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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 vs. Heat: TV channel, Time, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Heat: TV channel, Time, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak with a nice win over the Pistons on Martin Luther King Day. 

They won't be able to celebrate for long though as they hit the road to play an extremely good Miami Heat team just a couple of weeks after the Wizards beat them without Bradley Beal. 

Can Washington shock everyone once again and continue to play their best against great teams? Here's what you need to know to watch and find out. 

WIZARDS vs. HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami, Game 43

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HEAT TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders

7:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live 

7:30 PM: Wizards vs. Heat

10:00 PM: Wizards Postgame Live 

10:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live 

11:00 PM: Wizards Talk 

WIZARDS vs. HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Rui Hachimura (OUT, groin), Garrison Mathews (OUT, ankle), Moe Wagner (OUT, ankle),  John Wall (OUT, Achilles)

Heat: Jimmy Butler (Day-to-day, hip), Justise Winslow (OUT, back)

 

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Why Wizards point guard Ish Smith purposefully never dunks in games

Why Wizards point guard Ish Smith purposefully never dunks in games

WASHINGTON -- Go to a Washington Wizards game these days and you may see point guard Ish Smith do many things. He has a mean crossover, is shooting threes like never before in his career and he's a blur up and down the court.

What you will basically never see Smith do is dunk. He hasn't thrown one down in a game since the 2017-18 season. He dunked twice that year, down from four times the season before and down from his career-high of eight the year before that.

Smith has basically eliminated dunking from his game. It's not that he can't, he just chooses not to. And it's for a good reason.

Now in his 10th NBA season, Smith believes the wear-and-tear that comes with dunking isn't worth it at this point.

"I'm saving my legs," he told NBC Sports Washington. "I was watching something and Steve Nash was talking about how he played when he got older - on the ground, pretty much on land. He was preserving his energy because he moved a lot, cut a lot [with] ball-handling and different things like that. I try to preserve all that."

Smith, 31, has achieved a rare level of longevity in the NBA. He went undrafted in 2010, yet has lasted a decade in the NBA as a 6-foot tall point guard. The Wizards are his 11th team, one off the NBA record.

There is an old adage in the NBA that each dunk takes a game off your career. Many things can happen when players are high up in the air and risking contact, but also the simple act of jumping and landing can take its toll on joints and ligaments.

Smith has carved out the career he has by making sacrifices, and that includes dunking. Even when he is alone on a fastbreak, he will just lay it in.

"Yeah, you get breakout layups and stuff like that," he said. "I guess because I have done it, but it's not as tempting as used to be. It's just like get these two points and get back."

When he was younger, Smith would dunk when he had the opportunity. Now he says he's kind of over it.

"I had some dunk-ons [back in the day]. But as I got older, I realized it ain't all that," he said.

Smith now prides himself on a wide array of release angles on layups around the rim. He can finish with his right and left hand, in traffic and off-balance. He can double-clutch and use the glass.

Smith has a way of sneaking under bigger defensive players and timing layups to avoid blocked shots. It's a big part of his game.

But maybe someday soon we will see Smith dunk again in a game. Perhaps he will do so, just to show everyone he's still got it.

"[I dunked] the other day when we were in Toronto, after practice," he said. "After that, I was like 'oh no, I don't know why I did that.'"

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