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What has led to Wizards' recent turnaround in play?

What has led to Wizards' recent turnaround in play?

The light hasn't just come on for the Wizards. They've gradually played better and are they're starting to see their way out of being under .500 all season, and that could happen before the calendar year ends.

They erased a 13-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls on their home floor Wednesday and sit at 13-15 with a chance to have a winning record on this three-game road trip.

They play at the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, a team they beat 110-105 earlier this month.

So why the about-face after they struggled mightily to defend the three-point line, rebound and finish of games that were close late?

They've won six of their last eight games: "We got stops. We got to the free-throw line. We were being aggressive," said John Wall, who led the Wizards with 23 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals.

"Our second unit did a great job of giving us a six-point lead. Me and Brad (Beal) came back and we just closed it out from there."


-- Beal hasn't just been an All-Star caliber player on the offensive end. He has played All-Star level defense, too. Dwyane Wade was held to four points in the second half as Beal bodied up the veteran in the mid-post and forced him beyond his shooting range. Wade shot 2-for-9 in the second half. Beal's defense during this streak has been exceptional, but it also preceeded it. Wall, who wasn't nearly as good to begin the season, has caught up now that he's in better shape since his knee surgeries May 5. 

-- Marcin Gortat is 44 of 70 from the field for 62.8%. Those aren't empty stats. He's not only taking what defenses are giving him -- and a lot of them during this stretch are giving up the roll man to take away the three-point shot from Beal or Wall's dribble penetration. The pocket passes are there and Gortat is finishing them to make them pay.He attempted just four, eight and five shots in the first three games of this stretch and has since gotten 11, 10, eight, 15 and nine on the back end.

-- Coach Scott Brooks has found a bench rotation that works. He had to go deeper than expected vs. Chicago when Otto Porter left after halftime with back spasms and resort to Sheldon McClellan. Even if Kelly Oubre isn't scoring, his defense is valuable and he has learned how to stay on the court. Trey Burke is playing to his true self which is to look for his shot and score, similar to Ramon Sessions when he was here. It's what he does best. Burke isn't a pure point guard but when he has a mismatch he's not settling for fallaway contested jumpers. He's attacking off the dribble, breaking down defenses and getting to the rim. Jason Smith isn't hesitating to shoot the mid-range jumper from the elbow. Defenses are giving him that shot and he's staying in his lane and just taking it. 

--Beal and Wall are doing two things well together: Getting to the foul line and creating for others.Wall has attempted 7.8 free throws during this stretch and averaging 9.3 assists. Beal is attempting the exact number of foul shots as Wall, 7.8 per game (63 total) and 4.5 assists. That's helping them get easy points, distribute the wealth and put opponents in foul trouble. 

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career


Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 


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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4


Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast.