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Takeaways from Wizards' huge win over Warriors

Takeaways from Wizards' huge win over Warriors

The first two games out of the All-Star break, no matter how bad the Wizards looked vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, are bygones. That’s because Tuesday, they upset the Golden State Warriors at Verizon Center 112-108 in their fourth sellout of the season.

The Wizards (35-23) led most of the way and by as many as 19 points in the first half before Golden State made its run. But they had to overcome a pair of three-pointers from Draymond Green to tie the score at 106 and a missed three-pointer by Steph Curry that could've won it in the waning seconds.

John Wall had his 38th double-double and tied a career-high in assists (12 points, 19 assists, six rebounds) while Bradley Beal (25 points, three steals), Otto Porter (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists), Markieff Morris (22 points, six rebounds, four blocks), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points).

Curry (25 points), who was coming off 0-for-11 shooting from three-point range Monday in Philadelphia, didn’t make one until the third quarter. Klay Thompson (16 points) was their primary offense early but Zaza Pachulia (12 points, eight rebounds), Green (14 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) and Shaun Livingston (14 points) were factors, too.

The Warriors (50-10) took their first lead 80-79 after four consecutive free throws from Livingston late in the third, but Porter made a clutch three-pointer for a 102-100 lead, Beal made a floater for a 104-103 lead, Morris had a dunk on a lob and all three combined to shoot 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 1:18.

Patrick McCaw (eight points) replaced Kevin Durant in the lineup after he went down with an injury.

--It wasn’t a well-played game in terms of taking care of the ball. Both teams combined for 39 turnovers but both teams played well defensively. The Wizards and Warriors are tops in the league in deflections.

--Durant’s return home was anticlimactic again, similar to what happened last season when he played here for the only time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gortat maneuvered for position and it knocked Pachulia to the floor. He fell backwards onto Durant’s foot and forced his left knee backwards. His night ended after 1:33 as he went to the locker room and the team announced he had a hyperextension that would require an MRI. Durant only took one shot and didn’t score.

--Gortat was tentative getting the ball on the short rolls to the basket. He appeared to be predetermining that he wouldn’t shoot the ball and pass instead. That produced four turnovers for him in the first half alone when the Wizards could’ve had a lead larger than 61-49 at the break. Morris had difficulty finishing over smalls on switches as Golden State collapsed with active hands to bother him and relied on help to contest late, but he was able to make them pay when he scored 11 of his points in the fourth. 

--Ian Mahinmi (six points, six rebounds) had his best game in Washington, entering earlier than usual because of two first-quarter fouls on Gortat. He was the defensive presence that he needed to be against a team like Golden State that has so many shooters that bigs who can step out, help contain the ball and get back to his man is important. Mahinmi blocked a dunk attempt by Green at the rim and then went at Pachulia for a bucket on a counter move.  Mahinmi frustrated Pachuilia into a foul on the next offensive possession for the Warriors and forced JaVale McGee into a turnover when he recovered to stop him at the time.

--After 16 points in the first quarter, Beal went silent until a three-pointer just past the midway point of the third. Wall played the role of facilitator for most of three quarters until he grew more assertive as Golden State locked in on taking his shooters away. He had 17 assists – two short of tying a career-high – entering the fourth quarter. Both found ways to close as Curry and Thompson shot a combined 5-for-22 from three-point range.

[RELATED: Durant exits Wizards game with apparent knee injury (VIDEO)]

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast. 

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Enormity of the Wizards’ offseason and long-term future will hinge on the May 14 Draft Lottery

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Enormity of the Wizards’ offseason and long-term future will hinge on the May 14 Draft Lottery

With the 2018-19 season in the rearview for the Washington Wizards, we at NBC Sports Washington are analyzing the five biggest questions of what should be the most consequential offseason they have had in years...

NO. 5: WILL THE WIZARDS GET LUCKY IN THE DRAFT LOTTERY ON MAY 14?

Though the Washington Wizards made some poor decisions to create the mess their next general manager will need to clean up, they have also been struck with a good deal of bad luck. John Wall falling in his home and rupturing his Achilles tendon certainly qualifies. Dwight Howard suffering a relapse with his back and requiring surgery to repair a herniated disc was out of their control. And if Bradley Beal makes All-NBA and qualifies for a supermax this summer, the timing would not be ideal as far as their finances are concerned.

The Wizards have long been one of the most snakebitten franchises in sports and even stand out in a city where curses are often blamed for sports misery. They could use some luck for a change and especially on the night of May 14.

That's when the 2019 NBA draft lottery will take place in Chicago, Ill. ESPN will broadcast the event live at 8:30 p.m. as the ping-pong balls fly through the air, determining the order for the June 20 draft and therefore the future of the league.

The Wizards will for the first time since 2013 have high stakes in the lottery. They had finished with at least a .500 record for five straight seasons before bottoming out in 2018-19. But their 32-50 record this past season gave them the sixth-best lottery odds and, in the first year under new lottery rules, that has left them in excellent shape ahead of May 14.

The Wizards lottery odds will break down pick-by-pick like this:

1st - 9.0%

2nd - 9.2%

3rd - 9.4%

4th - 9.6%

5th - N/A

6th - 8.6%

7th - 29.6%

8th - 20.6%

9th - 3.8%

10th - 0.2%

The two most important numbers to consider are nine and 37.2. They have a nine percent chance at the first overall pick and a 37.2 percent shot at selecting in the top four.

The Wizards' nine percent odds at No. 1 are only five ticks lower than the top teams in lottery odds, the Knicks, Cavs and Suns who are tied at 14 percent. Though their chances are still less than one-in-ten, that means they will be very much in the mix to land the ultimate prize, Duke forward Zion Williamson.

Williamson would change everything for the team that drafts him, but perhaps especially for the Wizards, considering the alternative direction their franchise could go. They already fired their general manager and have an uncertain future with their head coach Scott Brooks and arguably with their best player, Beal, as well. They appear to be teetering on the brink of a rebuild and Williamson could jumpstart them into the other direction.

No draft prospect, maybe with the exception of LeBron James in 2003, offers guarantees. Williamson could top out as a good, but not great player. But few who have dominated college basketball quite like he did have then failed to live up to the hype. Consider the fact he is only the third freshman ever to win the Naismith award for NCAA's best player. The other two were Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.

One NBA front office executive told NBC Sports Washington he believes Williamson will be an All-Star as a rookie and not just because of fan voting. He has superstar potential, both from a production and marketing standpoint. Williamson would likely step right in as at least the Wizards' second-best healthy player and as the face of their franchise, the player most associate them with.

Landing the top pick is not the only way May 14 can result in a success for the Wizards. Jumping into the top four would be a major victory, especially in this year's draft which appears to be top-heavy. That could mean a chance to draft Ja Morant of Murray State or R.J. Barrett, Williamson's teammate at Duke. 

Barrett would be a nice fit alongside Beal and Wall when he returns from injury. He complements them positionally and has All-Star potential.

If Morant is the best player on the board, the Wizards should take him. But doing so would create a brand new storyline of how he would co-exist with Wall, who plays the same position. That dynamic would be hard to ignore for as long as they are together in the organization.

Though the Wizards have a better than one-in-three shot at the top four, their two most likely landing spots are No. 7 and 8 overall. If the Wizards did not make a major jump in the lottery, they may be wise to trade back and acquire more picks. They do not have a second round pick this year and not until 2023. They also have roster spots to fill and could use more young (and cheap) players.

The Wizards may not have to trade back very far to stock their cupboard with more picks. Last June, the Hawks got a lightly-protected first round pick from the Mavericks for going back from No. 3 to No. 5. The Sixers traded back from 10th to 16th with the Suns and scooped the Miami Heat's unprotected 2021 first round pick.

In a draft that most consider to not be deep outside of the top four or five picks, the Wizards may not see a huge difference in the eight pick and, say, selecting 12th. And that could be the key to getting another first or a collection of second round picks.

There are so many scenarios for the Wizards that all depend on their luck on May 14. Who they choose to send as their representative will be interesting. Will it be Beal, who right now is their biggest star? How about Wall, who was the first overall pick in 2010 and would be able to impact the franchise in an indirect way despite his long-term injury absence? It could also be whomever they hire as their new GM, or someone in the ownership group.

The Wizards, like the 13 other teams in the lottery, will be hoping for a blessing from the basketball gods.

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