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Takeaways from Wizards' lopsided loss to Golden State Warriors

Takeaways from Wizards' lopsided loss to Golden State Warriors

Although Stephen Curry won’t win the MVP for the third year in a row, he’s playing like one again. Sunday, he was the best player on the floor from start to finish as Golden State handed the Wizards their third consecutive loss to end a five-game road trip, 139-115 at Oracle Arena.

Curry (42 points, eight assists) seemingly made every shot regardless of difficulty as the Warriors (63-14) won their 11th game in a row.

The Wizards (46-31) finish the trip 2-3 and had trimmed the deficit to 55-53 with 2:11 left in the second quarter until a 12-4 run by Golden State put them up by double digits going into halftime.

John Wall (15 points, 11 assists) and Bradley Beal (20 points) led Washington but it couldn’t keep pace. Otto Porter (13 points, six rebounds), Markieff Morris (13 points) and Bojan Bogdanovic (20 points) also contributed.

Thompson (23 points) and Shaun Livingtson (17 points) helped Curry’s efforts, and Draymond Green (11 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds) did everything else. Four other players scored at least eight points.

With five games left, the Wizards are now firmly planted as the No. 4 seed unless the Toronto Raptors (47-30), who own the tiebreaker as the No. 3 seed, trip up down the stretch.

--Wall had consecutive assists in the third quarter, one on a dunk for Porter and another on a spot-up three, to put him at 802. That moved him past Rod Strickland who had 801 in 1997-98.

--The second unit went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth, cutting what had been a 22-point deficit to 106-96 with 9:08 left. Tomas Satoransky, who hadn’t played in the previous three games, had a layup in transition to force the timeout by Warriors coach Steve Kerr.  The second unit finished the game as it had trimmed it to 116-107 and the starters stayed on the bench.

--Kelly Oubre blanketed Thompson, who wasn’t a factor after he made a three-pointer to spot the Warriors a 6-0 lead. Curry made 7 of 10 threes to start so Oubre took the assignment on him in the third quarter but the game had gotten away. Thompson eventually got free and hurt them, too. Oubre only shot 2-for-11 and couldn’t make the Warriors pay for hiding Curry on him defensively during stretches.

--Porter went scoreless in the first half in missing all three of his shots. He opened the third quarter by scoring the Wizards’ first six point with a three-pointer and converting a three-point play.

--Beal played in his 73rd game to equal his career-high from his sophomore season.  He has missed just four games because of a sprained ankle (one) and a thigh strain (three). Last season, the Wizards were one of the NBA’s most injured teams with Beal playing a career-low 55 games.

--Taking shots away from Curry and Thompson is a key to being able to beat Golden State. In other words, make other players do the job. Early on the Wizards got the right players to take the shots they wanted but Andre Igoudala made 3 of 4, JaVale McGee started 2-for-2, Livingston 5 of 7 in the first half when they scored 67 points.

--Marcin Gortat (seven points, three rebounds) continued to see his production dip as he only played 15 minutes and got up just five shots. Because Golden State plays so many small lineups, Ian Mahinmi (eight points, three assists) earned more time with 21 minutes. Daniel Ochefu played the final two minutes.

--Did Golden State try to run up the score? The Wizards didn't play any starters in the fourth quarter, and after they made a run and the Warriors were cruising ot a double-digit victory Curry remained. Green re-entered to get a basket for a triple-double. Angry at McGee for launching a three-pointer rather than running out the clock at the end, Brandon Jennings (nine points, seven rebounds) picked up a flagrant foul with a two-hand shove. 

[RELATED: Kevin Durant praises Kelly Oubre Jr.]

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The anatomy of Kelly Oubre Jr.'s follow-dunk and pose

The anatomy of Kelly Oubre Jr.'s follow-dunk and pose

Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t know precisely what the moment required. The hops and charisma are always on standby regardless.

In one of his more controlled performances of the season, the Wizards’ forward managed to stand out in Monday’s road loss at Indiana. Not solely for his 23 points, even though it established a new season-high. Not just for a rim-rattling follow dunk, though props for the aerial work.

What came after the slam is what got social media jumping. It’s why his popularity surpasses his production. It’s why his critics sometimes cannot help but smile.

Two days after turning 23, the birthday boy explained how the jam and viral video pose went down.

It started with two aspects not always associated with Oubre’s game: Passing and court awareness.

Washington already trimmed Indiana’s 25-point lead to eight as the clock moved closer to the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and the Wizards executed a play.

Teammates Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris ran interference for Oubre as he dribbled toward the right elbow.  Despite openings for a drive or shot, the player who passes with the frequency of a wishbone quarterback stuck with the plan. He looked for Morris rolling toward the basket.

“I just looked at the situation. The play was for Keef to roll and be open. He was open,” recalled Oubre.

Enter Myles Turner. The Pacers’ center dominated the paint throughout, finishing with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Oubre’s dribble brought Turner his way, but on the pass, the mobile big man quickly shifted across the paint. Morris created space and lofted a half-hook. Turner’s wingspan, on display with ferocity all night, altered the shot.

Oubre thought it might. Standing alone and with a clear path to the basket, the sleek forward made his move. Quick and light steps positioned out front if a miss bounced his way. It did.

“Myles is a great rim protector," said Oubre. "I just figured that since he’s been altering shots all game. I’d at least jump to give myself a chance to follow it up.”

Morris’s banked shot went short off the glass, sending the ball off the front of the rim. Oubre read the carom’s angle like geometry major. He rose with ease and hammered dunk the miss with two hands.

“Perfect timing, the stars aligned.”

Then the personality popped.

Before Oubre touched back down, the smile began to form. He stuck the landing like a 6-foot-7 Kerri Strug, though with two good ankles. As the grin enveloped his face and Oubre looked out into the crowd of non-well-wishers, both hands attached to his hips, forming a perfect pair of isosceles triangles. 

Oubre: “The pose was just me having fun. Their fans was talking crazy [expletive] though. I was just smiling at them the whole game.”

Just posing would have put a nice capper on the high-rising moment. Ever the showman, Oubre added a final flourish.

As the megawatt smiled remained, he went with a full head nod toward the crowd. He knew what they witnessed and that they didn’t love it. Regardless, they had to appreciate the style and let them know he felt the same.

“I don’t really look around when I’m playing," said Oubre. "It was really just because the fans didn’t want us to do good.

“I just have a lot of personality, you know? It was a good time, man.”

Oubre’s highlight reel includes a new entry. Such moments wow fans and keep scouts intrigued. If only Oubre could hone the rest of his game, they think. He’s shooting under 30 percent on 3-pointers since January. His shot selection and struggles with team defensive concepts cause exasperation.

Some team might fall in lust regardless and offer the 2015 first-round pick a hefty contract when he hits restricted free agency this coming summer. The Wizards can match any offer. Considering their salary cap concerns and Oubre’s uncertain trajectory, they might not.

Oubre wants more and says he works to improve his game daily while pushing free agency thoughts aside.

“Just getting better every day. Just taking it one day at a time, trying to live in the moment,” Oubre said. “Not necessarily looking at the future because the future will happen if I take care of now. Today I got better. Tomorrow is a new game, a new opportunity.”

Tomorrow comes Wednesday when the Wizards host the rival Boston Celtics.

“The Celtics have a lot of guys who are talented basketball players, and I’m a competitor,” Oubre said. “I’m looking forward to going to play against them.”

When it comes to the entertaining Oubre, even those head-scratching doubters probably feel the same.

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Wizards vs. Celtics: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Celtics: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Wizards(11-16) hosts the Celtics (16-10) on Wednesday night inside Capital One Arena for the first of three matchups of the 2018-19 season.

The Wizards dropped a Monday night contest in Indiana, despite an All-Star performance from Bradley Beal who poured in 30 points without John Wall in the lineup. 

The Celtics, without Kyrie Irving, defeated the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night thanks to a 31-point performance from Marcus Morris. 

One of the more recent and compelling NBA rivalries is back. 

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, and more:

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS HOW TO WATCH:

What: Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
Time/Date: Wednesday, 12/12/18 at 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Washington (7:00 p.m.)
Live stream: You can watch the Wizards vs. Celtics live stream on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and the MyTeams by NBC Sports App. . Download MyTeams now for full postgame coverage and 24/7 Wizards news.
Radio: 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders 
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Celtics
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live 
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders 

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (out, lumbar microdisectomy procedure)

Celtics: Aron Baynes (questionable, left ankle sprain), Gordon Hayward (doubtful, illness), Al Horford (questionable, left knee soreness), Guerschon Yabusele (out, right ankle sprain) 

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS SERIES HISTORY: 

Number of all-time Meetings: 302 games (22 playoff games)

Regular Season Record: Celtics lead series 188-114

Playoff Record: Celtics lead series 13-9

Last Meeting: Wizards beat Celtics 113-101 on 4/10/2018

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