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Without Wall, Wizards focus more on distinct edge over Hawks

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Without Wall, Wizards focus more on distinct edge over Hawks

In a first-round sweep of the Toronto Raptors, the Wizards were able to make their superior size a major factor. To win this second-round series with the Atlanta Hawks, especially without John Wall, makes pounding the ball in the post more imperative going into Game 3 today at Verizon Center. 

Nene, who doesn't have a field goal in two games vs. Atlanta, dominated on the boards by averaging 11 rebounds in the first two road wins in Toronto. Gortat shot 74.3% from the field. 

"We got to do a better job of getting him the ball. It's as simple as that," coach Randy Wittman said of Nene. "He's got to also demand to have the ball in the flow of the game. We've talked about that."

Nene almost has as many turnovers (six) as he does rebounds (seven) against Atlanta. The play of Paul Millsap, who can stretch to the three-point line and go off the dribble, has given him difficulty. When Nene starts off slow, he has a hard time getting himself out of the rut. 

"He needs to be confident, need to be aggressive in whatever he does. He'll be fine," Beal said. "We just need him to be Ne, go out there and dunk on somebody. I think when he gets the ball  in the post he looks to pass too much. He needs to go, be dominant and just score the ball."

Nene has mishandled passes for unforced turnovers. In Game 2, he missed two layups. The Hawks, after losing home-court advantage with a 104-98 loss in Game 1, were intent to play more physical and did just that with Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll joining in the fray. They're undersized but tenacious to loose balls and second-chance points. They had more points in the paint in Game 2, 38-30.

[MORE WIZARDS: Teague, Hawks ready for Wizards' not so secret weapon]

"They have guys that can move real well. There's a lot of switching going on. That's something we definitely got to take advantage of because we do have an advantage down there with our bigger guys," said point guard Ramon Sessions, who'll likely start Game 3 with Wall out with a fractured left hand and wrist. "Not taking anything away from Millsap or Horford, those guys are great, but size-wise we definitely got to get in the post a little more and feed our big guys."

Gortat had 12 points and 12 rebounds in Game 1 but settled for difficult shots going away from the basket without Wall to feed him in Game 2. He had 10 points and nine rebounds before fouling out. When Gortat gets going early, it opens up the floor, too.

"That's one thing we're going to definitely stress this next game, that's getting (into) the paint, getting to the free throw line and getting the ball inside to Nene and Gortat and go from there," said Otto Porter, who is averaging almost a double-double off the bench with 10.5 points and 8.0 rebounds. "It's going to be physical regardless if you play inside or out. From our vantage point, play inside more."

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

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