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Wizards' emotional maturity can be seen in Nene

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Wizards' emotional maturity can be seen in Nene

Before the Wizards were able to finish the Toronto Raptors in their first-round series, coach Randy Wittman had a convenient case of amnesia when asked about his team -- especially Nene -- keeping calm as the games grew more physical.

In fact, Wittman dismissed the common sense question altogether. After Sunday's 125-94 Game 4 victory for the sweep, which grew testy quickly, he acknowledged it: "We talked about it. I think there's some altercations in these other games, Cleveland and Boston. ... We didn't back down from a physical standpoint but we wanted to keep our emotions in check."

Nene became entangled with Kyle Lowry on a foul as they both went out of bounds at 9:59 of the first quarter. Lowry was trying to sell the foul and his teammate Amir Johnson ran over immediately to separate the players. All Nene did was keep his hands up as if being asked to exit a vehicle by police and walked away from Johnson. 

Nene appeared to be pushed out of bounds as he made a baseline move on Jonas Valanciunas but was assessed a turnover instead. Then in transition, DeMar DeRozan fouled Nene hard to prevent him from getting an easy basket. 

For Nene, who has a combative relationship with game officials when calls don't go his way, this was a major step. Last season, he was annoyed about being nudged and agitated in a first-round series with the Chicago Bulls. It led to him snapping in Game 3 and grabbing Jimmy Butler behind the neck, getting an ejection in a game they'd lose and a Game 4 suspension.

Lowry soon was given a technical at 6:27 of the first for arguing a foul call drawn on him by John Wall. To begin the second quarter, Ramon Sessions was fouled hard by Tyler Hansbrough to prevent a basket. It initially was called a common foul but upgraded to a Flagrant 1 upon review. The Wizards never retaliated, kept their poise and allowed the Raptors to unravel emotionally instead. 

"I felt like the way we were playing defensively we were forcing those guys to play a lot of one-on-one ball," Wall said. "The best thing they can do is get one of our guys ejected and hurt us. That’s how we lost Game 3 last year. … Nene did a great job. He was being hit and physical and wasn’t complaining about any calls and was just doing little things to help us win."

Nene also sacrificed his shot attempts and scoring to focus on rebounding which helped the Wizards get the edge in every game to finish plus-39 against Toronto. 

RELATED: [Morning tip: Pierce says Wizards have put East on notice]

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

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 Phily 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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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.

They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.

You can listen to the episode right here: