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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Denver Nuggets

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Denver Nuggets

Unlike in previous games this season when the Wizards have been guilty of coming out flat against an undermanned opponent, they toyed with the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center 123-113 to keep the pressure on for the No. 2 seed in the East.

The Wizards (39-24) won their second game in a row to start a five-game road trip out West. They won the first game of the back-to-back on Tuesday at the Phoenix Suns.

John Wall (30 points, 10 assists) led all scorers followed by Bradley Beal (23 points, five assists), Otto Porter (22 points, four steals), Markieff Morris (11 points) and Marcin Gortat (11 points, 15 rebounds) with his 34th double-double. It was his first in five games.  

They sweep the season series 2-0 with Denver (29-35), which was playing without two of their best players in Nikola Jokic (flu) and Danilo Gallinari (vertigo).

They hung close until the Wizards pulled away at the end of the first quarter. Only up 29-28, the Wizards closed with a 6-0 run behind steals from Bojan Bogdanovic (10 points) and Brandon Jennings (four points, six assists) for easy buckets.

The Nuggets trimmed an 11-point deficit to 42-39 midway through the second quarter but a 25-11 run effectively put the game away though they’d make another push to end the third and again in the fourth.

The Wizards will be off Thursday before playing another back-to-back set Friday at the Sacramento Kings and Saturday at the Portland Trail Blazers.

Wilson Chandler (21 points) and Gary Harris (26 points) led the Nuggets. Jamal Murray (17 points) sparked them off the bench with his three-point range.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Morris ejected for kicking Plumlee in groin]

--A 35-point third quarter allowed Denver to trim a 24-point deficit to 97-85 entering the fourth though Wall played all 12 minutes. But Jennings, Bogdanovic and Ian Mahinmi (seven points, four rebounds) stretched it back to 16 with 8:12 to play.

--In Washington’s first seven sets of back-to-back games, they were 0-2, 1-1 (five times) and 0-2. With this win, they’ve now gone 2-0 in four consecutive back-to-back sets.

--Morris, Porter and Gortat only combined for five field goals and 14 points in the previous game. Morris made 3 of 3 while Porter shot 10-for-15 and Gortat 5-for-10. Porter had made just one three-pointer in his previous two games. He shot 2-for-3 to maintain his spot as the league’s most accurate shooter from distance. The last one at 53.7 seconds left put the lead to 119-108 to seal it.

--Chandler got the first field goal for the Nuggets on a busted coverage. While Gortat rotated properly to the ball, Morris also went to the ball which left Chandler alone under the rim. It represented a continuation of confusion on coverages that almost came back to bite them after blowing a 22-point lead in Phoenix.

--With 5:05 left and the lead down to 108-97 for Washington, coach Scott Brooks had to go back to his starting five rather than keep them under 30 minutes. Only Morris stayed below (26 minutes).

--Morris was ejected because of a Flagrant 2 with 2:08 left on Mason Plumlee. Morris was stripped of the ball as he went up to shoot and struck Plumlee between the legs. The play initially wasn’t going to reviewed but when head official Marc Davis did so it resulted in the ejection.

--Coming off 17 points in his last game, Jason Smith didn’t make an appearance. 

[RELATED: Mahinmi has arrived for Wizards as defensive force]

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 NBA Mock Draft: What's changed after the combine

Something that used to be a rare occurrence has now happened four years in a row.

The Phoenix Suns had the best odds of winning the NBA lottery, and they did, landing the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. 

Over the last four years, the team with the NBA's worst record has landed that top spot each year. Before this stretch though, dating back to 1985, only four teams that had the worst record still won the lottery.

Nine teams have also jumped at least five spots to get to No. 1 during that period as well.

Now the order is set (until any trades of course) and teams have had a chance to check out many of the top players at the combine.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT 

This draft is loaded with big man prospects too, from DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley, and Mohamed Bamba, along with countless others likely going in the top-14. 

There's also the very intriguing Luka Doncic, who most still believe won't go back to Real Madrid, even with him leaving the door open. 

A few names jumped into the first round since the last mock draft, which is something we always see after the combine. 

As for the Wizards, we know they need an athletic big man, and sitting at pick No. 15, they may just get one, although he brings a lot of mystery. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT