now manifested itself in Cloud voicing her opposition to Beal being traded on Twitter.

Beal is no stranger to trade rumors. Entering his eighth season, Beal has been connected to the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, among others. Given that his name is frequently tossed around in trade talks, it should come as no surprise that the Clippers made a run at him to pair with Kawhi Leonard.

Despite the frequent and recurring rumors, Beal hasn't been traded, and very likely won't be traded. He's a star and a legitimate piece around which to build a franchise. At the summer league in Las Vegas, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes sat with Shaquille O'Neal to discuss what the Wizards should do in free agency. Shaq said that between Beal and John Wall, the Wizards are just a piece or two from breaking through.

I definitely think [the Wizards] should keep him. He's a great shooter, but if he’s a great shooter looking to go somewhere, L.A. has $32 million [in cap space]. ... He's definitely the cornerstone of this franchise. He and John Wall have always, almost always, been there. They just need another one or two guys.

It's still unlikely that Beal is playing in anything other than a Wizards uniform on opening night, but if he is, expect to hear from Cloud about it. 


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Drew Gooden, Justin Kutcher to highlight NBC Sports Washington Wizards broadcast team

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Drew Gooden, Justin Kutcher to highlight NBC Sports Washington Wizards broadcast team

Drew Gooden was nearing the end of his second 10-day contract with the Wizards in the 2014 season when he went off for 21 points against Brooklyn. 

It was a game that changed his career, led to being signed to the team for the remainder of that season and ending his career as a Washington Wizard two years later. “My career was totally reborn as a veteran leader on the Washington Wizards,” he said. “And that’s something I never would have thought would come full circle.”

And now? Gooden will serve as the game analyst on NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards broadcast this season. NBC Sports Washington announced on Wednesday he will join new play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher as part of the Wizards' game broadcast team. Chris Miller will return in his role as sideline reporter.

“It’s a dream and I never thought in a million years I would have retired a Wizard and that out of all my teams that I played for, that Wizards would be the favorite organization that I played for, never thought I would be a color analyst for NBC Sports Washington,” Gooden said. “All of this is a dream.”

And while Kutcher may not have the same playing resume that Gooden does, he promises to bring the same passion Gooden does to broadcasts.

During the early days of his career, Kutcher wasn’t just the voice of (and practice player for) the Boston University women’s basketball team. He was such a passionate fan that he was the one making the most noise on the team bus after a big win or a big loss. Now, after decades in the business, he’s not sure he’ll go to that extreme – but Wizards fans can expect him to be “a fan who’s calling the game,” he said. “I say that about myself all of the time. I think of myself as just this incredibly lucky person that gets to call a sport that I love. When I have a reaction, it’s a genuine reaction. So, I’ll keep everything professional, but I’ll get excited.”

Kutcher has 17 years of experience as a play-by-play announcer, having spent the last seven years at Fox Sports where he led national coverage of NCAA basketball and football, the NFL and MLB. Prior to FOX Sports, Kutcher served as a play-by-play announcer for ESPN for four years. During that time, he led live coverage for a variety of sports, including basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball and hockey, across professional, college and high school leagues and conferences. He also appeared on studio shows during his tenure with ESPN. In addition to FOX Sports and ESPN, he has also called collegiate events for CSTV, now CBS Sports Network, for two years, as well as BTN, and contributed to MLB.com digital programming.

“I have known Justin since he was a runner for us at FOX Sports,” said Joe Buck. “He’s gone from working hard behind the scenes to one of the best, young voices in sports. Wizards fans are getting a great broadcaster and a better person .”

Here’s five more fun facts about Kutcher and Gooden.

1.    Kutcher’s worked the past five Westminster Dog Shows. “I get more ticket requests for that than any other event I go to,” he said. But, at first he wasn’t sure he was going to stick with it. The first year, he said, was a little tough. “I called my dad after it airs and he said that it was my mom’s favorite thing that I’ve done.” But, he stuck with it. And now? “I love it,” he said. 
2.    His favorite thing in DC is … the breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin. “They have a breakfast burrito that I get, I eat two of them at a time and people can’t believe it,” he said. Oh, and also his family. His family in the area includes a 3-year-old nephew, who when asked for real estate recommendations in the area, declared “you can live at our house!”
3.    Meanwhile, you can find Gooden at his favorite crab shack. “Quarterdeck in Arlington is my favorite, favorite restaurant,” he said. In the two years he’s known about the crab spot, he’s eaten there, he estimates, “800” times. 
4.    Good news for Wizards fans: He thinks the Wizards will be a team everyone sleeps on – and that’s great for them. “They’re going to have the opportunity to surprise a lot of people early,” he predicted. 
5.    Kutcher expects Rui Hachimura to … “be one of the steals of the draft.” Kutcher covered the new Wizard as a play-by-play announcer during Hachimura’s college career. “I would not be surprised if you see Rui average 15-18 points per game and close to 8 rebounds per game. I think he’s that type of player, he’s a really good kid, when I saw the Wizards drafted him I said that’s a great, great pick,” he said.