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Takeaways from Wizards' comeback win over Orlando Magic

Takeaways from Wizards' comeback win over Orlando Magic

The matchup with the Orlando Magic is a surprising trouble spot for the Wizards, especially after they’d beaten them 12 consecutive times coming into this season.

Sunday, they almost lost for the third time in four meetings but pulled out a 115-114 victory on 7-for-10 shooting from three-point range in the final 12 minutes to end the season series 2-2.

John Wall (19 points, 10 assists) had a career-high 52 points in the last meeting in a loss, which marked a turnaround for the Wizards who’d go on an 18-3 run into the All-Star break. Bradley Beal (32 points) broke out this time followed by Bojan Bogdanovic (27 points) off the bench. It was Wall's 40th double-double, Bodganovic tied his season high and Beal scored 30 or more for the 11th time. That's seven times more than in his previous four seasons combined.

Bogdanovic buried his sixth three-pointer with 1:06 left off an inbounds play to put the Wizards ahead 112-111.

Orlando (23-40) had a comprehensive effort from Aaron Gordon (15 points, 11 rebounds), Bismack Biyombo (14 points, 15 rebounds), Terrence Ross (20 points), Evan Fournier (18 points), Jeff Green and Mario Hezonja (12 points) and Elfrid Payton (15 points).

The size, defensive abilities and athleticism for Orlando poses matchup problems for Washington as it erased a 17-point deficit, took the lead in the fourth and traded big shots down the stretch.

Gordon can defend Otto Porter (11 points) or Markieff Morris (eight). Biyombo can defend Morris or Marcin Gortat (seven points, 11 rebounds).

Baskets weren’t easy to come by and a team that has had trouble finding offense in Orlando had plenty. They shot 44-for-89 (49.4%).

Fournier converted a three-point play for a 114-112 lead for Orlando until Bogdanovic knocked down yet another three -- on an assist from Wall again -- with 46.8 seconds left.

The Wizards avoided losing consecutive games at home for the first time this season where they’re now 26-9.

--No one player dominated for Orlando, which had seven players in double figures after three quarters as Payton had the most with 14. Their length and athleticism gave them a 22-6 edge in second-chance points entering the fourth. That’s how their role players who aren’t noted for shooting accuracy got their points.

--With 4:24: left in the first quarter, Beal made a stepback three-pointer on Ross, who appeared to take an extra (and unnecessary) step under him long after the ball was released. Beal landed on his foot and rolled his left ankle which caused him to miss one game already this season. Beal left the court but was able to return in the second quarter but his momentum was lost. He was 4 of 5 shooting for nine points until his injury and regained his groove in the second half where he scored 21 points.

--The first points for Brandon Jennings (two points) came in transition. He was drove the lane after the Magic committed a turnover for a layup that  cut the deficit to 96-91. Coach Scott Brooks stuck with a three-guard lineup of Jennings, Wall and Beal during the comeback. Mahinmi took advantage of being defended by the undersized Gordon on the low block for a jump hook. Jennings generated seven assists in 17 minutes.

--Tomas Satoransky (five points) did all of his scoring in the final quarter. Beal found him on a pick-and-roll with Mahinmi wide open and unlike earlier in the season he just took the shot and made a three-pointer. Next time down the floor, Hezonja closed out Satoransky on the three-point line and he beat him baseline for the floater.   

--Gortat played 8:09 in the third quarter but didn’t touch the floor again because of the smaller lineups.

--Bogdanovic made eight of 10 threes. He has made at least six in two of his last three games for Washington. He's 20-for-34 since joining the Wizards at the trade deadline. That's 59% accuracy.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Was play that hurt Beal's ankle dirty?]

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Marcin Gortat's season...

Player: Marcin Gortat

Position: Center

Age: 34

2017-18 salary: $12.8 million

2017-18 stats: 82 G, 25.3 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 51.8 FG%, 67.5 FT%, 51.8 eFG%, 112 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 10/18 vs. Sixers - 16 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, assist, 7-for-12 FG

Season review: Marcin Gortat is self-aware enough to know that what happened to him in 2017-18 was inevitable in many ways. He even publicly called it before the season.

He was one year older, with Ian Mahinmi healthy and in the rotation, and with the NBA continuing to move towards small-ball and big men who can play on the perimeter. As a result, Gortat saw his role in the Wizards rotation pared down noticeably.

Though he still started all 82 games, his minutes went down from 31.2 per game the year before the 25.3. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who played the majority of the season coming off the bench, logged more minutes than Gortat, though he was a starter.

Gortat's minutes were his fewest since the 2009-10 season, when he was a 25-year-old bench player for the Orlando Magic. His numbers this season followed suit. Gortat's points and rebounds per game were both the lowest since that 2009-10 campaign.

Gortat averaged a career-best 10.4 rebounds per game in 2016-17, but the minutes had a direct effect on his volume of boards. He pulled in 2.4 less per game this season despite his rebound percentage (17.0) being close to his career average (17.5). That career average, by the way, is 30th-best all-time an eighth among active players.

Not getting the same opportunities he had in years past, plus public misunderstandings with teammates, combined to make for a frustrating year for Gortat. He said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast midseason it was the worst year of his career. Gortat, though, did continue to make an impact setting screens for the Wizards and he rallied to finish relatively strong.

He had several solid outings in the playoffs, including his 16 points in Game 3 and his 12 rebounds in Game 5. The question is whether that is the last time we will see Gortat in a Wizards uniform.

Washington has played with the idea of trading Gortat for a while now. He popped up in rumors around the trade deadline in February, but remained on the roster. Now he has an expiring contract working in his favor, making it a bit more likely he gets dealt.

Gortat knows his future in Washington is uncertain, though he said following the season he would like to stay. It would not be surprising to him or anyone if he were traded this summer. If not, he's got one year left with the Wizards and could very well have his role decreased even more.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, midrange shooting, free throw percentage

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s season...

Player: Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Position: Small forward

Age: 22

2017-18 salary: $2.1 million

2017-18 stats: 81 G, 27.5 mpg, 11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.4 bpg, 40.3 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 82.0 FT%, 48.2 eFG%, 106 ORtg, 109 DRtg

Best game: 3/21 at Spurs - 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 9-for-17 FG, 3-for-6 3PT

Season review: The first half of Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s 2017-18 season went very differently than the second half. Through 46 games to begin the year, Oubre shot 44.9 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from the perimeter. Oubre then shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from three in his last 35 games to close the regular season. That included a stretch from March 25 through April 5 in which he shot 2-for-35 from long range and 23-for-77 (29.9%) overall in seven games.

As his head coach described, Oubre had a tale of two seasons. By mid-January it appeared to be a breakout year, as he was scoring consistently and shooting at a high percentage. He was even limiting his mistakes on defense. Then, his shot went away and Oubre could never quite regain it.

All in all, Oubre's season represented a step forward. He proved he could be a top-six player in a playoff rotation and had extended stretches of success he can draw confidence from in the future.

Now Oubre enters his biggest offseason yet as a basketball player. He has just one year left on his rookie scale contract and will be in line for a considerable raise if he keeps developing. If Oubre takes even a slight step forward, he will make big money in his next contract. If he takes a major leap forward, like Otto Porter did when he was in the same position in 2016-17, he could earn way more money than the Wizards can afford as currently constructed.

That dynamic gives the Wizards a decision to make this summer on Oubre's future. He has significant trade value at this point, given his upside and his contract. He is due to make just $3.2 million next season and will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019. If they don't see a long-term future for him in Washington, trading him this offseason should not be ruled out.

It figures to be a busy summer for the Wizards and when it comes to Oubre there are a lot of factors in play. If they want financial flexibility, another option would be to deal Porter or another frontcourt starter and roll with Oubre as a less expensive option. Though his season was inconsistent, Oubre has shown enough to warrant consideration as a starter.

Regardless of what the Wizards decide, Oubre himself is in good shape. If he keeps getting better, he will earn a nice deal whether it's in Washington or somewhere else. He just needs to find consistency on both ends of the floor. 

He can do that on offense by tightening up his ball-handling and improving his ability to get to the rim. That would allow him to circumnavigate the type of shooting struggles that held him back late in the year.

Defensively, he has all the natural ability needed to be an elite player. He just needs to limit the gambles he takes that turn into blown assignments or unnecessary fouls.

Potential to improve: Consistency, efficiency, ball-handling


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