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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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Texas A&M big man Robert Williams likes potential fit with Wizards, John Wall

Texas A&M big man Robert Williams likes potential fit with Wizards, John Wall

In terms of the needs on their roster and the guys most likely to be available when they are on the clock at No. 15 in the first round, few players in this draft class seem as obvious a fit with the Washington Wizards more than Robert Williams of Texas A&M. So, it was no surprise that he not only visited them in Washington on Monday, but received the only individual public workout they have held during this year's predraft process.

Williams could be the answer to their longstanding quest for an athletic big man. No need to bring in five other guys for the usual six-player workout when Williams deserves a longer and more extensive look than most prospects they are considering.

The 20-year-old was put through a variety of drills Monday afternoon, just days before the 2018 NBA Draft. He likes the fit with Washington, if that's how things end up sorting out.

"I definitely feel like they could use a big like me, a defensive-style athletic big like me. I definitely see myself fitting here," he said.

Williams is one of the best big men in this year's draft. He is 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds with a 7-5 wingspan. He used that length to dominate in the paint at the college level.

Williams averaged a modest 10.4 points for the Aggies in 2017-18, but also 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. That was his sophomore year. He averaged 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a freshman.

He was a shot-blocking force the day he stepped on campus and believes those skills will translate to the professional ranks. In the NBA, Williams believes he can thrive because his defensive versatility will be even more valuable in a day and age where switching is paramount.

"I feel like I can guard all positions. That’s one of my biggest attributes," he said. "It’s just about embracing it, having fun stopping a guard. Once you’re comfortable with it, you can do it."

Williams may adapt to the NBA quickly on the defensive end and that's where the Wizards need help the most. They haven't had a consistent rim-protector in years. Last season, point guard John Wall led the team in blocks per game.

Offense is where the questions lie with Williams. He wasn't a big scorer in college and does not have much of an outside shot. The fact he shot just 47.1 percent from the free throw line this past season suggests he has a lot of work to do before he can stretch the floor.

Williams will need to find a niche offensively, likely as a rim-runner off pick-and-rolls. He sees a lot of potential in a possible pick-and-roll pairing with Wall.

"He’s an elite passer and an elite guard. Coming off a pick-and-roll, you have to pay attention to him as well as have to pay attention to me as well. It’s a win-win situation," Williams said.

Williams believes his offensive game will open up with more space at the NBA level. The Wizards have Wall surrounded by three-point shooters in Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Markieff Morris. Toss Williams into the middle and he could go to work in the paint doing the rest.

If Williams were drafted by the Wizards, he could look at Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets as a model to follow. Like Houston, the Wizards have two All-Star guards. An athletic big man who doesn't need plays run for him could be the perfect complement.

No one needs to tell Williams that, he is well-aware. He said that at nearly every stop during the predraft process Capela's name has come up.

"I knew that’s what you were going to say," Williams said to a reporter (raises hand) who asked about the Capela comparison.

Williams continued to say they are different players and it's not entirely fair to compare them. That exchange showed Williams has an edge to him, sort of like Morris. He's clearly not afraid to be honest when some players would not.

Despite downplaying the comparison, Williams can see what makes Capela successful.

"I’ve watched him. He’s a great player," Williams said. "He is around the right people. He just plays his role. He runs off a lot of screens. He gets up there and does what he has to do."

Williams is gearing up for Thursday's draft and trying to decide who he will walk the stage with, as the NBA has introduced a new tradition of each player walking with two people. He said it will likely be his mother and sister. Perhaps by the end of the night he will also walk that stage wearing a Washington Wizards hat.

For more on Williams, check out our extensive draft profile on him.


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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

Former NBA player J.J. Hickson faces charges of armed robbery after breaking into a home near Atlanta, stealing $100,000 from the house, and physically assaulting a teenager who was inside, authorities said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hickson, who played eight seasons in the NBA with four teams before his brief appearance in Washington, is currently being held in Coweta County Jail without bond. 

He is currently affiliated with the Lebanese Basketball League but played 15 games with the Wizards during the 2015-16 season. Hickson averaged 4.6 ppg and scored a season-high 15 points against the Nets in the penultimate game of the regular season. He has not played professionally in the United States since.  Hickson played just one season at North Carolina State before being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 19 pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Jimmy Yarbrough, the sheriff's spokesperson in Coweta, said that while at least two people were involved in the invasion, only Hickson is being held and charged.

According to authorities, Hickson entered through a side door, armed with a knife and his face and head covered. He was initially apprehended by another department and later transferred into the custody of Coweta County law enforcement. 

At this time in the investigation, very little detail is publicly available.

The teenage victim, whose name remains private, received medical treatment for several broken bones and is fortunately in good condition.