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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to L.A. Clippers despite John Wall's 41 points

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to L.A. Clippers despite John Wall's 41 points

LOS ANGELES -- With a chance to take advantage of losses by the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors on Wednesday to improve their standing in the East, the Wizards couldn’t overcome a 19-point deficit in a 133-124 loss to the L.A. Clippers at Staples Center.

The teams split the season series 1-1. It was the second game of a back-to-back for Washington, playing its final set of the season.

John Wall had his third consecutive game of 30 or more points (game-high 41, eight assists, seven rebounds) to lead Washington, followed by Bradley Beal (27 points, four assists), Jason Smith (14 points, eight rebounds) and Markieff Morris (14 points).

The issue for the Wizards (46-29) wasn’t offense. They shot better than 50% from the field for most of the game and made 13 of 34 three-pointers, or 38.2%, and even rebounded on the level with a 43-41 edge.

They couldn’t defend J.J Redick (31 points), Chris Paul (27 points, 13 assists), Blake Griffin (26 points, nine assists, 10 rebounds), DeAndre Jordan (23 points, 18 rebounds) or Jamal Crawford (14 points).

The Wizards opened strong and took a five-point lead but that quickly wilted.

The pace was furious and literally came down to stops. The Wizards couldn’t rebound from double digits to win for the 17th time.

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 6 - Oubre goes 1-on-1]

--The 74 first-half points allowed were a season high, one more than the Wizards allowed the Milwaukee Bucks in a blowout road loss in December when they were sub-.500. The Clippers shot 27 of 46 from the field, or 58.7%, and were 14 of 18 from the free-throw line. Four starters were in double figures by halftime, while Paul was two assists and Jordan two rebounds from double-doubles.

--The Wizards were successful in their 117-110 comeback in on Dec. 18 because they were able to take away options. They gave up Griffin’s mid-range jumper if it meant fewer shots for Paul and Redick. He took 21 which was seven more than Redick and six more than Paul.

--The whistles were seemingly endless, and the Wizards did their part to earn them. Ian Mahinmi (five points, eight rebounds) picked up his second and third fouls in a 33-second span. Morris picked up his third foul at 7:11 of the second quarter. Beal picked up his third with 37.4 seconds left.

--Marcin Gortat’s funk continued as he missed his first three shots. With a chance to push the lead to 11-5, Gortat missed a dunk over Griffin that led to a run out dunk for the Clippers forward that trimmed Washington’s lead to 9-7 instead. Gortat (six points, four rebounds) only played 19 minutes.

--Morris picked up his ninth technical foul when he tangled with Griffin late in the third. Before that, Mahinmi was assessed a technical on a jump ball for arguing a no-call. It was Mahinmi’s first this season. Morris was ejected at 3:44 of the third when he picked up another technical for what appeared to be a delay-of-game call after Jordan was fouled on a drive. Wall drew his fourth foul at 2:18 on a drive in the third and was hidden on Luc Mbah a Moute, the weakest offensive player, to protect him.

--The Wizards made a run to start the fourth quarter when Clippers coach Doc Rivers rolled out an elderly lineup by NBA standards. Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson, Jamal Crawford, Ray Felton and Mo Speights were no match athletically for the likes of Kelly Oubre (10 points, six rebounds), Bojan Bogdanovic (three points) and Beal. Wall returned and knocked down a jumper and the deficit was down to 114-108.

--Bogdanovic had an open look that could’ve pulled the Wizards to 121-117 with a three-pointer in the last four minutes but like most of his shots lately it was long. He was 1-for-4 from three. He was pulled for Smith. Bogdanovic entered the game 1-for-14 in his previous four games played.

-- Otto Porter (four points) only played 24 minutes. He shot just 2 of 6 and missed his only three-pointer.

--Beal made 5 of 11 three-pointers. He entered the game with 204 and needed two to break the single-season record of 205 set twice by Gilbert Arenas. He surpassed that with a pair of threes in the first half. 

--Beal scored 41 points in the first meeting, the same as Wall tonight. But with their best set-up man having to carry the offensive burden it meant Porter, Gortat and Morris likely weren't playing their best and it was in a loss. And they weren't. They combined to shoot 9-for-19, 10 rebounds, four attempted free throws and five assists.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Beal sets Wizards franchise record for threes]

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Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

If the rest of the 2019-20 regular season is canceled, the NBA may be able to keep up to 25 percent of the salaries its players receive after April 1, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

League officials are in discussions with the National Basketball Players Association about a deal that would amend the collective bargaining agreement to give players a greater share of the financial damage inflicted by the coronavirus outbreak that’s put the current season on hold.

Wojnarowski writes that while the NBA has “no plans to announce the cancellation of games in the immediate future,” it’s preparing for all scenarios, including one in which coronavirus isn’t contained in time to salvage the regular season.

The NBA has already been withholding 10 percent of the players’ salaries with the promise of paying out the remaining 90 percent through April 1. In accordance with the CBA’s Force Majeure provision (reserved for catastrophic events), that money has been held by the NBA with a certain percentage slotted to be returned to teams at the end of the year depending on how much revenue is lost.

However, it appears the 10 percent cut has not been sufficient for softening the blow dealt by the season’s suspension. Per Wojnarowski, Commissioner Adam Silver and about 100 top league officials have already agreed to 20 percent pay cut. With team owners handling their own financial ramifications, the league is hoping for its players to help alleviate that burden and prevent the NBA from having to recoup additional percentages from the players after the season.

The purpose of the Force Majeure is to prevent the salary cap and luxury tax from taking a nosedive next season and beyond. By recouping additional salary, teams would be in better standing for spending relatively close to what they’ve done the past few years.

If the two sides don’t come to an agreement, players could owe back portions of their salaries at the end of the season. In an effort to avoid seizing past salaries, the league is asking the NBPA to agree to a deal while working on a plan to help players budget their spending based on reduced incomes.

As much as the NBA would like to resume its regular season in some fashion, the coronavirus pandemic has entirely changed the outlook—both logistically and financially—of professional sports in 2020 for the worst. Everything the league does now is just part of an effort to limit the damage as best it can.

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Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

NBA fans will get a chance to watch some of their favorite players go head-to-head once again, just not in the setting we're used to. 

With the regular season under suspension, the NBA announced the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament, featuring 16 players who will play each other in NBA 2K20 for $100,000 donated to coronavirus support efforts. 

The tournament will begin on April 3 on ESPN and will include the following players seeded 1-through-16 based first on their 2K rating and second on their seniority in the league:

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (96)
2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (90)
3. Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (87)
4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (87)
5. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (86)
6. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers (85)
7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (85)
8. Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (85)
9. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (85)
10. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (85)
11. DeMarcus Cousins (81)
12. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (81)
13. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (79)
14. Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (78)
15. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (78)
16. Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (78)

Each player will choose eight current NBA teams to use before the tournament starts, though they can only use each of their selections once. The first two rounds are single elimination, while the semifinals and finals will be best of three. 

Wizards standout rookie Rui Hachimura enters the tournament as the No. 13 seed and will begin the tournament against Utah's All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell Friday. Mitchell may have a higher 2K rating and status in the league, but there's no telling where either player's 2K skills stand. 

Hachimura could very well take Mitchell down and set up a showdown with the winner of Andre Drummond vs. DeMarcus Cousins. 

The first round will begin Friday and run through the weekend, with the second round airing next Tuesday and the semifinals and finals wrapping up the tournament on Saturday, April 11. 

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