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Wizards' bench takes shape with Kelly Oubre, Sheldon McClellan

Wizards' bench takes shape with Kelly Oubre, Sheldon McClellan

The bench rotation has been constantly changing under Wizards coach Scott Brooks, but he may have found combinations that work after Sunday's 107-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks with Kelly Oubre and Sheldon McClellan factoring heavily into the victory.

Out, at least for now, are more experienced players such as Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton. 

The second-year Oubre came two points shy of tying his career-high with 17 points. The undrafted rookie McClellan had eight points, three assists and two steals, getting his production in the flow of the offense and not forcing shots to do so.

That's how a 12-point deficit was erased by Washington (18-18) when Oubre scored 10 on 4 of 5 shooting. It's how they closed, too, with McClellan getting five in the fourth quarter.  

"Our bench did a good job," Brooks said. "Sheldon played good minutes for us. Kelly came in and it's back-to-back good games for him."

Oubre drained a three-pointer on a beautiful ball reversal as Bradley Beal was closed out from shooting and Otto Porter made the extra pass. Then John Wall found him with a no-look pass to give the Wizards a 64-63 lead midway through the third.

His activity around the basket, three of Oubre's five rebounds were offensive, helped give Washington a 20-4 edge in second-chance points. Oubre, who will get left open based on how opponents cover, is 7-for-14 on three-pointers in the last three games. This is his best stretch of basketball since a Dec. 16 concussion interrupted what had been a stretch of solid play. It helped that he didn't have to contend with Giannis Antetokounmpo who was out sick for Milwaukee. 

"We had some conversations the last few days of making it happen on the defensive end," Brooks said. "Don't have this game plan that you're going to come in and score a bunch of points. Come in and affect the game defensively and the offense gets rewarded." 

It's the second game in a row that Thornton, who was erractic in the Wizards' 0-2 start to 2017, didn't leave the bench. Nicholson has 12 healthy scratches this season. 

This wasn't the 50-point performance from the reserves that the Wizards had in a blowout win over the lowly Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 30. This result is likely closer to what they can provide when running at optimimum level sans Ian Mahinmi when playing a quality opponent. 

Unlike his 27 points vs. Brooklyn, Trey Burke didn't score in 11 minutes but he had five assists and two steals. One of the thefts came after Markieff Morris was stripped by Greg Monroe, but Burke tracked down their outlet and fed McClellan for a layup and foul that produced an 89-83 lead with 8:57 left.

McClellan, who was able to get his done in just 12 minutes, then took a charge from Jabari Parker to negate a transition basket. In Friday's win vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, McClellan didn't convert a field goal but had two key assists during a 9-0 run to bring the Wizards back in the fourth quarter.

Jason Smith only logged five minutes and missed all three of his shots but still will factor into the rotation going forward. 

"The first half we gave them everything they wanted. Human nature kicked in. They didn't have Giannis and we kind of relaxed," Brooks said. "Can't do that. The second half we just played better."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Bucks]

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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