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Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Kings, Beal's big night

Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Kings, Beal's big night

Not much had been going right for the Wizards, who were turnover- and foul-prone from the opening tip Monday. But they one-upped the Sarcamento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins with Bradley Beal in a 101-95 overtime win.

Cousins (36 points, 20 rebounds) made some difficult shots being defended mostly by Marcin Gortat away from the rim, but Beal shot 7-for-13 from three-point range to lead the Wizards with 31 points. His seven threes are a new career-high.

The Wizards (6-10) had 24 turnovers in a game that had no flow for the first three quarters. Their defense then took over from there, holding the Kings to 20 points in the fourth quarter and just three points in overtime.

Otto Porter (15 points, 8 rebounds), John Wall (19 points, 11 assists) and Kelly Oubre (10 points, 10 rebounds) filled out the box score behind Beal.

Rudy Gay (18 points) and Ty Lawson (12 points) also contributed for Sacramento (7-11).

-- Perhaps forcing the issue too much in an attempt to get whistles and to the foul line, Wall had eight turnovers in the first half alone, accounting for more than half of their 14 at that point. He only had two free throws to show for it. That Garrett Temple, a defensive specialist who spent four-plus seasons in D.C., is now with Sacramento might’ve had something to do with the preparation. Wall ended up with 11 in the game.

--Porter, Marcin Gortat and Jason Smith each had three fouls before halftime. Twenty-five personal fouls were issued in just two quarters, as well as three technical (Scott Brooks, Gortat and Wall) which led to 36 free throws. In all, there were 47 fouls called and 52 free throws.

-- Beal had gone two games – a total of 76 minutes – without a foul shot. In the first three quarters here, he played 26 minutes and was in attack mode. Even though the officials were liberal blowing the whistle, Beal still hadn’t attempted one. At the three-minute mark of the fourth, Beal finally went but missed both. It ended a 108-minute drought, but he didn't get to the stripe again in the game.

-- The Wizards regained the lead 74-72 entering the fourth because of Smith’s best stretch of play this season. He knocked down a mid-range jumper when the Kings doubled Tomas Satornasky when he tried to post Lawson. Then Smith blocked Lawson on the other end which sparked a transition layup from Wall to tie the score at 72. With 44 seconds left in the third, Smith drew a charge on Gay to negate a possession.

--Marcus Thornton didn’t play, denoting a possible change in the rotation for Brooks.

-- Oubre had trouble staying on the court recently because Brooks said he wasn’t ready when he entered. That’s why he has had a quick hook in the previous game with San Antonio. That wasn’t an issue as he contributed immediately more with his effort and defense. He went up for an offensive rebound on a miss by Trey Burke and swatted it out. Beal drained a three to put the Wizards up 82-78 with 8:39 left in the fourth. Oubre’s two free throws for an 88-80 lead gave him his first career double-double. 


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With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

With Wizards and Bulls squaring off, what are the early returns on the Otto Porter Jr. trade?

Forty two days have passed since the Feb. 6 trade between the Wizards and the Bulls, a deal that started a new era of sorts in Washington with the departure of Otto Porter Jr., a former third overall pick who had stuck with the franchise for a second contract. 

Though the confusion of that first night, as the Wizards informed Porter just before a game against the Bucks, has passed, both teams are still sorting things out and evaluating what they have as the end of the season nears.

Porter won't play on Wednesday night due to a shoulder injury as the Wizards battle the Bulls in Chicago at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. But as these teams square off now over a month later, it seems like a good time to look at how the deal has gone for them so far.

Basically, neither team has really taken off. The Wizards are 8-9 since the trade and the Bulls are 8-10. Porter has put up strong numbers, but has missed time due to various injuries. Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis, the two players the Wizards acquired from Chicago, have also improved from their season stats while ostensibly benefiting from a change in scenery.

Porter averaged 12.6 points and shot 45.7 from the field and 36.9 percent from three with the Wizards this season. With the Bulls, he has put up 17.5 points while shooting 48.3 percent overall and 48.8 percent from long range. 

Perhaps most notable is the fact he's taking 13.4 total shots and 5.3 per game from three. Both would be career-highs if held for an entire season. For years, the narrative about him in D.C. was that he either wasn't aggressive enough to create his own shots or the Wizards failed him by not running plays with him in mind.

Parker has simply been much more efficient with the Wizards than he was in Chicago. He's averaging about the same amount of points - 14.8 compared to 14.3 with the Bulls - but his effective field goal percentage has raised from 51.4 to 60.7. The latter would rank seventh in the NBA if it qualified for leaderboards.

Portis is putting up 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds, both of which would be career-highs if carried for a full season. And he's shooting 45.6 percent from three, well above the 37.5 percent clip he posted in Chicago this year.

Both teams, interestingly enough, have seen a surge on offense. The Bulls are 23rd on the season in points scored (105.3), but since adding Porter are ninth, averaging nearly 10 more points per game (115). The Wizards are seventh on the season points (114.4), but since the deal top the entire league with 117.5 per game. 

Defensively, it has been a different story. Both the Wizards and Bulls rank in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive rating. Both teams were bad at defending before the deals and haven't shown improvement.

This trade, of course, will ultimately be judged for what happens well beyond this season. The Wizards gave up a valuable asset in Porter, who is only 25 and is under contract for two more years, albeit at arguably a steep price for his production. His contract loomed large in Washington, but can be viewed differently in Chicago because of their otherwise cheap roster of young talent.

Parker and Portis are both likely to hit free agency this offseason, Portis as a restricted free agent. Parker has a team option, but at $20 million it is unlikely to be picked up.

The Wizards could keep both of them, one or neither of them this offseason. And whichever way they go will significantly affect the way the trade is evaluated. If they part with either, the financial flexibility they will then get will have bearing on how the deal is graded.

But for now, both teams seem to be doing well with the pieces they got. All three have improved their numbers in the short period of time they have played with their new teams.


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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

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The complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season

As Chase Hughes writes, it's been quite a year for the Wizards' roster due to injuries and trades. How many of these names can you list without checking?

Here's the complete list of players who have suited up for the Wizards this season:

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Dwight Howard
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Austin Rivers
Ian Mahinmi
Jeff Green
Tomas Satoransky
Chasson Randle
Jordan McRae
Devin Robinson
Troy Brown Jr.
Thomas Bryant
John Jenkins
Wesley Johnson
Jabari Parker
Bobby Portis
Sam Dekker
Ron Baker
Gary Payton II
Okaro White
Jason Smith
Trevor Ariza

Read more here.