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What adjustments Brad Stevens could make for Wizards-Celtics Game 2

What adjustments Brad Stevens could make for Wizards-Celtics Game 2

BOSTON — Brad Stevens won't hesitate to make adjustments fot the Boston Celtics, and if he notices a weak spot, he'll go at it repeatedly until the Wizards find a way to neutralize it. Scott Brooks has his work cut out for him in the East semifinals.

The Celtics started Gerald Green, who'd seized a forward role in their previous series with the Chicago Bulls after Amir Johnson proved to be a major liability. Sunday, in Boston's 123-111 victory at TD Garden, Green started again but coming out of halftime, it was Marcus Smart in a three-guard lineup. 

Green only played seven minutes. Smart logged 31 as they came back from 17 points down. The reason was because Markieff Morris went down with a left ankle sprain and Kelly Oubre took over his spot.

"Wait and see as the series goes on," Stevens said about the possibility of starting Smart on Tuesday in Game 2. "Morris' availability may affect some of our decisions with regard to how we rotate our bench."

RELATED: If Morris is out, who will replace him?

The chess match went on in other areas. Recognizing that the Wizards were trying to cover 7-foot Kelly Olynyk with Otto Porter, they went inside to him where he shot 4-for-5 in the first quarter. Then the 3s started to drop from all over, as the Celtics erased most of a 17-point deficit only to trail 64-59 at halftime.

"Kelly came in and he was huge for us," said Al Horford, who had 21 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. "I feel like he made some big plays and just the way he played in the first half really helped us when we were hurting to score the ball."

Stevens tried to use Johnson, but he yanked him after just nine minutes and went away from him. Olynyk had 12 points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes. Terry Rozier played 15 minutes off the bench and was a spark with four points and eight rebounds until Brooks started going more to Bojan Bogdanovic, as he exploited that matchup. Bogdanovic scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.

The Wizards went down 95-80 entering the fourth quarter, but all of Bogdanovic's baskets were in a 92-second span to cut the deificit to 103-99.

Then Stevens went to his bench for Jaylen Brown for Rozier. Brown sank two shots, including a three, to get the Celtics the separation they needed to finish comfortably. 

"Marcus starting (the third) didn't make any change for us," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "They were just the more aggressive team hitting a lot of threes and getting to the basket. We just couldn't get shots off.

"We lose a lot of aggression and a guy that can space the floor for us (with Morris), a guy that can take the pressure off me and Brad (Beal) at times."

If Morris can't play Tuesday, who does Brooks go to? Does he rely on Oubre in more of a small-ball lineup or does he play a face-up big such as Jason Smith in that spot?

Smith, who is rebounding from a hyperextended knee, only played 10 minutes n Game 1 and made 2 of 3 shots for five points but wasn't much of a factor otherwise.

MORE WIZARDS: How can Washington step up its defense against Celtics?

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Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Wizards take down another contender with win over Raptors in NBA 2K simulation

Not only are the Washington Wizards dominating the NBA 2K simulation, but they are also doing it against some tough competition. 

With a 70-61 win over the Toronto Raptors, Washington has now won seven of nine simulations. Other victories have come against the likes of the Bucks, Lakers and 76ers. In the 2K world, the Wizards are consistently beating the best.

In the latest win, the formula remained the same as past simulations. Behind another big night from Rui Hachimura (21 points) and some added scoring from Bradley Beal (12 points), the Wizards offense was able to put up enough to get past Toronto. Timely runs in the second half and some stingy defense left the Raptors with no chance to mount a comeback as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Here are some key takeaways from the Wizards win.

Rui keeps on rolling 

There has been no stopping the Wizards rookie in 2K as of late. With 21 points, he now has back-to-back 20-point performances. The first-round pick of Washington in 2019 has been doing it on both ends of the floor, sparking big plays with blocks and finishing at the rim.

Hachimura also stepped behind the line and showed some range on Tuesday, hitting a smooth-looking three-pointer.

It's been a great 2K run for Hachimura overall as of late, as he also took down Donovan Mitchell in the first round of the 2K Player Tournament.

Strong finish

Though the Wizards played well throughout, it was a dominant stretch toward the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that sealed the win.

A 16-6 run to close the third coupled with a 16-3 run early in the fourth gave Washington a comfortable lead. After taking a 42-41 lead in the third, the Raptors would never lead again.


Dominant inside, efficient outside

Similar to other simulations, the Wizards once again did a lot of their scoring inside the paint. Washington outscored the Raptors 46-32 in the paint, finishing at the rim in multiple ways consistently. 

Thomas Bryant was once again a beast down low, throwing down dunks and recording a team-high 16 rebounds in addition to 10 points to complete a double-double.

Though the real NBA has become a three-point heavy game, it hasn't quite translated to 2K. The Wizards only attempted eight shots from behind the arc on the night, a number that could sometimes come from just a few possessions in a real game. Even more peculiar, Davis Bertans didn't register a single three-point attempt. 

Yet, the Wizards made the most of the attempts, going 4-from-8 from three. Of course, Bradley Beal was in the mix.

Run for the (simulation) playoffs?

In the 2K universe, the Wizards entered Tuesday just two games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the eighth spot in the East. With a win, the virtual team may have inched even closer to the playoffs. 

Simulation-wise, Washington could not have asked for a better stretch of play.

The 2K Wizards will be back in action Friday at 7 p.m. ET against the Rockets. 

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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."

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

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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