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Takeaways from the Wizards road win vs. Hornets

Takeaways from the Wizards road win vs. Hornets

For the first time this season the Wizards return from a road trip with a winning record after dominating the Charlotte Hornets throughout Monday night, 109-99.

John Wall (game-high 24 points, seven assists, four rebounds) got Washington out to a fast start as he knocked down jumper after jumper for a 60-48 halftime lead. Markieff Morris (23 points, seven rebounds) was followed by Bradley Beal (18 points, five rebounds, four assists), Otto Porter (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (10 points).

The Wizards (24-20) opened the three-game road trip with a win at the New York Knicks and lost on a buzzer-beater to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Charlotte (23-22) was on a three-game win streak that included a 35-point rout of the Toronto Raptors.

Kemba Walker (21 points) led them but shot just 7-for-24 from the field. Marco Belinelli (18 points) came off the bench to help close the gap but it wasn’t enough. Charlotte shot 35 of 90, or 38.9%.

The Wizards are 10-1 when holding opponents to less than 100 points.  In previous road trips of more than one game, they were 0-2 (three times) and 1-2 (twice).

They lead the season series 2-0 vs. Charlotte. With two more meetings left for the Southeast division rival, one more win gives Washington the season series and the playoff-seeding tiebreaker.

[RELATED: Wizards' Satoransky throws down crazy dunk in practice]

-- After the Hornets chopped what had been a 14-point deficit with 2:51 left in the third to 80-74 entering the fourth, the Wizards made 9 of 11 shots to keep their lead safe.

-- This may have been Trey Burke’s best game off the bench. He scored 27 for a season-high vs. Brooklyn, but he has never run the offense better, particularly in the pick-and-roll with Morris.  Ramon Sessions (nine points) appeared on the verge of bringing Charlotte back against his former team when his three-pointer cut the deficit to 35-31. But Burke (six points, four assists) had a behind-the-back assist to Morris in traffic for the finish, had a stepback jumper and then another on a pullup. It was a stretch for the Wizards when they made 6 of 7 shots. Burke was 3-for-3 but it's what he did to create for others, too, that set this performance apart from his others. 

--Beal went without a field goal or a point until his three-pointer late in the second quarter gave them a 55-4 lead. Beal heated up in the third quarter when he added three threes. It was Beal’s creation off the dribble, however, that aided his team in pulling away. Nicolas Batum (four points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (eight points) did their best to keep him in check. But Oubre popped open for clean looks from the arc where he shot 2-for-3. The second one put the Wizards up 91-77. Oubre had a steal as he denied the passing lane to Batum on Frank Kaminsky’s pass to earn a breakaway dunk

--Porter had his seventh double-double, which is two more than he had in his previous three NBA seasons.

--Hornets coach Steve Clifford pointed to the Wizards’ 41-33 rebounding advantage in the first meeting at Verizon Center on Dec. 14 as being the key to victory. The Wizards won in that area again, 47-43. 

[RELATED: DeMarcus Cousins threw a trashcan after Kings' loss]

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?