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Wizards-Grizzlies preview: Big matchup on Beale Street?


Wizards-Grizzlies preview: Big matchup on Beale Street?

Matchup: Washington Wizards (10-12) at Dallas Mavericks (13-12)

When: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. (TV: CSN+, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra) 

When last we met: First meeting this season. Washington swept the two-game series last season including a rare win in Memphis, 92-83 on April 4. The Wizards had lost nine straight at FedEx Forum. 

Streaks: With Saturday's 114-11 victory at Dallas Saturday, the Wizards have won three of their last four road games with all the W's coming against teams with winning records. ...While Washington blew a big lead but held on for the win, Memphis fell 100-97 Sunday at Miami despite holding a 16-point cushion. Now the Grizzlies are back home, where they've lost four of six. 

Three things to watch

1. Randolph the reserve: As the NBA moved heavily into small lineups last season, the Wizards and Grizzlies were two teams that remained traditional. Washington started Marcin Gortat and Nene inside while Memphis sported the potent combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Wizards shook things up from the start this season with Nene coming off the bench in favor of Kris Humphries, a perimeter shooting threat. Jared Dudley now occupies that role for Washington. Meanwhile the Grizzlies have now followed suit as Randolph came off the bench Sunday against the Heat. Matt Barnes moved into the starting lineup with former Georgetown star Jeff Green shifting to the stretch-4 role. Despite the loss, the move paid off offensively as Memphis shot 51 percent from the field.

2. Point-producing Porter: Without injured guard Bradley Beal, Washington needed an offensive boost somewhere. Against the Mavs, it came from Otto Porter, who scored a career-high 28 points. Beal won't be back until after Christmas at the earliest so the Wizards need this aggressive version of Porter to hang around. The Wizards are 4-1 this season when he scores at least 17 points.

3. Point guard battle:  Mike Conley isn't always mentioned along the elite floor leaders, but the Grizzlies' guard is among the better two-way options in the league. His steady presence along with the Gasol-Randolph pair inside have carried the Grizzlies in recent seasons. Based on numbers, John Wall rises to this specific challenge. In six meetings dating back to 2011, the Wizards' All-Star is averaging 22.7 points, 8.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and a stunning 41.2 percent on 3-pointers. Of course, Conley's side won four of those six games. His 17.8 points and 7.7 assists helped the cause.

MORE WIZARDS: Is Bradley Beal worth max money?

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Washington Mystics set WNBA record for most 3-pointers in a single game without Kristi Toliver

Washington Mystics set WNBA record for most 3-pointers in a single game without Kristi Toliver

WASHINGTON – Shey Peddy rarely gets to see the floor as a part of the WNBA-leading Washington Mystics. Sunday was only the 10th game of her WNBA career, playing in garbage time of what was going to be another dominant Mystics victory. 

She only managed three points on one made basket, but it was perhaps the biggest basket of the night. As Peddy, 30, caught a pass at the wing in her right hand, she quickly squared up and delivered a 3-point basket for Washington. It was the Mystics’ 18 such basket from range on the day, a new WNBA record. 

This is just the latest in the plethora of record-breaking performances for the Mystics in 2019. A massive 107-68 victory over the Indiana Fever is starting to feel habitual for those in the Entertainment and Sports Arena. More records falling on a daily basis.

Which, by the way, winning by 39 points also gave the Mystics their 11th win of 20 points or more to build on their current WNBA record. There are seven games still left on the schedule.

“When you shoot 39 threes and make 18 of them and you have 30 assists for the game, coach has to be pretty happy,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said postgame. “The world looks really good when you’re making shots.”

Even more impressive is that the Mystics accomplished such a feat without one of their star players Kristi Toliver. Entering the contest she had made the second most 3-point baskets on the team and did so at a 36% clip. But had the Mystics had Toliver, Peddy would not have been in the lineup. She recently signed a seven-day player contract with the team to fill Toliver’s roster spot. 

Production was from all corners of the roster to set the 3-point mark. Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers both had four each as the bench added six.  Emma Meesseman, who came off the bench, led the unit as they combined for 36 points. 

In total, nine of the 10 eligible players on the gameday roster made a 3-pointer, with all 10 scoring a point. The only one who didn’t get one long ball was center LaToya Sanders, and she didn’t even have an attempt. 

And while the team was unaware of the record, they consciously knew that Sanders was the only one who didn’t make a 3-point shot.

“We’re going to get [LaToya] to shoot one. I’m going to give it to her real late in the shot clock, watch,” Natasha Cloud said postgame. 

She’s attempted two threes in her entire seven-year career. 

Like all games throughout the season at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast DC, there was a match lit underneath the Mystics (20-7) in the opening moments of the contest. They jumped out to a 24-4 lead over Indiana and held the Fever without a basket from the floor for the first seven minutes. 

An admirable 13-0 run by the Fever (9-17) momentarily made it a game in the second quarter. However, right after the run the Fever’s top player Candice Dupree exited the game with a finger injury. She spent the rest of the game courtside sporting a splint. 

Elena Delle Donne contributed to three of the team’s recording-breaking 3-point baskets. She also recorded her 11th game with 20-plus points as she led all scorers with 25. 

In addition to the setting the WNBA’s 3-point record, having nine separate players hit one also set another record. Recording 30 assists also put them two shy of another single-game high. 

It all came as the Mystics closed their toughest stretch of 2019: three games in five days. Their next goal? Rest, and they’ve earned it on their six-game winning streak.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas no matter what. Once we clinched a playoff spot, we didn’t come into this game thinking ‘alright let’s relax.’ We came into this game, ‘okay let’s continue to separate ourselves.” 


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Los Angeles Lakers request permission to meet with Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers request permission to meet with Dwight Howard

No, this isn't 2012. Yes, the Lakers are interested in Dwight Howard.

The Lakers are scrambling to find a replacement at center after newly acquired big man DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL in a pickup basketball game last week.

The Wizards traded Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies last month for veteran wing CJ Miles, but he's expected to be released. 

Howard is no stranger to L.A., as he spent the 2012-2013 season with the Lakers after a blockbuster four-team deal shipped him out of Orlando. The Lakers went 45-37 that year, and Howard signed with the Houston Rockets the following offseason. 

Although he was named an All-Star in 2012, Howard's stats took a notable hit. He averaged 17.1 points on 57.8 percent shooting while grabbing 12.4 rebounds. During his last season in Orlando he averaged 20.6 points on 57.3 percent shooting, while grabbing 14.5 boards. It was the first time Howard hadn't averaged at least 20+ points per game since the 2009 season.

Howard attributed a lackluster season with the Lakers to "injury," which can also be said about his time in Washington. Howard only played nine games with the Wizards due to a lingering lower-back injury, but his name stayed out of headlines. 

A healthy Howard is still a viable option down low. In 2017 Howard started 81 games for the Charlotte Hornets while averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. However, the key word is healthy. 

When Howard signed with Washington last year he presented this soliloquy at his introductory press conference:

"I learned Magic for eight years. Traveled to La-La Land. Learned how to work with Rockets. I went and learned to fly with some Hawks. Got stung by the Hornets — just a joke. But through all of that, it’s taught me how to be a Wizard.”

If Howard and the Lakers do agree to a deal, the real question is: What will he say at the next press conference?