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Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA – The only crying to be done Monday by the Wizards is when they look back at how they played in a disastrous second quarter, with a chance to blow out the Atlanta Hawks only to bottom out in Game 4.

Markieff Morris, who called Paul Millsap a “crybaby” after an 18-point loss in Game 3, was a no-show because of foul trouble and Atlanta rallied despite its starting point guard being saddled with three fouls in the first quarter to tie the series at 2-2 with a 111-101 victory at Phillips Arena.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Verizon Center.

The table had been set for the Wizards as they led by nine in the first quarter only to trail by that exact margin at halftime 59-50.

John Wall (22 points, 10 assists) got out to a fast start with eight points and five assists in the first quarter but sputtered. Bradley Beal (32 points) led all scorers. Otto Porter (13 points), who left Game 3 with a stinger in his neck and left shoulder, shot 5-for-10. Bojan Bogdanovic (13 points) had his best game of the series as he made multiple threes for the first time and went 5-for-9 from the field.

Still, the Hawks did much more. They had seven players score in double figures with Dwight Howard (16 points, 15 rebounds), Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists), Millsap (19 points, nine rebounds), Schroder (18 points), Taurean Prince (11 points, seven rebounds) and Jose Calderon (10 points, five assists) coming up with big shots at every turn.

The score was tied at 77 after the third quarter but the Hawks got stops, got out in transition and knocked down open shots that Washington had the habit of missing.

[RELATED: PHOTO: Hawks fans brought Morris 'crybaby' signs to Game 4]

--The Wizards shot 5-for-20, had eight turnovers in the second quarter (four by Wall) and were outrebounded 15-9. They were outscored 31-15 which turned the tide for good.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 6:44 in the first quarter and drew his third at 3:10 when trying to stop Prince on a drive. Prince shuffled his feet and the play should’ve been negated by a whistle but instead he got the and-1. Beal picked up his fourth in the last 49 seconds of the third when Schroder drove the lane. Ideally, that was Brandon Jennings’ assignment but he’s shown an inability to stay in front of the ball all series. Kelly Oubre had three fouls in his first six minutes.  

--Schroder picked up his third foul at 2:29 of the first quarter as Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer made a bad gamble. Schroder missed all three of his shots in 10 minutes played. The Wizards led 27-18 when he exited for Calderon, who ended up having to defend Beal.  Schroder didn’t play in the second quarter and when they went to the locker room the Hawks led 59-50 at halftime. Beal only got off three shots in the second quarter and made two of them. Wall shot 1-for-6.

--Oubre’s decision-making off a steal was typical of the Wizards’ play in the second quarter. Wall could be heard calling for the ball as he trailed and Atlanta had numbers back. Oubre continued his straight line to the basket where Hardaway awaited to take a charge. Wall misfired on a lob to Morris at the rim and then Beal misfired with a lob to Wall. What had been a nine-point lead was now a 41-38 deficit when Calderon buried a three.

--The Hawks weren’t finding shooters in transition or even when the pace was slowed. Beal’s second missed three came on a throwahead from Wall on a dead ball. Beal was all alone but backrimmed the shot. Bogdanovic had a spot up from a similar spot midway through the second quarter and didn’t get a runner to contest. He also backrimmed it.

--Howard had been a non-factor but had his first double-double of the series by halftime. Bazemore found him twice on lobs at the rim as there was confusion on the coverage as Gortat went to stop the ball. No one was back to contest or stop Howard’s roll to the rim.

--Jennings (five points) had a small burst when he took advantage of Mike Muscala switching onto him on the perimeter and drained a pair of stepback jumpers but that’s where his impact ended. Muscala’s time was limited to seven minutes while Ersan Ilyasova (six points) logged 22 minutes.

--Bogdanovic shot 1-for-10 from three for the first three games of the series before he found his touch late.

[RELATED: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?]

 

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

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Elena Delle Donne the favorite to win WNBA MVP, according to league GMs

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the best players in the WNBA, and thus is always in the discussion for MVP honors. 

And heading into the 2019 season, league GMs give her the best chance of anyone to actually hoist the trophy when it's all said and done. 

In a WNBA.com survey of general managers, 42 percent picked Delle Donne to win MVP in 2019. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury had the second-most votes at 25 percent, followed by A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas Aces at 17 percent then Las Vegas' Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun at eight percent. 

Delle Donne won her first and only WNBA MVP award in 2015 as a member of the Chicago Sky when she averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game. And with the Mystics set to make another run at the WNBA title (58 percent of GMs predicted Washington to have the most regular season wins in the Eastern Conference), she has a great opportunity to get her second this season. 

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Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

As All-NBA teams are announced and franchises have to make decisions about contract extensions, fans will see the term "supermax contract" thrown around a lot. 

Here's a quick primer with everything you need to know about the NBA's most lucrative player deals. 

What is a supermax contract?

Officially known as the "Designated Veteran Player Extension," this rule allows teams to re-sign qualified players to maximum five-year contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap with eight percent escalation in each subsequent year.

The length of the supermax deal depends on the player's years of NBA experience and years remaining on his current contract. 

  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has two years left on his contract is eligible for a four-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has one year left on his contract is eligible for a five-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified free agent who has completed eight or nine years of service is eligible for a five-year supermax 

Furthermore, teams cannot trade a supermax player for the first year after he signs the contract.  

How much is a supermax contract worth?

Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.

For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal. 

According to a report by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard—who has two years remaining on his current deal with the Trail Blazers and is expected to be named to an All-NBA team—will be offered a four-year supermax extension worth roughly $191 million this summer. 

Who is eligible to sign a supermax contract?

Very few players qualify for a supermax contract. First, only a player that has (or will have) completed eight years of NBA service by the end of his current contract is eligible to sign a supermax deal, which can only be offered by the team that drafted him or traded for his rookie contract. 

Then, a player must meet one of the following three criteria.

  • Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons

Which players have received supermax contracts?

  • Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
  • James Harden - Houston Rockets
  • Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Wall - Washington Wizards

Who could receive a supermax contract this summer?

Anthony Davis is already eligible for a supermax offer from the Pelicans. And depending on the All-NBA, DPOY and MVP selections, the following players also could receive supermax offers:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
  • Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors
  • Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
  • Andre Drummond - Detroit Pistons
  • Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards 

What are the drawbacks to supermax deals?

The supermax contract was designed to help teams retain their players by allowing them to offer significantly more money than the competition; however, teams that offer such contracts are squeezing themselves in terms of salary cap room to fill out their rosters. 

No franchise can carry more than two supermax players at 35 percent of the cap each. Functionally, though, it's difficult for a team to have more than one.

Two supermax players would account for 70 percent of a team's salary in any given year, leaving the club virtually unable to sign a competitive supporting cast. 

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