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Takeaways from Wizards' last-second loss to Pistons

Takeaways from Wizards' last-second loss to Pistons

Markieff Morris had what appeared to be the biggest play of the game, blocking a putback attempt from his brother, Marcus, to keep the Wizards ahead going into the final minute on Saturday.

But the Detroit Pistons had multiple shots on the final possession as Marcus Morris tipped in Tobias Harris’ shot for a 113-112 win to snap Washington’s four-game winning streak.

John Wall (19 points, 10 assists) posted his 26th double-double of the season followed by Markieff Morris (19 points, nine rebounds), Bradley Beal (17 points), Otto Porter (11 points, seven rebounds) and Marcin Gortat (12 points, seven rebounds) among the starters.

Jason Smith (season-high 16 points) and Kelly Oubre (11 points, two steals) led the bench.

Beal made two free throws to put the Wizards ahead 112-111 before the final sequences between the Morris brothers. It had erased a 16-point deficit in the third quarter.

Morris’ tip, however, draws the season series to 1-1 and the Wizards (23-20) have a final game on this three-game trip Monday at the Charlotte Hornets.

Marcus Morris (25 points, 11 rebounds) led Detroit, followed by Reggie Jackson (19 points, eight assists) and Tobias Harris (18 points, nine rebounds).

--The Wizards had a chance to take a three-point lead before Detroit had its final possession. Wall, however, dribbled out the clock and took a low percentage fadeaway over Jackson from deep that failed. Morris had popped to the top of the three-point arc to either face up Andre Drummond, who sagged deep into the paint to contain Wall’s driving.

--Beal’s shooting woes continued after shooting 4-for-14 and 4-for-13 in the Wizards’ previous two games. Detroit was physical. Beal was trucked by Jackson on a drive as he took a charge and had the back of his head slam to the floor. Then Beal was fouled by Harris on his arm on the fast break and clutched his left knee on the fall. Porter signaled for medical help but Beal was able to rise and make the key free throws late to put them ahead. Beal shot 4-for-17, including 0-for-7 from three despite having a lot of open looks. Beal is 1-for-21 from three in his last three games.

--Drummond (three points, 10 rebounds) was rendered a non-factor as he got into foul trouble early. He picked up his third foul by 5:44 of the second quarter. He only played 17 total minutes because he had five fouls.

--Coach Scott Brooks went with Oubre and Morris on the floor for the final possession rather than Gortat. Oubre was outmuscled on a switch by Drummond to create the extra shot attempts at the end. After Wall missed the final shot, the Pistons didn't call timeout to set up a play. They continued which prevented Brooks from going big again with a substitution. It was the right decision had they converted and taken a three-point lead. Meaning, they would've needed to defend the three-point line which was better achieved with Oubre on the floor.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Pistons beat Wizards on last second tip-in]

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

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Wizards' 2018-19 storyline No. 4: How will all the expiring contracts work out?

With Wizards training camp set to begin next week, we at NBC Sports Washington are counting down the five biggest storylines for the team as they start a new season. Today, at No. 4, a look at the amount of expiring contracts on the roster and how those situations will work themselves out…

One way or another, what happens for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season will be determined in part by seven players operating in the final years of their contracts. That seven does not include Dwight Howard, who has a player option for the 2019-20 season worth just $5.6 million. If he’s lumped into that group, only the L.A. Clippers have more players entering walk years.

The Wizards players in their contract years include Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Austin Rivers, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Jodie Meeks and Jason Smith. That will present a unique dynamic to the Wizards’ roster and it may affect guys differently.

Some may thrive, knowing how much money they stand to gain with a big year before free agency. Others may succumb to the pressure as they find their niche on a team with a lot of added depth at several positions.

Let’s start with Rivers. The challenge for him will be going through his contract year while taking a reduced role from what he was used to with the Clippers. Last season, he started in 59 games and averaged 33.7 minutes and 13.2 field goal attempts.

Now in Washington, Rivers has to play second fiddle to two All-Star guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal. The minutes and shot attempts will almost certainly go down in a year where he would understandably want all of his numbers to go up.

Green may also have a smaller role than what he was in Cleveland where he started 13 games and averaged 23.4 minutes. But this is his fourth straight year playing on an expiring contract and knows what he’s getting into. He should be fine.

Meeks and Smith are in an interesting spot because they are longtime NBA veterans who don’t have defined roles entering this season. They, of course, would like to put up good enough numbers to earn their next NBA contracts, but will have a tough time getting minutes.

Oubre and Satoransky are in unique spots because this is the first time in their careers they have played in contract years. Oubre, in particular, has a lot of money on the line as a former first round pick who is just 22 years old.

A big year for him could mean a lucrative contract next summer. He has seen how breakout seasons in walk years has helped Beal and Otto Porter, Jr. get paid and surely wants to follow that same career path. The Wizards would certainly welcome that type of emergence from Oubre, as he could drastically transform their ceiling as a team.

Satoransky, 26, is older than Oubre, but has intriguing potential based on his athleticism and versatility. The problem, however, is that recent history shows his minutes are anything but guaranteed.

Morris is in his own category among the Wizards’ expiring contracts because he’s 29 and probably facing his best opportunity for a long-term payday. Morris also has some money to recoup from taking a hometown discount from the Suns years ago, one that didn’t pay off as he hoped.

Howard, though technically under contract for 2019-20, is susceptible to the same factors as the others on expiring deals. If he puts up strong numbers and helps the Wizards succeed, he could opt out and cash in.

The Wizards are confident the expiring contracts will not be a detriment to their locker room. But in order for that to be the case, the players will need to compartmentalize and focus on the team’s goals rather than their own. For some, that might be easier said than done.


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5 things to know about Wizards training camp invitee Lavoy Allen


5 things to know about Wizards training camp invitee Lavoy Allen

On Wednesday the Washington Wizards added a six-year NBA veteran Lavoy Allen to their list of training camp invitees. 

At 29, Allen comes to the Wizards after being picked up by the Capital City Go-Go in the G-league's expansion draft.

Here are five things to know about the newest Wizard:

1. Allen spent the last season in the G-league

Although he has spent six years in the NBA, he was not as fortunate during the 2017-18 season. Last year he was on the court with the Northern Arizona Suns and only played in 10 of the squad's 50 games.

Averaging 21 minutes of action, he scored nine points a game and grabbed just over six rebounds. 

The last NBA franchise he played on was the Indiana Pacers, who declined their team-option in 2017.

2. At 6-9, Allen Recorded 22 rebounds in an NBA game 

Allen's second year in the association was arguably the best of his career. Ascending as a rotational for the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen started a career-high 37 games during the 2012-13 season.

None of his starts were bigger for him than a February win over the Charlotte Bobcats when he brought down 22 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive end. He also recorded 14 points on 7-for-16 shooting. 

3. He's the all-time leading rebounder in Temple history 

As one of the best Owls to ever suit up, Allen has etched his name in the Temple record books. With 1,147 boards there is not a single Owl that has more.

During his collegiate career Allen carried Temple to four NCAA Tournaments. He also holds the record for games started and rebounds in a single season at Temple.

4. Played in France for a season after being drafted by Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the team that took a chance on the talented forward/center. After getting selected 50th in the 2011 draft, Allen had to wait before he jumped onto an NBA court. Due to the lockout, Allen had to play in France for IG Strasbourg, until the labor dispute was over.

5. Wrote "Go Pacers" on the Cleveland Cavaliers' Quicken Loans Arena 

At first this seems like the ultimate sign of disrespect. Then you look at everyone else's scribble on the hardwood and it is less impressive.

Still not too many players have this as a headline during an NBA playoff game. Less than two months after this picture, he was out of job.