Quick Links

Wizards' 3s rain down on Kings 113-99: Five takeaways


Wizards' 3s rain down on Kings 113-99: Five takeaways

For the first time in a month, the Wizards put together consecutive victories and they did it with all six of the seven rotation players scoring in double figures in Monday's 113-99 victory vs. the Sacramento Kings at Verizon Center.

Marcin Gortat had his season-high in the first half where he scored 21 of his 27 points and grabbed 12 of his season-high 16 rebounds. John Wall had 11 of his career-high 19 assists in the first half to go with 12 points and four steals. 

Garrett Temple followed up a career-high 21 points with 23. Ramon Sessions and Kris Humphries had 15 points off the bench and Jared Dudley dropped in 13 in front of 15,124.

The Wizards led 84-76 with 2:43 left in the third quarter but allowed the Kings (11-17) to tie it at 84. Three-pointers from Dudley and Humphries sparked an 8-0 run to begin the fourth and they never looked back.

DeMarcus Cousins was outplayed by Gortat on both ends, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds. Rudy Gay scored 16.

The Wizards (12-14) shot 42 of 83 from the field, 50.6%, including 14 of 24 from three (58.3%) which was a season-high makes from distance. They also had just 11 turnovers as they held an opponent to less than 100 points for the first time in 11 games.

  • Gortat's position defense on Cousins was nothing short of superb. He banged with him on the low block for position and went straight up on challenges to force miss after miss. Cousins missed 14 of 22 shots while Gortat had four blocks. But what Gortat did was every bit as good as a block, which isn't necessarily reflective of defense. Off a turnover by Wall, Gortat ran the length of the floor and came close to rejecting Darren Collison. He beat Cousins, who has a tendency to not defend when his offense isn't going well, down the floor repeatedly and that was a strategy the Wizards knew they'd use going into the game. The only knock on Gortat in this one was when the Kings started to double-team him on the catch, he held the ball too long rather than kicking it back out and reposting to put pressure on the defense to adjust by rotating. It led to a turnover and a few forced, low-percentage shots.

  • Slowly, Humphries is starting to look more like his old self coming off the bench. He played an efficient 17 minutes. He made all three of his three-point shots that came in the rhythm of the offense. In his last three games, Humphries is 10-for-18 shooting.

  • Temple made consecutive jumpers, the second one a three-pointer, to put the Wizards ahead 73-65 midway through the third quarter after they were struggling to find offense. Make or miss, Temple's stroke has looked good for most of the season. He had a career-high 21 in the previous game and shot 8-for-17 in this one. Defenses are giving him clean looks and he's making them pay. He was 5 of 10 on threes. Likewise, Kelly Oubre is proving to be a reliable three-point shooter from the corners. He's 4-for-4 from the left corner in the last two games. He had eight points for the second game in a row and six rebounds. This will eventually open up the lanes for Wall to get to the basket easier.

  • Is pace-and-space still going to be used as an excuse for when the Wizards don't play well? They put up 109 on the Charlotte Hornets, a much better team than the Kings, with an eight-man rotation. With one fewer body, they posted 113 on the Kings and in both held these opponents to an average of 41% shooting. This is about hustle, getting to the ground to grab those 50-50 balls like Temple did to deny Marco Belinelli a shot. The Wizards are in top shape and can handle the pace. It worked in wins vs. the Cavs, Heat and Spurs. It has to stop being used as a crutch when they lose or don't play well.

  • Coach Randy Wittman didn't replace Gary Neal (lower back) in his rotation with another player. Neal was a late scratch just before tipoff. Instead he shortened what had been an eight-man rotation to seven. Oubre's four fouls by the third quarter made it challenging but it worked. Ryan Hollins didn't play again. DeJuan Blair entered for the last 38 seconds.

RELATED: George Karl on Wizards being undermanned: 'That's bull****'

Quick Links

Caps winning, new practice facility has Ted Leonsis thinking bigger for Wizards: 'No excuses'


Caps winning, new practice facility has Ted Leonsis thinking bigger for Wizards: 'No excuses'

No matter what happens this fall and winter, the year of 2018 was a big one for Ted Leonsis. His Capitals won their first-ever Stanley Cup and the new practice facility and arena for the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go in Ward 8 was opened. Even his Valor won the Arena Football League and Wizards District Gaming played their inaugural season.

The Caps winning and the St. Elizabeth East Entertainment and Sports Arena opening its doors has Leonsis thinking bigger and particularly when it comes to the Wizards. As he puts it, there are "no excuses" anymore. It's time to accomplish their goals and Leonsis has some specific ones in mind.

"We need to raise the expectations. We have to make the playoffs. I'd like us to win 50 games. I'd like us to go to the Eastern Conference Finals," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington.

Leonsis, in many ways, feels like he has done his part as the owner. He has given the Wizards the resources to compete and win at the highest level. They have the salary commitment and the facilities that any team in the NBA would covet.

"We have one of the highest payrolls in the league with the Wizards. They have a beautiful, world-class practice facility. They're healthy entering the year," he said. "Alright Wizards. If you have this practice facility and one of the highest payrolls in the league and you're getting well-tended for your health, nutrition and the like; no excuses. Let's play ball."

When it comes to the practice facility, it's much more than just added space, new locker rooms and shiny courts. The Wizards will have at their disposal the newest training technology and all the medical resources they need from Medstar. 

The facility has a virtual reality room, which goes way beyond the headsets and cameras they have utilized in recent years. They will also have a sensory deprivation tank. 

It's a pod that fills with salt water and allows people to float without light or sound. The benefits include decompression of the spine, alleviation of soreness and muscle tension and stress relief. In case you are wondering, they aren't cheap.

The weight room at the Medstar performance center is also calibrated for different exercises and methods. And with more space, the Wizards can continue to move into the future from a technology perspective and stay ahead of the curve.

"It's not just being an early-adopter. If you make an investment in this size and scale, you'll be at an advantage because you can build in and not add on a lot of that right into the utility of the building," Leonsis said.

In having this type of facility for the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go, Leonsis hopes those teams can follow the model that worked for the Capitals. The Caps have had a specialized training facility in Ballston, Va. for years and have benefitted from a strong minor league system, most notably with the Hershey Bears. That top-to-bottom approach can help the Wizards, in particular, as they now have a G League affiliate.

The foundation is in place for the Wizards to someday compete for an NBA championship. Many never expected to see the day the Capitals would reach the mountaintop. Now the Wizards can follow the blueprint.

"We've proven that there is no [D.C. sports] curse," Leonsis said. "If you are patient and work hard and are committed to continuous improvement than you can win a championship."



Quick Links

Wizards announce open practice date at brand new facility in Congress Heights


Wizards announce open practice date at brand new facility in Congress Heights

As they do every year, the Washington Wizards announced the date and time for Open Practice opening the doors to the brand spanking new St. Elizabeths Entertainment & Sports Arena in Congress Heights. 

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 and practice is scheduled to begin one hour later. 

The event is open to the public and and the first 500 fans receive a slick T-shirt while the first 200 are invited for autograph-signing following practice. 

There will be several additional events taking place, including a dunk contest, performances by the Wizards Dancers and music from the Ballou High School Band.

RSVP to the event here:  http://info.washingtonwizards.com/Wiz-OpenPractice09-20-18 . 

"Fans are encouraged to travel to the event via Uber by entering in Entertainment and Sports Arena as the address or by Metro via the Congress Heights station on the green line," the team shared in its official press release. 

In addition to the facility being a practice location for the Wizards, it will also be home to the WNBA's Washington Mystics along with the G League's Capital City Go-Go. 

Washington begins its 2018-19 season Oct. 18 hosting the Miami Heat inside Capital One Arena at 8:00 p.m.