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Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Brooklyn Nets

Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN – Going from playing the best team in the East to the worst team in the NBA represents a huge “trap” game for anybody, but especially the Wizards after an overtime loss that should’ve been a victory.

Wednesday, the Wizards handed Brooklyn (9-44) its 11th consecutive loss 114-110 but it required to going into overtime again in a game that was far more difficult than expected behind the 32nd double-double from John Wall (23 points, 12 assists, six rebounds) and Bradley Beal’s game-high (31 points).

Marcin Gortat produced his 30th double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds), Jason Smith (15 points, eight rebounds) and Otto Porter (20 points, 10 rebounds) contributed heavily.

The Wizards (31-21) win the season series 3-0 with one meeting remaining. Two nights ago, the Wizards lost 140-135 to the Cavaliers to end a 17-game home win streak.

They led by as much as 43-30 in the first half and appeared on their way to an easy victory in which they could rest starters. But turnovers (17) led to the Nets getting help to get back in it. They had a big edge in second-chance points (26-18) because of their offensive rebounds (15).

Brook Lopez (20 points, six rebounds) missed on his drive to the basket but was allowed to tap in his own miss to tie the score at 89.  The Nets missed several other chances on open shots to take the lead but it was a dunk from Gortat that broke a 98-98 tie and then he took a charge from Lopez with 1:20 left to negate a basket and foul out the big man.

The Wizards, however, never were able to quite put them away. Bogan Bogdanovic (team-high 21 points) got Gortat on a switch and banked in a shot to tie the score at 100 to produce overtime.

[RELATED: Defense separates Wall & Beal from other tandems]

Brooklyn led twice in the extra session but putbacks by Porter on three offensive rebounds kept the Wizards alive. His two free throws with 1:21 left put the Wizards on top for good.

Bogdanovic missed a three that could’ve tied the score at 113 with 2.9 seconds left. Like vs. Cleveland when LeBron James tied it with a three on an inbounds, the Wizards opted not to foul.

--Smith was the key in helping the Wizards get back on top in the fourth. After Wall missed a jumper with the score tied at 91, Smith grabbed the offensive rebound. Smith also cleaned up a missed jumper from Porter and got to the line for two foul shots to break the tie. Smith also grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic on the next possession as his team went up 95-91. It wasn’t until the final three minutes that he was subbed out for the starter, Kelly Oubre.

--When these teams played here Dec. 5, Brooklyn scored 65 points in the first half and led by 15 points. The Wizards kept them to 49 this time and trailed most of the way after they were down 18-16. When they played in D.C. on Dec. 30, the Wizards won 118-95 behind 27 from Trey Burke. 

--Ian Mahinmi (two points, five rebounds) played in his first game since Nov. 26 and logged five minutes in the first half. He made his only shot (his first field goal in Washington) and picked up three fouls. Mahinmi is foul prone, but the plan for him is to play 10-12 minutes per game likely until the All-Star break. Mahinmi showed what he can do when it comes to helping and contesting in the paint. With him on the floor, the Wizards went from being up just 74-72 to 79-72 entering the fourth. It was a modest bump but the breathing room was needed nonetheless. On the first possession of the fourth, Mahinmi went vertical on help vs. Trevor Booker to force a bad miss. Burke (seven points, two assists) added a three-pointer after that for a 10-point lead.

---Markieff Morris (right calf) was a scratch because of soreness. He has had issues with his right ankle and foot earlier in the season but missed only one game because of it. This likely was more of a precautionary move because of the opponent. If this were the Cleveland Cavaliers, Morris would be in the lineup. Oubre started but was out of sync (0 points) in 34 minutes.

--Following a turnover in the inbounds, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was assessed a technical foul for the second game in a row and it gave the Nets a free throw to cut the deficit to 86-83 with 7:34 left. Booker then had a layup to trim the deficit to one and Brooks called a timeout. That’ll cost him $2,000. Very little was called both ways when the game was on the line and played at a breakneck pace. At halftime, despite the attacking efforts of Wall and Beal off the dribble they combined to shoot 0 free throws.

--After shooting 4-for-10 on free throws in the first half (facing Nets superfan Mr. Whammy), the Wizards went 21-for-23 in the second half on the other end (away from Mr. Whammy. Wall’s foul shot in the end made it a two-possession game to seal the victory. Coincidence?

[RELATED: State of the Wizards: 3-point defense getting better]

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Lakers reportedly showing interesting in ex-Wizards centers Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat

Lakers reportedly showing interesting in ex-Wizards centers Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat

With the search on to find some replacement depth following DeMarcus Cousins' ACL injury, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently evaluating all options and available players. In the group of potential matches, there's no shortage of players with D.C. ties.

First, it was center Dwight Howard who appeared on the radar. It was reported on Sunday that the Lakers were preparing to open up discussions with the 33-year old center. Howard, who played for L.A. during the 2012-13 season, only appeared in nine games for the Wizards last season while dealing with injury issues.

But, he's not the only former-Wizard in the discussions. A new report states that while the Lakers are preparing to host a workout for Howard, they will also potentially be giving Marcin Gortat a look, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gortat spent the 2018-19 campaign with the Los Angeles Clippers averaging 5.0 points per game and 5.6 rebounds in 47 games. Prior to that, he spent five seasons in Washington, proving to be a valuable asset at times. The 35-year old averaged at least 10 points and eight rebounds in four of his five years with the Wizards.

It's still relatively unknown who the Lakers will go with when it comes time to add depth, but there seems to be a good chance that a former-Wizard could be joining Lebron and company for the upcoming season. 

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7 stats that define John Wall's history-making career (so far)

7 stats that define John Wall's history-making career (so far)

This week is Wall Week at NBC Sports Washington. We are rolling out content each day centering around the Wizards' five-time All-Star point guard. Today, we take a deep dive into the numbers to illustrate Wall's career in Washington so far...

**Wall's career averages of 19.0 points and 9.2 assists put him in elite company. Only three other players in league history have averaged at least 19 and nine with at least 500 games played; Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas. Only Johnson and Robertson have also averaged at least four rebounds in addition, like Wall has.

**Wall is already well-represented on the Wizards/Bullets franchise's all-time leaderboards. He is first in career assists (5,282) and steals (976), second in free throws (2,456), third in points (10,879) and minutes played (20,545) and fourth in threes made (539). He is already third all-time in VORP (value over replacement player), a cumulative stat similar to WAR (wins above replacement) in baseball. Only Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes accrued more while in Washington.

**Wall has also put up some of the best individual seasons in franchise history. He has the No. 1, 3, 4 and 7 highest assist totals with his best year the 2016-17 season when he dished out 831. 

**Wall's 2016-17 campaign was also the only season in franchise history where a player averaged 20-plus points and 10-plus assists. He has 111 20-point, 10-assist games in his career which is by far the most in franchise history. Second on the list is Rod Strickland with 43. Gilbert Arenas is third with 24.

**Wall has 396 career blocks. Only six guards in NBA history have recorded more. Those six are Dwayne Wade (885), Clyde Drexler (719), Dennis Johnson (675), Jason Kidd (450), Kendall Gill (432) and Latrell Sprewell (399). Only Johnson and Kidd played most of their time at point guard, so Wall is third all-time at his position.

**Wall's 5,282 career assists are fifth among active players. Only Chris Paul (9,181), LeBron James (8,662), Rajon Rondo (6,975) and Russell Westbrook (5,701) have more.

**Unfortunately, injuries have significantly affected Wall's last two seasons. He has played a combined 73 regular season games the past two years. For context, he has played the same amount of games as Gordon Hayward, who appeared in just one game in 2017-18. And DeMarcus Cousins, despite going through a full rehab from a torn Achilles during that time, played in more games (78) than Wall.

NBA.com and Basketball Reference were used in this research

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