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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Celtics, 14th straight home victory

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Celtics, 14th straight home victory

A “hostile act” between Markieff Morris and Jae Crowder had to be reviewed midway through the third quarter, but that was the extent of the physical play between the Wizards and Boston Celtics in a game defined by the wearing of black for a midseason game.

The Wizards (25-20) never trailed as they took a 2-1 season series lead to inch closer to the Celtics (26-18) in the East and won their 14th consecutive game at Verizon Center, 123-108 Tuesday night, in front of 16,387.

That’s six wins in the last seven games since a 117-108 defeat to the Celtics at TD Garden on Jan. 11 when tempers flared postgame between John Wall and Jae Crowder and both were assessed fines by the league. The 123 points are a season-high.

Wall (27 points, seven assists, seven rebounds) didn’t have an issue with his right pinkie or left wrist as he did in that game. He sparked five players in double figures, along with Bradley Beal (game-high 31 points, five assists), Morris (19 points, 11 rebounds), Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (11 points).

Isaiah Thomas, who is contending for an All-Star reserve spot with Wall, led Boston (25 points, 13 assists), followed by Al Horford (22 points), Crowder (17 points) and Marcus Smart (13 points).

Oubre had a three-pointer and Wall made consecutive jump shots to end the first quarter with a 33-24 lead. The second unit was shaky to start the fourth quarter with turnovers but coach Scott Brooks called a timeout with 10:43 left to right the ship.

Oubre’s three-pointer with 8:01 left put them up 101-89. Then Beal closed with three baskets. Two came off the dribble as he burned Smart and then Crowder for mid-range pull-ups. The last came off a drive for a 114-100 lead to put it away.

--Brooks went with Oubre defending Thomas in the fourth, and it paid dividends after the Wizards failed to give him a different look when he scored 20 points in the fourth quarter of a comeback Jan. 11. Oubre’s 7-2 wingspan coupled with his superior athleticism against the 5-9 point guard was a difference-maker. Thomas was held to four points in the final 12 minutes. He was 6 of 12 entering the fourth but finished just 7-for-19 shooting.

-- The Wizards immediately went inside to Gortat. On their first three possessions, Gortat got the ball on post-ups and made both shots. He turned it over on the third but taking advantage of Horford, who is undersized in the middle. When the Wizards went to Morris and Jason Smith to open the second quarter, they took advantage of Kelly Olynyk defensively. Horford only had four rebounds and the Wizards had a 42-32 edge.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 9:11 of the second quarter but Brooks stuck with him. He continued to get open looks, including on a pop to the short corner for a three-pointer behind a decoy floppy action for Beal. But where Morris has lapses defensively, contesting shots at the perimeter and taking charges, wasn’t an issue. He took a charge late in the third to negate a possession as ran out to contest a three-point shot from Thomas that hit the side of the backboard. Morris grabbed it and it led to a transition basket for Wall.

--In the last meeting, Brooks complained about game officials swallowing their whistles. A total of 38 fouls were called but this game wasn’t over-officiated. There were 15 more total fouls called with the Wizards taking 21 free throws. Boston took 24.

-- Morris was hit with a technical after getting tangled with Crowder with 7:55 left in the third. It was his sixth of the season which will cost him $3,000 but nothing more came of the confrontation that was minor. Smart, however, clashed with the Celtics' coaching staff late in the game when he was being pulled.

[RELATED: VIDEOS: Wizards arrive in all black for Celtics game]

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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