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Takeaways from Wizards' disappointing loss to Celtics in Boston

Takeaways from Wizards' disappointing loss to Celtics in Boston

Last week, John Wall said getting the No. 2 seed isn’t a priority for the Wizards as much as not falling lower than a No. 3 seed.

That’s a good thing because they’re now firmly planted in that spot after they lost for the fourth time in five games Monday in a 110-102 blowout to the Boston Celtics.

Both teams won on their home floor to make the season series 2-2 so the next tiebreaker that applies, if needed to determine seeding should both teams end with the same record, would be conference record. Boston is 29-13 in the East while Washington is 26-18.

The Celtics (45-26) stretched a 32-30 lead after the first quarter to 11 at halftime and then 92-75 entering the fourth to effectively put it away early at TD Garden.

Avery Bradley (20 points, nine rebounds) was unstoppable as he made 4 of 8 three-pointers while Isaiah Thomas (25 points) played second fiddle for much of the night. Thomas had 12 points in the pivotal third quarter when the Celtics outscored them 34-28.

Jae Crowder (16 points, nine rebounds) and Al Horford (16 points, nine rebounds) rounded out the domination.

The Wizards (42-28) were led by Bradley Beal (19 points) but he disappeared after scoring 15 in the first half. John Wall (16 points, eight assists) didn’t get a double-double for the second game in a row. Bojan Bogdanovic (14 points) and Jason Smith (13 points, five rebounds) were the best performers off the bench along with Brandon Jennings (10 points, seven assists).

Now the focus for the Wizards, who play at home vs. the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets, is keeping the No. 4 seed Toronto Raptors (41-29) at bay. The Raptors won the season series with Washington, 2-1, which gives them the first tiebreaker for seeding.

[RELATED: Wall says he's tired of 'BS technical fouls']

--Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson, role players who didn’t factor much into the last meeting, who did a lot of damage to help Boston take a 31-16 edge in first-half rebounding. Twelve of them were offensive. The trio had 14 of those total rebounds. Olynyk (nine points, 11 rebounds) had the most production though most of what Zeller (four points, three rebounds) and Johnson (four points, three rebounds) didn’t appear in the boxscore. When it was over, the Celtics set a season-high with 20 offensive rebounds.

--Otto Porter (eight points) set his career-high with 34 points in the first meeting with Boston this season, but he no longer gets the free pass he got then. Porter had difficulty with the physical nature of the game when being bodied by Crowder and shot 4-for-8 from the field.

--Gortat picked up his third foul at 4:33 of the second quarter, just after he re-entered the game, on a cheap one. It was when Boston was in the midst of a 14-5 run and why he only played 12 minutes. When the Celtics pulled away in the third quarter, Gortat (four points, four rebounds) hesitated twice and didn’t contest Thomas on threes. He had ample time to close the distance and make him shoot over the 6-11 frame. Gortat would’ve been better off giving up the drive for the two – and rely on the help behind him to rotate to Thomas – than allowing a near-40% three-point shooter to have clean looks.  When the Wizards blew them out in the last meeting, they established Gortat in the low post and went to him in isolations vs. Horford on the first two possessions. He began the game 6-for-6. This was different as he shot 6-for-11.

--Wall was holding the ball for the final shot of the first half and didn’t account for Johnson who poked the ball free from behind. The Wizards lost possession and Wall tried to make up for it by gambling for a steal. Instead he drew a foul that sent Thomas to the line for two free throws.

--Thomas earned the game’s first technical foul when he was complaining about a no-call on a drive in the first quarter. But the first real skirmish took place between Jennings and Terry Rozier. Jennings was in his face and trying to bait him after making a jumper. They tangled at halfcourt with Jennings being shoved to the floor. The outcome was offsetting double technical.

--The second unit of Jennings, Tomas Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Bogdanovic and Smith did well to get the deficit down to 96-86 with 6:44 left. Smith had a three to get it to less than 10 but fouled out soon after that. The Celtics quickly pushed their lead back to double digits because of two offensive rebound putbacks by Olynyk and Horford, 104-91.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Ref appears to trip Bogdanovic, then call turnover]

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‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

Capital City Go-Go

‘Grateful for the opportunity’ A tale of the second Capital City Go-Go open tryouts

The Washington Wizards G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, held their second open local player tryouts at the Entertainment and Sports Arena Saturday morning in Southeast D.C.

Over 100 hopefuls filed into the arena with plans to impress Go-Go General Manager, Pop Mensah-Bonsu, head coach Ryan Richman, and his staff. 

Although each player in attendance has a unique path that’s led them here, they all shared one simple, yet intricate goal:

One shot in the G League. 

Adam Stanford, a prospect from California, traveled on a red eye to make the tryout on a less-than-ideal amount of sleep.

“My plane left at midnight from LAX, I had a two-hour layover in Denver, made it to Reagan National at five, checked into my hotel at six, took an hour nap and then Ubered here for tryouts,”  he said. 

“If I made this team it’d be big. Not just for me but for everyone who knows what I’ve been through from college to now.” 

Stanford is a 6-foot-4 wing from Campbellsville University, where he averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and was an academic All-American. 

Even with his positive outlook on the process, and an impressive showing Saturday morning, Stanford’s name wasn’t called for a follow-up workout later in the afternoon. 

The harsh reality that your chances are extremely slim to make a G League roster from an open tryout can be a tough pill to swallow, but as a guy who’s been on the opposite end of the chopping block, Mensah-Bonsu had an immense amount of respect for those who showed up to compete Saturday.

“Personally it’s tough because I never wanted to be that guy to read out the numbers of those who did make the team, and skip over those who didn’t,” Mensah-Bonsu said, “it’s heartbreaking. We always anticipate what the DMV has to offer in terms of the wealth of talent in this area.

"I was pleasantly surprised because we ended up selecting 15 guys to stick around for the afternoon portion, but going into this we were only planning to pick five.” 

Those who made the cut won’t be announced until a later date, which leaves the larger point of how those who were passed on respond?

The all-time leading scorer in Peach Sun Belt Conference history, Detrek Browning, was in attendance Saturday and put on a show. His combination of quickness, deep range shooting ability, and a knack for loose balls/putbacks captured the attention of every media member in attendance. 

However, his name wasn’t called for the next round of tryouts. 

Still, in a state of shock, he delivered words of encouragement not just for his self, but others to turn to after a similar letdown. 

“I for sure thought I was going to get a place here, but you just gotta focus and move on,” Browning said. “I quit my job in June to focus on basketball and it’s been paying off. I’ve seen my game increase exponentially.

“I did my best and that’s what matters,” he added. “I appreciate them not picking me up, it’s just going to make me work even harder.”




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Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Elena Delle Donne thanks makers of face mask, knee brace after 2nd MVP honors

Most MVP award winners thank coaches, parents and anyone who helped them become great. Elena Delle Donne is not most people.

The Washington Mystic's superstar forward had a lot to be thankful for after receiving the second MVP honors of her career, creating a long list on Twitter. Some injury-preventing accessory manufacturers made their way high up on her list.

Delle Donne became the first woman player to shoot 50/40/90 splits over the course of an entire WNBA season this year, but she was perhaps more grateful for the apparrel that allowed her to stay on the court: her knee brace and face mask. 

The Delaware native often deflects praise onto her teammates and coaches when receiving accolades, but when EDD's knee is being held together by her bulky brace and her nose is feeling protected after a fracture earlier in the season, they definitely deserve the thanks. 

She had a gruesome knee scare in a Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Dream in the playoffs last season, and even missed some early season games this year in recovery. Still, Delle Donne wouldn't let her knee keep her out of action, as her 31 regular season starts were the most games she's played since 2015. It's been evident she's had an edge all season to help her Washington Mystics get back to the Finals, and this time finish the job. 

Delle Donne's face mask has also been somewhat of a fashion trend in recent weeks with star athletes around the District. Wizards all-star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal along with Redskins runing back Derrius Guice, all wore the face masks in solidarity when they came to support the Mystics at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. 

Despite Delle Donne's nose having been fully recovered, she's kept the face mask on during games for style and reassurance. Considering these ailments, it's impressive Delle Donne's shooting touch not only hasn't been affected, but instead has improved. 

After a Game 2 win over the Las Vegas Aces, Delle Donne and Co. have the opportunity to make their season mantra come true and #RunItBack to a second straight WNBA Finals appearance.