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Wizards' Bojan Bogdanovic searching for rhythm as defenses adjust

Wizards' Bojan Bogdanovic searching for rhythm as defenses adjust

The shooting rhythm Bojan Bogdnavic had for weeks after the Wizards acquired him at the trade deadline has been missing in recent games. Bogdanovic finished the regular season shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three in his last five games. Then, on Sunday in Washington's Game 1 win against the Hawks, he shot just 2-for-8 from the field and missed his only three attempt.

Bogdanovic was brought in to add scoring to the Wizards' bench and that impact will likely be needed at some point this postseason. The veteran small forward says defenses have adjusted and now he just has to counter.

"They’re taking my shots away," he said. "I have to be aggressive. I had enough shots. I just have to knock them out.“

Bogdanovic went on a run from Feb. 26 through March 24 where he averaged 15.6 points on 48.1 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. He was getting wide open looks, especially from three as the Wizards spread the floor with multiple shooters. Now teams are watching him closely beyond the arc and anticipating his moves off screens.

[RELATED: Millsap thinks trash talking by Morris, Wizards a trap for Hawks]

Bogdanovic missed all three of his shots in the first half of Game 1, including an open hook shot from about five feet out. That's the one that stands out most to Bogdanovic and it was part of a second quarter where the Wizards scored just 20 points and shot only 30.4 percent. 

“I just have to stay aggressive on both sides of the floor. (Sunday) night I missed a couple of really easy buckets, especially the first one after the offensive rebound," he said.

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris led the way in Game 1, but the playoffs have shown over the years that secondary scoring can go a long way for teams that make deep playoff runs. Bogdanovic is the Wizards' best scorer off the bench and could play a big role in some of these games.

"I need a couple buckets to effect the game in the right way," he said.

[RELATED: Millsap sees Morris, Wizards' trash talking as a trap]

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Three things to watch for Wizards at Nets, including if Otto Porter will play

Three things to watch for Wizards at Nets, including if Otto Porter will play

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards take on Spencer Dinwiddie, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and the Brooklyn Nets. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington Plus. 

Here are three things to watch...

1. Will Porter play?: The Wizards may be getting a key player back on Friday with Otto Porter Jr. on the road back from a right knee contusion. He left Monday's game against the Pacers after suffering the injury, then missed Wednesday's game against the Celtics. The Wizards lost both of those games.

Porter, 25, was close to playing on Wednesday as a gametime decision, so it seems likely he will be available on Friday. If he does play, he will look for better success against the Nets than he has in their other match-ups this season. Through two games against Brooklyn, Porter is averaging only 7.5 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the field. He is 0-for-6 from three.

Porter, though, had been playing very well before the injury. In his previous three games, he was averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and a block. He shot 55.3 percent overall and 47.1 percent from three.

2. Wiz need a win: The Wizards head to a Brooklyn in the middle of a slump. They have lost three straight games following a three-game win streak that happened to begin against this same Nets team on Dec. 1. 

The Wizards have found some balance recently, having gone 9-8 in their last 17 games after going 2-9 to begin the year. But real, sustained momentum has been elusive. 

The Nets are a team that they should beat. This game begins a manageable stretch that includes some good teams like the Lakers and Pacers, but plenty of potential cupcakes like the Hawks, Suns and Bulls.

3. Nets are playing well: Though the Nets (11-18) have an even worse record than the Wizards (11-17), they are on a bit of a roll. They have won three straight games, including an overtime victory over the Raptors and one on the road against the Sixers.

They held Toronto to only 105 points, including the extra period. And against the Sixers, they scored 127 points in regulation.

Spencer Dinwiddie has been leading the way, averaging 27 points and 6.3 assists during this three-game stretch. Allen Crabbe has also stepped up with 16 points and 4.3 boards per game.

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Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

LeBron James and the media circus that comes along with him is coming to Washington, D.C., as the Lakers will face off with the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Drew Gooden played with James for the better part of four seasons in Cleveland from 2004-08, and so he knows exactly what it's like when one of the NBA's greatest players comes to town. 

"It's only real until you actually see it," Gooden said during Thursday's edition of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We used to joke and call ourselves not the Beatles, but the 'Cleatles,' because it was almost like a traveling rock band. And everybody played their part."

Gooden recounted one particular incident during a day off in Detroit in 2006, when he, James and a couple of their teammates went to a shopping mall to buy some watches.

"When we walked into the shopping mall in Detroit, it was like Michael Jackson had entered the shopping mall," Gooden explained. "Kids were running up, grownups were running up, everybody ran into the store we were in. They had to shut it down with mall security, and wouldn't let anybody in."

"The only thing I was thinking of is like, 'How are we gonna get out of here?' Because we came on our own with no security, so we were just thinking of how we were gonna get out of the mall now. And when I saw that star power of LeBron James back in 2006, this was before he won a championship, I couldn't imagine how it is now, and what he's become in today's game."

James' star power has only grown since then, and many have already declared him the greatest basketball player of all-time.

This label in reference to James is nothing new to Drew Gooden: he heard it when they were both teenagers playing AAU baskeball. 

"Calvin Andrews, who was a sports agent of Carmelo Anthony, Calvin Andrews told me when LeBron was 15 years of age, he said, 'You see that guy right there?'" Gooden recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, what about him?'"

"'He's gonna be the best basketball player ever.'"

"So it's no surprise to me, and this is not new to me, it's just I'm more amazed that it actually happened," Gooden concluded. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, he's gonna be the best ever or he has an opportunity of being the best ever.' But I literally heard a man tell me that in Calvin Andrews, and that guy actually becoming one of the best ever, or the best ever." 

For more on LeBron James and the Lakers' upcoming visit to D.C. to take on the Wizards, listen to the full Wizards Talk podcast below.

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