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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Cavs to snap home winning streak

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Cavs to snap home winning streak

The Wizards' home streak is over at Verizon Center following Monday’s 140-135 overtime loss to the East’s No. 1 team, but they at least proved that they belonged in their most exciting game of the season.

Markieff Morris' putback of John Wall's layup almost was the game-winning shot with 12.2 seconds left as LeBron James missed a layup — and took four steps to get there — that could've put his team back ahead. But after Wall made two free throws, James banked in an improbable three-pointer with three-tenths of a second left to force the extra session.

It was the Wizards' second announced sellout of the season as they failed to avenge a 105-94 loss here to the Cavaliers on Nov. 11 when they were a very different team.

Bradley Beal, who was out injured for that game, exploded (41 points) but made the clutch play of the game at 4:13 in overtime when he drew James' sixth foul to send him to the bench for good. But Kyrie Irving's five-point outburst — after a 7-0 run post-James — created the separation needed.

Otto Porter (25 points), John Wall (22 points, 12 assists), Markieff Morris (15 points) and Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) were the supporting cast, and Kelly Oubre (11 points, four steals) came off the bench to wreak havoc on both ends. 

Oubre drained a three for a 127-122 lead in overtime. 

Neither team could pull away as each shot better than 50 percent from the field for the first three quarters. But after a series of threes from James (32 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists) had the Cavaliers ahead late in the fourth, it was threes from Beal and then Porter to put them up 110-107 with three minutes left.

The Cavs responded with threes from Kyle Korver (13 points) and Kevin Love (39 points, 12 rebounds) to go ahead 116-112 the last 1:32. Then Beal tied the score at 116 with 43.8 seconds left after Gortat blocked James at the rim.

Love had a 15-point outburst in the third to get Cleveland (35-15) back on top 86-82 entering the fourth. James set up everyone else and Tristan Thompson (22 points, 12 rebounds) cleaned up in the paint, but Irving (23 points) was relatively speaking held in check by Wall until the extra period when he put Cleveland up for good with two foul shots, 138-135 with 10.2 seconds left.

--Unlike in the first meeting, when Wall had 23 points in the first half because there was no Beal to spread the floor, he lived in the paint. Even though his final numbers weren’t spectacular, the open shots were generated by his penetration to break down the defense.

--The second unit, with Beal and Morris starting the fourth, got the Wizards ahead. Beal had mismatches when defended by Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye attempting to contain him off the dribble. Oubre came on defense as he jumped a passing lane to Korver and got on the end of a fast break to finish a dunk thanks to a steal and assist from Tomas Satoransky.   

--When the Wizards went to the small-ball lineup with Porter as the “stretch” option, they again had difficulty dealing with Love who’d post him up.  Love had a fade across the lane midway through the fourth, but Porter responded. Oubre, however, picked up his fourth foul at 6:15 getting caught on Love in the same spot for a three-point play.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 7:26 of the first quarter defending Love. Morris sparked the Wizards with his assist to Beal for an open three early in the third and his close out of Love on the three-point arc that led to him getting a charge.  But after shooting an airball three himself, Morris picked up his third at 7:35 of the third setting a screen. Morris was hit with his fifth with 9:36 left fighting off a screen. He fouled out in the OT, as did Oubre.

--The hard trap of the ball led to passes to Thompson, who was setting most of the screens, diving to the basket. He was 6 of 8 in the first half which actually was a good thing for the Wizards. That meant less three-point bombs and shots for Irving and James.

-- Porter is undersized when defending James, but he was perfect on the offensive end making 5 of 5 shots, including all three looks from three-point range, and created for others. James closed him out hard in the corner and Porter attack dribbled, drew the help defenders and delivered a bounce pass to Morris for a layup for a 53-48 lead. On the next possession, Wall had a bad pass turnover to James but Porter got back and in front of the full-speed rush and stripped the ball off of his leg to get possession back. 

[RELATED: VIDEO: LeBron throws down huge dunk, Morris loses shoe]

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History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

History shows how much the Wizards could get in a trade for Davis Bertans

Indications both on the record and through back channel reporting remain that the Wizards would like to keep sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans beyond the Feb. 6 trade deadline and attempt to re-sign him in the offseason, once they are allowed to negotiate per CBA rules. The most recent story came from Sports Illustrated and it suggested the Wizards aren't entertaining offers.

Still, nothing can be ruled out. Things can change, teams could increase their offers and trade talks always ramp up as the deadline nears. And, if the Wizards do decide to trade Bertans, it would make sense if the return package was centered around draft picks, given the Wizards are in the middle of a franchise reset where those are at a premium.

So, what type of draft pick could the Wizards get for Bertans? For starters, it doesn't seem likely any collection of second round picks would get the deal done given the caliber of player he is. And while first round picks are most often dealt on draft night, there are still plenty of cases where they were sent in exchange for players at other points on the calendar.

With Bertans in mind, here are some examples of teams getting first round picks for players. You may notice a lot of them involved the Wizards being the team that gave up the draft pick. And a few of them ironically included players who are now in Washington.

February 22, 2017: Wizards traded lottery-protected 2017 first round pick (Jarrett Allen was selected), Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton to the Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough

Takeaway: This may be the best comp for a potential Bertans trade because Bogdanovic was on an expiring deal and acquired by a playoff contender at the time looking for a bench shooter. Though Bogdanovic is now a better player than Bertans, at the time he was on the level Bertans is now.

This trade also offers an ideal scenario for the Wizards in that the Nets got a really good player out of it with their draft pick. Allen is one of the game's best young rim protectors.

February 14, 2017: Raptors traded 2017 first round pick (Anzejs Pasecniks was selected) and Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka

Takeaway: Though Ibaka was and is better than Bertans, this type of deal in a basic sense might appeal to the Wizards. The Magic got a first round pick and a quality bench player in Ross. The Magic then used that pick in a separate deal.

February 23, 2017: Rockets traded a 2017 first round pick (Tony Bradley was selected) and Corey Brewer to the Lakers for Lou Williams

Takeaway: Williams, though more accomplished than Bertans, was acquired for the same reason that may make Bertans attractive to teams right now. He is a proven bench scorer with the ability to change the momentum of games. And like the Ibaka deal, the Lakers got both a pick and a serviceable player. If the Wizards could get a first round pick and a player who could help them, that might be hard to pass up.

February 18, 2016: Wizards traded a top-9 protected 2016 first round pick (Georgios Papagiannis was selected), DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries to the Suns for Markieff Morris

Takeaway: Morris had the pedigree of a recent first round pick with upside, but Bertans might be a more appealing trade piece at the moment. Morris had some off-court issues and a public dispute with an assistant coach and that affected his stock. The Suns getting a pick that was only top-9 protected was an impressive return, even if they didn't make much of it.

February 19, 2015: Three-team deal in which the Celtics traded a top-10 protected 2016 first round pick (Skal Labissiere was selected) to the Suns, the Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, the Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to the Pistons and the Pistons traded Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko to the Celtics.

Takeaway: This one is complicated by the fact three teams were involved. Also, Thomas was a better player than Bertans. But the framework of this deal is worth examining given the potential for the Wizards to get another team involved if they decide to part with him.

October 25, 2013: Wizards traded a top-12 protected 2014 first round pick and Emeka Okafor to the Suns for Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall.

Takeaway: Yet another trade where the Wizards dealt a first round pick in a win-now move. This one had some throw-in pieces, but Gortat could be seen as a similar level player relative to his position as Bertans is now. And a top-12 protected first round pick would arguably be a solid return for the Latvian Laser.

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Elena Delle Donne has successful surgery, should be ready for 2020 season

Elena Delle Donne has successful surgery, should be ready for 2020 season

Elena Delle Donne had successful surgery to repair three herniated discs in her back, the team announced on Wednesday.

The "minor surgery" took place on Friday, Jan. 24 and was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, Texas. Delle Donne's timetable is unknown but will be reevaluated around the Mystics training camp in May. She is anticipated to be available for the season opener on May 16.

The Mystics forward suffered the injury during the WNBA Finals. After only playing in the opening minutes of Game 2, she missed the rest of the game. An MRI revealed that she had a herniated disc in her back. It was her third injury in all of her three WNBA Finals appearances.

Still, through the pain, the 2019 WNBA MVP helped her team win their first title. 

Once the Mystics won the WNBA Championship, Natasha Cloud proudly announced that Delle Donne actually had three herniated discs

This surgery will likely limit her availability for playing with the U.S. Women's National Team as they begin their pre-Olympic training, exhibitions and qualifying events. She has yet to appear in any of the 2019-20 events due to her injury.

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