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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Dallas Mavericks

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Dallas Mavericks

More important than the result for the Wizards, a 112-107 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, is that point guard John Wall is OK after having to limp off the court at Verizon Center.

Wall (26 points, 11 assists) helped the Wizards (41-26) take a 57-53 lead at the half, but he came down awkwardly as Nerlens Noel (12 points) challenged his shot in transition. It appeared that his left foot pinned under him and he stayed down.

He left with 1:37 left under his own power and returned to start the third quarter, but his 44th double-double wasn’t enough to stop a furious comeback by Dallas.

Bradley Beal (24 points) was right behind Wall and Bojan Bogdanovic (19 points) and Otto Porter (14 pointts, 10 rebounds, five assists) contributed as they lost the season series with Dallas (29-38) 2-0. Bogdanovic ended a 35-13 run with a three to cut the deficit to 97-90 for Washington.

Harrison Barnes (22 points, nine rebounds) led the Mavericks, followed by Dirk Nowitzki (20 points) and Seth Curry (18 points).

The Wizards took a 74-62 lead in the third quarter but couldn’t sustain. Curry stole an outlet pass and went uncovered for a three-pointer and then Nowitzki hit a mid-range jumper for a 89-87 lead. Nicolas Brussino (11 points) followed with a three to force a timeout with 5:58 left.

Brussino had another three over Marcin Gortat (eight points, 10 rebounds) as he hesitated to close him out at the top of the key.

Nowitzki sealed it with a three at 1:33 to take a 104-95 lead.

[RELATED: John Wall injured on play under basket vs. Mavs]

-- The defensive lapses continued. In the first half, Dallas shot 20 of 39, or 51.3%. Covering pindown screens remain problematic. When the defender is trailing, for instance Porter against Curry because he’s been screened, the help from the big to contest the look isn’t there. It’s an area that has to be cleaned up because while Gortat might be reluctant to leave his man to allow him to slip to the rim for a dunk, the timing has to be better where he can do both. Ian Mahinmi had difficulty in this area, too.

--Nowitzki, like in the first meeting, played mostly as a center. It’s not the strength of his game but he presents a matchup problem because Gortat has to defend him at the arc. But Nowitzki has to defend him in the low post. While Gortat’s stats were modest, Dallas did double-team to help and that created open looks on the pass out.

--Markieff Morris (five points, six rebounds) was saddled with foul trouble as he picked up his fifth early with 7:37 left in the fourth quarter. 

--Brandon Jennings (three points, four assists) made his first three-pointer since joining the Wizards, but the second unit didn’t play as well as it had recently.  Jason Smith (zero points) missed both of his shot attempts. Jennings running the half-court offense still doesn't look like a proper fit. He does better in the open court.

--Kelly Oubre, who only played 39 seconds in the last game, didn’t make an appearance.

[RELATED: How did 2016-17 Wizards players do in their March Madness appearances]

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Current, former NBA players to Zion Williamson after knee injury: Sit out until the NBA draft

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Current, former NBA players to Zion Williamson after knee injury: Sit out until the NBA draft

Duke's freshman forward Zion Williamson is the biggest name in college basketball. So big, that if you just say 'Zion' people automatically know who you are talking about.

When the 18-year-old phenom slipped and tore through his Nike sneaker Wednesday night against North Carolina resulting in him suffering what coach Mike Krzyzewski called a "mild right knee sprain," questions about protecting his future arose.

Expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, seeing Williamson go down and unable to return now has current and former NBA players calling for him to sit out the remainder of the season to protect his stock.

Duke felt the loss of Williamson as the Tar Heels went on to win 88-72. How much time Williamson will miss will become clearer Thursday, but is sitting out the season something he should, and will, consider?

Earlier this month, Williamson told Sports Hub Triad‘s Josh Graham that he didn't commit to Duke just to sit on the sideline.

“I just can’t stop playing," Williamson said. "I’d be letting my teammates down. I’d be letting Coach K down. I’d be letting a lot of people down. If I wanted to sit out, I wouldn’t have went to college. I came to Duke to play.”

Heading into Wednesday's rivalry, the freshman was averaging 21.6 points-per-game, 8.8 total rebounds and a 68.3 field goal percentage. Ranked No. 1 in college basketball, a national championship appearance with him at the forefront is likely. 

Williamson does have a $8 million loss of value insurance policy that Duke paid for should he be selected 16th or later in the NBA draft, according to The Action Network's Darren Rovell. Injury or not, it's unlikely he would even drop that far. 

Former NBA star Scottie Pippen suggested Williamson shut it down for this very reason back in January.

"I think he's done enough for basketball, college basketball, that it's more about him personally now," Pippen said on ESPN's The Jump. "I think for him as a young player that I would shut it down. I would stop playing because I feel that he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career." 

The extent and significance of his injury will become clearer over the next few weeks, but don't expect this debate to be settled any time soon.


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Barack Obama had front row seat to Zion Williamson injury: 'His show broke'

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Barack Obama had front row seat to Zion Williamson injury: 'His show broke'

Former President Barack Obama is just like us.

While attending Wednesday night's North Carolina vs. Duke game, Obama had a front-row seat to Zion Williamson's wild shoe-breaking move. He was just as shocked as the rest of us.

Just 36 seconds into one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball, Williamson was making a move towards the basket when his left foot slipped. Trying to find enough balance to counter his collapsing leg, the 6-foot-7, 285 pound player took to his right leg causing his sneaker to completely tear apart. Zion, who is a big enough superstar that he can be recognized just by his first name, then left the game and did not return with what Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski described as a "mild right knee sprain." 

Zion's rookie season has been headlined by his monster-like ability, but tearing a Nike shoe apart is something not even the 44th President of the United States has seen before.

After the game, Obama tweeted his well wishes to the 18-year-old. 

Duke felt the loss of Zion as the Tar Heels went on to win 88-72. How much time the predicted No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft will miss will become clearer Thursday. Duke heads up to No. 7 Syracuse Saturday.

"When you lose the leading candidate for national player of the year, you have a lot of adjusting to do," Coach K said after the game.