Wizards

Quick Links

Takeaways from Wizards' overtime loss to Thunder

Takeaways from Wizards' overtime loss to Thunder

The Wizards came close to making history. They had their best chance to win a game in Oklahoma City, battling back from a 16-point deficit in the first half in coach Scott Brooks' return to where he was fired in 2015. 

They lost it, however, as Russell Westbrook buried a three-pointer to force overtime where the Thunder won 126-115 on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Arena.

The Thunder (12-8) erased a seven-point deficit in the fourth and Westbrook's three-point shot was his first of the game.  

Bradley Beal (31 points) led the Wizards and the other four starters contributed. Markieff Morris (19 points), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds), John Wall (15 points, 15 assists) and Otto Porter (11 points, 8 rebounds) provided a balanced effort. 

Westbrook (35 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists) was held mostly in check until the sparked an 8-0 run to start the extra period and the Wizards couldn't recover. 

The Wizards (6-11) played better defensively in the second half and a three-pointer from Beal put them up 97-90 as the momentum shifted by the midpoint of the fourth quarter. But Beal made a crucial mistake late.

Needing a three-pointer to tie the score with 17 seconds left, Westbrook got free. Beal sank too deep in the paint against Westbrook who sprinted back to the arc for the open look to tie the score.

-- The Wizards ran a pick-and-roll to end regulation and Wall had a shot at the rim to win it. He got a mismatch on Jerami Grant in the paint and instead of taking a floater or trying to force the issue one step deeper to get to the rim, Wall passed it back to Morris who'd set the screen. The ball ended up in the hands of Porter who did have a clean look. 

-- When Gortat is playing one-on-one defense, he's at his best lately. His low-post battle with Steven Adams (12 points, six rebounds) solid. He bodied up the physical big man for the Thunder, didn't cede ground and mad it tough. Adams can shoot jump hooks for either block with either hand. Gortat pushed him out farther than he'd like from his sweet spot, prevented the full extension on the shot and contested. 

-- For the second game in a row, Kelly Oubre (12 points, 6 rebounds) had energy that was vital. The Wizards were able to cut the deficit by more than half as they trailed 60-63 at halftime. He made two foul shots as he was fouled on a drive.  He had a steal and finish in transition for a layup. When the Wizards surged late in the third quarter, Oubre nailed a three-pointer. He hit another one early in the fourth for a 89-86 lead. But aside from his stats, it was the ball pressure and the problems he caused the Thunder in disrupting their offense with deflections. 

-- Westbrook was held to 12-for-35 shooting. The key? The Wizards sent multiple bodies at him. They didn't overcommit by trapping him on pick-and-rolls. Instead, they played containment, gave him the three-point shot which is the weakness of his game and sealed off the paint. But Westbrook's effort plays that included battling for a rebound for a missed foul shot in overtime and the putback was the difference. 

-- Without Ian Mahinmi (right knee), Wizards won the rebounding battle 48-47 with the NBA's top rebounding team. They also were plus-two on the offensive side with 11 which is how they came back and made it a game. Wall and Beal combined to grab 11 and Morris and Porter had 15. 

[RELATED: Wizards rookie has wrist fracture, out at least 6 weeks]

Quick Links

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

d_urkgcw4aaj24o.jpg
Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

gettyimages-1128423981-612x612.jpg
Getty Images

Washington Wizards hire assistant coach Michael Longabardi to Scott Brooks coaching staff

The Wizards sought to add an assistant coach with a strong defensive track record this offseason and they did just that Saturday evening by hiring Michael Longabardi, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. 

Longardi, 46, has spent the last three seasons as a defensive coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers' staff. He was initially hired by former Cavs' head coach Tyronn Lue in 2016 when the team claimed their first championship in franchise history. 

Before joining the Cavaliers, Longabardi held assistant coaching roles with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, and most notably the Boston Celtics, in which he and Lue served under head coach Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau from 2007 to 2013.

Longabardi was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Xaverian High School, a private Catholic school. He then went on to play basketball at Newberry College where he earned the nickname "Mr. Defense."

Just a day after reports broke that Tommy Sheppard would be promoted to a permanent general manager position, the organization is making yet another move in hopes of improving overall culture and team defense.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: