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Takeaways from Wizards' win over tough Grizzlies team

Takeaways from Wizards' win over tough Grizzlies team

The Memphis Grizzlies may be more of a finesse team than in years past because of their 3-point shooting, but they went back to their grind-it-out roots to erase most of a 19-point lead before the Wizards held off a late charge to win their 13th in a row at Verizon Center, 104-101, on Wednesday night in front of 15,079.

John Wall posted his 24th double-double (25 points, 13 assists), Markieff Morris has his fourth (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Otto Porter (25 points) did most of his damage in the first half when he had 17. Bradley Beal (12 points) had a rough shooting night at 4-for-14 from the field.

Porter was quiet with just two points in the third quarter, but he knocked down two 3-pointers — two of a career-high six for the game — to stretch the lead for Washington (22-19) back to double-digits.

Marc Gasol (28 points) was the leading scorer for Memphis (25-19) but didn’t make any 3-point shots. It was the center’s three at the end of regulation that sent the Oct. 30 game into overtime that they won. The Wizards led that game 96-88 with a bit more than three minutes left.

Gasol was supported by the play of JaMychal Green (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Mike Conley (20 points, six assists).

The Wizards led 97-89 with 3:11 left in this one and had it whittled to 97-95 after three free throws from Gasol and a three from Conley at 2:34.

But Wall didn’t settle when Gasol switched out onto him for a crucial layup with the shot clock winding down and squeezed through the seam of the help for a layup. After a steal by Porter, Wall pulled the ball back on the baseline and then reversed to attack Gasol again for a layup and a 101-95 lead with 1:45 to seal it.

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--When Wall left the game to end the first quarter, the Wizards were ahead 30-24. When he returned midway through the second, the margin expanded to 48-34 because of another solid performance by the bench with Jason Smith (eight points, three rebounds) and Trey Burke (five points) factoring in early.

--Wall was angry on a no-call on a drive to the basket with 3:44 left in the first quarter and was assessed his ninth technical foul of the season. That puts him at fourth-most in the NBA with 41 games left.  If he reaches 11, the penalty will rise to $4,000. Smith picked up his first technical of the season which will cost him $2,000.

--Morris rushed his first two shots of the third quarter when he would’ve been better off passing the ball back out, resetting and then going at his man. The Wizards had trouble dealing with how much more physical the Grizzlies were out of the locker room, not getting their first field goal until 6:51 on a layup from Wall. The Grizzlies were willing to rack of fouls if it meant slowing the pace and they succeeded and had a chance to tie it on a final three from James Ennis. The Wizards had them in penalty early to shoot two free throws on each foul only to attempt six in the period.

--Tony Allen picked up two fouls in a five-second span of the third and had to go to the bench with four fouls. Beal was able to attack aggressive close outs for a pair of dunks but missed chances at all three open 3-point looks. Allen fouled out with 6:16 left. 

[RELATED: After best game of career, Wizards' rookie gets confidence back]

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Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

Wizards' Troy Brown Jr. says it was scary hearing Rudy Gobert contracted coronavirus

By the time Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA subsequently suspended the 2019-20 season, a number of teams who'd played Utah leading up to the suspension had to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

One of them was the Washington Wizards.

They suffered a 10-point loss to the Jazz 12 days before Gobert tested positive, so they urged their players to self-quarantine for several days. Fortunately for the Wizards, no player ended up tested positive for the virus.

Washington's second-year wing joined Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast and gave a window into what his reaction was to the fact he had played the Jazz leading up to Gobert's positive test. 

"I wasn't touching [Gobert]," Brown said with a laugh. "I didn't go in for no layups or anything like that. But all jokes aside though, it was one of those things that was scary because I didn't know really what to expect coming out of it."

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Heading into the league's suspension, Brown was enjoying a strong season where he showed a lot of improvement from his rookie year. He was averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on much better shooting splits (45.3% FG, 34.5% 3P in 19-20 vs. 41.5% FG, 31.9% 3P in 18-19). 

Brown seemed to have much more success coming off the bench with a unit in which he had more ball-handling opportunities. We'll see if he can continue to grow when basketball returns, though the 20-year-old is forced to focus on the challenges that come with isolation. 

"It definitely is a lot easier being with my family and being in my own space and being able to make decisions for myself," Brown said. "Being in D.C. was kind of hard because I didn't have anybody else there besides my dog, living by myself in quarantine. I feel like it's those people that are struggling with the quarantine stuff being isolated by themselves because you don't really know what to do."

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Arizona's Nico Mannion, likely lottery pick, declares for NBA Draft

Arizona's Nico Mannion, likely lottery pick, declares for NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA Draft, whenever and however it ends up taking place, is shaping up to be heavy at the guard position. One of the highest rated prospects entered his name into the mix on Tuesday.

Arizona point guard Nico Mannion, a 6-foot-3 pass-first point guard, declared for the draft after one year in college. He is projected by most mock drafts to be taken in the lottery.

That means he could be one of the best options on the board when the Wizards make their first round pick. They currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA.

Mannion, who turned 19 last month, is a gifted passer and is also known for his outside shot, though the percentages weren't there in college. He shot just 39.2 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 assists for the Wildcats.

Mannion is one of several prospects who could present an interesting decision for the Wizards on draft night. Teams often say they choose the best player available, but his style of play and position could clash with their highest-paid players.

Mannion is a pass-first point guard and so is John Wall, whom they have signed to a supermax contract. Whether they could play together or at least coexist in the same rotation would have to be determined by Wizards brass.

The Wizards also have point guard Ish Smith under contract for next season. He has carried a heavy load this season and will likely take up rotation minutes next year as Wall's back-up.

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