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Wizards drop Spurs on Beal's game-winner: Five takeaways

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Wizards drop Spurs on Beal's game-winner: Five takeaways

After blowing a 17-point lead in the first quarter and trailing by as many as 12 in the second half, John Wall and Bradley Beal made plays in the fourth to give the Wizards their first significant victory of the season, 102-99, in front of 17,721 at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

Wall had 17 points, including a three-pointer to tie the score at 90 with 3:52 left in the game, a game-high 12 assists and three steals. His foul shot with 51 seconds left put them ahead 97-96. His two free throws with 18 seconds left made the margin 99-96.

Tony Parker's three-pointer tied the score at 99 but it was Beal's three-pointer on Wall's final assist with 0.3 seconds left for the winner.

The Wizards, who had lost 17 in a row to the Spurs going into last season, have now won two of three.

Beal had a game-high 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals followed by Otto Porter with 19 points, Marcin Gortat 10 points and eight rebounds and Gary Neal came off the bench with nine points. 

The Wizards (3-1) began with a 19-2 run, but by the end of the first quarter after a pair of foul shots by Kyle Anderson the Spurs were ahead 23-22.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 23 points, 18 coming in the first half, and nine rebounds. Parker had 17 points, Manu Ginobili had 12, Danny Green 12 and LaMarcus Aldridge 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

RELATED: Wall connects with Humphries for dunk in transition

Leonard had two chances to give the Spurs the lead in the final 30 seconds but he missed consecutive jump shots.

In his first game back in D.C. after leaving in free agency, Rasual Butler sparked the Spurs with six points, two assists and two blocks in nine minutes.

The Wizards only had 10 turnovers which led to seven points for San Antonio (3-2). The Spurs had 21 that resulted in 28 points for Washington, which had a 24-17 edge on the fast break. 

  • Forget the talk about how Aldridge is the difference-maker for the Spurs. He's another cog in the machine that helps ease the transition from 39-year-old Duncan. Leonard is the best player on the team -- on both ends of the floor -- and it's not even close. When the Wizards cut the deficit to 41-39, Leonard scored eight of the next 10 points. Two came off a steal from Beal.

  • Porter is a utility player who does a little bit of everything. But he had to score to keep the doors from being blown off. He had 15 points in the first half to match Leonard's output and help keep the Wizards close. Porter doesn't have to be this player every time out, but he has to show this aggressive streak to keep the defense honest. The Wizards trailed 51-39 and Porter responded with four consecutive points to trim the deficit going into half 51-47. 

  • Gortat is content to set screens so Beal and Wall can get free, but it's time for him to contribute in other ways. He picked up two quick fouls which limited him in this one. He went to the bench with 9:55 left in the first quarter (the second foul was assessed as Parker drove, leaned to get around Gortat's block attempt and fell on his own). Gortat had two shot attempts in the first half. The Wizards went to him immediately in the third quarter but he missed both shots. Gortat took nine shots, getting two in the fourth from running the floor and Wall finding him in the lane.

  • This floor spacing has helped Beal immensely. Even with Leonard, probably the NBA's best perimeter defender on him, Beal was able to get loose and attack the rim. 

  • Kris Humphries still looks out of sync in the starting lineup. He was better with seven points and six rebounds but still was indecisive. Putting the ball on the floor and taking a pull up jumper is not the strength of his game. Humphries has to take the shot if he's open or move the ball immediately for the best results. He didn't play in the fourth.

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall shows off custom aquarium

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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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