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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Pelicans for 17th straight home victory

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Pelicans for 17th straight home victory

The streak continues for the Wizards, and it’ll be the Cleveland Cavaliers up next with the best chance to break it. Despite a flat performance Saturday, they closed on a 15-0 run late in the fourth against the New Orleans Pelicans to win 105-91 in front of 19,651.

The Wizards (30-20) have won 17 in a row to rocket up the East standings. They made it difficult on themselves after leading 14-2 just four minutes into the game to win the season series 2-0. They won 107-94 a week ago.

John Wall had his 30th double-double (24 points, 13 rebounds, five steals) and Marcin Gortat (12 points, 17 rebounds) his 29th on Polish Heritage Night, but there wasn’t much else to cheer in what was sloppy play until the defense clamped down in the final six minutes. Bradley Beal (12 points), Markieff Morris (18 points) and Otto Porter (12 points, nine rebounds, three steals) rounded out all starters scoring in double figures for an NBA-leading 18th time.

Anthony Davis (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (13 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists), who combined for 62 points onJan. 29, had better support from the role players as Terrence Jones (15 points) and Tyreke Evans (15 points) made an impact.

In the end, however, the coverage from Gortat and Morris led to Davis going 0-for-3 for zero points and just one rebound in the fourth quarter after he’d shot 11-for-14 for 25 points in the first three. Holiday failed to score in the fourth when he missed all five attempts to finish 5-for-17.

The Wizards are 22-6 at home which matches their total home wins in all of last season when they went 41-41. They held the Pelicans (19-32) without a field goal after they took a 91-90 lead on Evans' three-point shot.

The Wizards are off Sunday and will face the Cavaliers, the Nol 1 team in the East, on Monday.

--The Pelicans trapped Beal with the ball rather than switching a big onto him in space, which is what they did to their detriment last time. Wall didn't face that coverage as much which led to him getting to the rim more often.  That put the pressure onto others to hit the open looks on the ball movement and the Wizards faltered with 9-for-22 shooting, or 40.9%, in the third quarter when the Pelicans took the lead 83-80 entering the fourth. The Wizards turned the tide in the fourth by exploiting a team that only had nine turnovers in the first three quarters. New Orleans had six in the final 12 minutes as Evans’ decision-making hurt them in the half court.

--When Wall returned with 7:07 in the second quarter, the spread remained relatively the same. It was 24-18 after the first quarter and 36-29 when he replaced Trey Burke. The bench contributed 27 points total which is a good output for them, and they’re still not giving up leads. Defensively is where the second unit excelled.

--Tomas Satoransky (four points, three assists) is starting to find his footing offensively, which had been a major problem for him after he fell out of the rotation earlier this season. He got to the rim for a layup and made both foul shots in the first half. His output remains modest, but the important thing is he’s trending upward.

--Despite a 23-19 rebounding edge, the Wizards were getting punished in the paint. The Pelicans had a 30-12 edge in scoring even though Gortat had 12 rebounds alone in the first 24 minutes. The long rebounds off missed jumpers allowed New Orleans inside where it finished shots. The 57.1% shooting in the second quarter erased most of Washington’s 12-point lead. When it was over, New Orleans had a 52-36 edge in paint points and 14-8 in second-chance points though they lost on the boards 46-42.

--The Pelicans used Davis on Morris, who successfully isolated on post-ups in their first meeting against the likes of Dante Cunningham and Terrence Jones. Gortat wasn’t able to take full advantage of the much smaller (though stronger) Jones as he started 2-for-6. Morris was 2-for-5. In the fourth,  Morris took advantage against Cunningham on those post-ups to score nine points which included a lob for a dunk.

--When the Lakers made their run at the Wizards to make it a close game, they went to a lineup with four guards. The Pelicans did the same when Oubre entered to defend Holiday on the ball. Coach Alvin Gentry put in Evans for another ball-handler and pulled Jones off the floor.

-- The Wizards are 10 games above .500 for the first time since they were 16-6 during the 2014-15 season. 

[RELATED: Paul Pierce: Isaiah Thomas is 'easily the best point guard' in the East]

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Aaron Holiday

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Aaron Holiday

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Aaron Holiday

School: UCLA
Position: Point guard
Age: 21 (turns 22 in Sept.)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 187
Wingspan: 6-8
Max vertical: 33

2017/18 stats: 20.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.2 bpg, 46.1 FG%, 42.9 3PT% (2.7 3PT/6.2 3PA), 82.8 FT%
Player comparison: Darren Collison
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 24th, Bleacher Report 23rd, Sports Illustrated 23rd

5 things to know:

*Holiday played big minutes in all three seasons for the Bruins. As a junior, he broke out as an elite scorer, averaging 20.3 points while also dishing 5.8 assists per game. Holiday scored in a variety of ways, including at the free throw line where he averaged 5.8 attempts per game and knocked them down at 82.8 percent.

*He is a terrific three-point shooter, one of the best in this draft class based on his college numbers. He hit 42.9 percent of his shots and on 6.2 attempts per game. Holiday shot 42.2 percent from long range in his three-year college career and never shot below 41 percent in a season. He had some games where teams just couldn't stop him from long range. He made four threes or more in 13 college games. Twice he went 5-for-5 and he once made six threes against USC.

*Though he has the skillset to play off the ball as a shooting guard, his size will limit him at the NBA level. Holiday is just under 6-foot-1 in shoes and doesn't have the vertical leap to make up for it. He does, however, have a plus wingspan. At this point, Holiday seems to be solely a point guard, though as long as he's good at the position there is nothing wrong with that.

*Holiday worked out for the Wizards at Capital One Arena. He was part of their first week of predraft workouts and by all accounts had an impressive visit. He hit a lot of shots and fared well in the interview process.

*Holiday has two brothers currently in the NBA. Jrue is a former All-Star who starts at point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. Justin is a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls. His sister-in-law, Lauren, is a former member of the U.S. women's national soccer team.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards already have a point guard in John Wall, so Holiday would have no long-term path to starting. That said, he would shore up a need the Wizards have been trying to address for years.

Backup point guard has been a real void for the Wizards for most of Wall's tenure. This past season they tried out all sorts of options between Tomas Satoransky, Tim Frazier, Ramon Sessions and Ty Lawson. Though Satoransky remains on the roster, the Wizards don't appear content with their depth at the position.

Holiday's ability to hit threes is very attractive to the Wizards who could conceivably play him off-the-ball alongside Wall, or even Satoransky. Given Wall (6-4) and Satoransky (6-7) are taller than most point guards, they could theoretically guard shooting guards on the other end.

Holiday would add smarts and shooting to the Wizards' bench in the short-term. In the long-term, he could help lengthen Wall's career by taking some of his workload away and also give the Wizards more options once Wall enters his 30s.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Moritz Wagner

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Moritz Wagner

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Moritz Wagner

School: Michigan
Position: Power forward/center
Age: 21
Height: 7-0
Weight: 241
Wingspan: 7-0
Max vertical: 34

2017/18 stats: 14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.5 bpg, 52.8 FG%, 39.4 3PT% (1.6 3PT/4.1 3PA), 69.4 FT%
Player comparison: Mehmet Okur
Projections: NBADraft.net 33rd, Bleacher Report 29th, Sports Illustrated 40th

5 things to know:

*Wagner is one of the best shooting big men in this class. He measured in at just about 7-feet at the NBA Combine, yet he shot nearly 40 percent from three this past year in college on 4.1 attempts per game. He projects to be a stretch-4 or stretch-5 at the next level and those guys are increasingly valuable in today's NBA.

*He had a decorated college career at Michigan as the best player on the 2017-18 team that reached the NCAA Tournament final game. They lost to Villanova, but Wagner was a driving force of one of the best years in school history. He averaged 15.0 points per game while shooting 38.5 percent from three in their six tournament games. That earned him All-Tournament honors.

*Wagner is a capable rebounder, though not a dominant force on the glass. He averaged 7.1 boards as a junior and 4.2 as a sophomore, his first year with extended minutes for the Wolverines. It doesn't seem like Wagner will be an elite rebounder at the next level, at least early on. He has the size and mobility to get boards, but will need to develop other skills to average double-digit rebounds.

*His weaknesses would include rim protection, free throw shooting and passing. Despite his size, Wagner only averaged a half-block per game this season. Though he can knock down threes, he only made 69.4 percent of his free throws. And despite being a big part of Michigan's offense, he averaged less than one assist per game. Assists aren't a major category for big men, but that is remarkably low. Marcin Gortat, for instance, averaged 1.8 assists per game in the 2017-18 season. Big men can make a significant impact with their passing if they commit to the craft and Wagner isn't exactly Nikola Jokic when it comes to setting up his teammates.

*Wagner is originally from Berlin, Germany and idolized Dirk Nowitzki growing up. It's easy to see in watching Wagner play how he has modeled parts of his game after the Mavs legend. They are of similar size and Wagner can stretch the floor with a smooth outside jumper.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards like Wagner a lot. He impressed in his workout at Capital One Arena and would give the Wizards several things that they don't currently have.

Wagner is a mobile big man who can run the floor fairly well and has good footwork moving without the ball on the offensive end. Though he doesn't have a huge vertical leap, he can get up there and finish with power at the rim.

Most importantly, Wagner can stretch the floor and the Wizards do not have a player his size who can do that consistently. If he played center, the Wizards could roll out lineups of five players that can hit threes.

More specifically, Wagner could add a pick-and-pop element that the Wizards haven't really had in John Wall's tenure. He has had pick-and-roll partners, but no one has been able to set a screen and then reliably step out to knock down threes.

It would be a brand new dimension and it could make Wall even more dangerous, not to mention the shooters they have in Bradley Beal and Otto Porter who would then have more space to operate off the ball.

The only problem in terms of fit for Wagner and the Wizards is that he is likely to fall somewhere in between their two draft picks. They pick 15th and 44th and he is expected to go late first round or early second round.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!