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Takeaways from Wizards' rout of Knicks to snap losing streak

Takeaways from Wizards' rout of Knicks to snap losing streak

The chicken soup the Wizards were in need of curing their sickness following an unspeakable loss to the Philadelphia 76ers turned out to be the New York Knicks, and they gained a 119-112 victory on Thursday at Verizon Center.

John Wall overcame a slow start on 1-for-6 shooting to post a double-double (23 points, 11 assists) in restricted minutes in the second game of a back-to-back (31). In his return after missing three games with a thigh strain, Bradley Beal (18 points, five assists) played 29 minutes. Otto Porter (21 points) did the job on both ends and Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) was effective in the pick-and-roll. 

Marcus Thornton (13 points) led a bench that combined to score 31 points.

Derrick Rose (27 points) led the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony (19 points) was 1-for-8 on three-point attempts. 

The Wizards (3-8) blew this game open in the third quarter with a 35-23 outburst to pull away after leading 52-42 at halftime.

  • The Knicks made a late run behind Brandon Jennings (17 points, 10 assists) but coach Scott Brooks went back to Wall who made consecutive baskets to hold off the charge.  And Wall made sure to remind Jennings of his behavior in a preseason game when he taunted free agent Casper Ware by excessively clapping in his face to taunt him. 
     
  • Anthony had his season-high (37) at Verizon last season, where he bullied Porter in the mid-post and couldn’t miss. Anthony had 10 points in the first half but was just 3 of 8 shooting, including 0-for-3 on threes.Through three quarters, he was 0-for-6 from deep.  Porter not only did a better job of handling his strength but disrupting his jumper before he got the ball high to release. Porter's ability to defend him one-on-one allowed the Wizards to not take risks defensively.
     
  • The pick-and-roll coverage between Rose and Joakim Noah as no match for Wall-Gortat. Wall not only got deep into the lane, he had all options open and usually that meant laying it off for his big to finish. He had eight of his assists by halftime. Having Beal sink into the weakside corner gave him options if Noah, or whichever big the Knicks had in the middle, cracked down on the roll man. And when Gortat had Porzingis on his hip in the post, he attacked him by establishing deeper position in the paint and turning into him for the shot. That got Gortat going early.
     
  • Markieff Morris’ value covering stretch fours showed again. He didn’t have the best game offensively (4-for-11, eight points), but he bothered the 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis enough to force him into tough shots. His 16 points were a far cry from the 35 Porzingis posted in the previous game. Morris didn't give him the real estate he wanted pre-catch and denied him his sweet spots on the floor. Porzingis only scored eight through three quarters as the Wizards were able to lead by as much as 27 points.
     
  • After starting Wednesday, Sheldon McClellan fell completely out of the rotation. So did Trey Burke. Brooks kept his rotation to eight and only went to Jason Smith when Gortat picked up his third foul late in the second quarter. Smith had his best game, however, making hs only two shots and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes. If Smith can provide this (and no turnovers) in spot duty, it'll be more than enough especially when Ian Mahinmi returns. 
     
  • Andrew Nicholson has been out of the rotation also, but he had a favorable matchup when the Knicks went to Willy Hernangomez in the middle. Nicholson played as the five and was able to get position and made 1 of 2 shots. Hernangomez only played 10 minutes, so Nicholson logged all six of his in the first half.

[RELATED: Marcin Gortat tweets apology to young crying Wizards fan]

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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis talks Dwyane Wade, still undecided on offseason moves

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis talks Dwyane Wade, still undecided on offseason moves

WASHINGTON -- Ted Leonsis had a front row seat to two converging storylines.

The Wizards owner was among throngs inside Capital One Arena appreciating Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade’s final game in Washington.

Leonsis also recognized the likely last gasp for his team’s playoff hopes came up short.

“They’ll make the playoffs. It doesn’t look like we’ll make the playoffs now,” Leonsis said to NBC Sports Washington following the Wizards’ loss Saturday night.

 “Hope [Dwyane] plays well,” Leonsis continued. “We’ll have to figure out what to do in the off-season.”

The loss dropped the Wizards (30-44) 6 ½ games back of the Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington only has eight regular-season games remaining.

Earlier this season Leonsis said organizational changes are in play should the Wizards fail to reach their goals, which included reaching the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons.

Asked for his current thoughts on any off-season changes, Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington, “Don’t know yet. Let’s see how they do out West. It was disappointing. We were trying to catch [Miami].”

The Wizards embark on a four-game Western Conference road trip starting Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite any frustration with the game’s conclusion and the season at-large, Leonsis appreciated Wade’s gusto on his way out. 

The 16-year veteran and 13-time All-Star announced his retirement before the season. Wade, 37, looked anything but over-the-hill late against the Wizards.

Having turned into Miami’s closer after the All-Star break, Wade scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat (36-37) fended off several Wizards rallies.

“Kind of historic, right? (Wild) that Dwyane Wade beat us tonight,” Leonsis said. “What a career, what a game. Just everything about the way he plays is beautiful. He’s really great.”

Leonsis remarked the referees overlooked an apparent traveling violation from Wade in the third quarter.

“We wanted to beat them. They played better. The no-call on Dwyane on the travel was apropos. I thought he took five steps. You say, ‘Well, that’s when you’re a Hall of Famer you get that respect,” Leonsis said respectfully. “But, good for him.”

Miami moved one game ahead of idle ninth-place Orlando in the Eastern Conference standings.

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Scott Brooks jokes that the Heat should be fined for letting Wade call it a career

Scott Brooks jokes that the Heat should be fined for letting Wade call it a career

On most occasions, elite athletes decide to finish their careers way after their skills have declined. It is uncommon for most icons to go out on their own terms. When you train your entire life to play professional basketball, it's a tough task to realize that your time has passed, and its time to move on to another venture. 

Dwyane Wade is not grouped into that category. Tonight's performance against the Wizards justified that. 

After announcing publicly last September that the 2018-19 NBA season would be his last, the news left the sports world nostalgic. Once a bright young star out of Marquette, "Flash" was must-see television.

After announcing last September that this would be his last ride in South Beach, Wade, albeit the face of the franchise, knew that this team wasn't the one he had joined when he was drafted fifth overall in June of 2003. It wasn't the squad he won his first title with in '06, or the bunch that started the "Super Team" movement. This was a collection of young prospects, journeymen, and he was a veteran presence, and no longer the marquee option. He welcomed the move to the bench and to be the veteran presence in the locker room that the team needed and has had quite the resurgence of sorts that has the sports world questioning whether retirement is really the best option, and whether he should come back another year. 

Scott Brooks is one of many who thinks Wade should reconsider.

In his final appearance at Capital One Arena Saturday evening, the veteran star lead his group to victory, showing flashes of the player he once was, and carrying his squad to a crucial road win. 

Brooks joked that "the NBA needs to fine the Miami Heat for letting him retire".

It appears that Wade's contemporaries are of the mindset of Brooks. Wizards forward Jeff Green, who exploded for 25 points off the bench in the tough loss, discussed postgame that despite his efforts to get Wade to change his mind, the latter knows that it's time to move on.

"He's playing amazing," Green said. "I've tried my convincing, I've been trying for the last six months, it didn't work."

Green expressed that he's glad his friend is choosing to leave the game before it leaves him.

"I'm happy for the guy." Green said. "He's going out the way he wants to."

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