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Wizards pay back Pacers 118-104: Five takeaways


Wizards pay back Pacers 118-104: Five takeaways

Bradley Beal walked to the bench at the end of the third quarter flexing his muscles at BankersLife Fieldhouse. The Wizards did it almost from start to finish in a blowout win to atone for one of their worst losses with a 118-104 victory Friday.

The win moved the Wizards (19-19) back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 25 and matched their season-high win streak with four in a row.

John Wall (28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) led five players in double figures, followed by Bradley Beal (22 points, five rebounds), Gary Neal (12 points), DeJuan Blair (12 points, six rebounds, two steals) and Ramon Sessions (10 points, five assists, two steals).

Paul George (21 points) and George Hill (19 points) led Indiana (22-18).

The Wizards exploded for a 35-point second quarter to break open a close game and lead by double digits the rest of the way. Wall was the only starter to score in double figures, with Nene (eight points, eight rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (seven points, four rebounds) being the closest. Drew Gooden (eight points, four rebounds) was efficient in 17 minutes.

Otto Porter (right hip) didn't play as Oubre made his sixth start as a rookie.

  • The Nene effect is real. For the third game in a row as the starter, he has produced and his presence alone improves their rebounding even if he's not getting any credit for it. The Wizards had season highs in total rebounds (54) and offensive rebounds (17). No one had more than eight rebounds and five of them had at least six. 

  • The extra pass is being made and with Beal on the floor he's the recipient of nothing but clean looks. Wall had a wide-open look on the pass out from Nene, pump-faked, sent it to Beal in the corner for a three. Then it was Wall to Nene inside and out to Beal for another corner 3. The score was 107-89 at that point. But it was about more than threes. Instead of moving laterally, pounding the ball and running out the clock, Beal put pressure on the defense with his dribble, attacked the rim and hit pull-ups as he banked in runners off the glass when Wall was off the floor. With Lavoy Allen on him, Beal isolated the mismatch, broke him down and knocked down a floater from the baseline. Coming off the bench to control his minutes (22) gives the Wizards another shot creator with the second unit, and based on the way this has started there's no reason to change anything for the sake of change.  

  • Quietly, Blair has come on in spot duty as the backup to Nene with Marcin Gortat (left knee) out. Blair has shot 11 of 17 in the last three games and did a good job with moving the ball to find open cutters. Last season, Blair wouldn't have been able to make the spin move he put on Ian Mahinmi to get to the rim for a layup. Coach Randy Wittman has opted for small lineups when the Wizards have been thin in the middle, but against the Pacers he wisely went with Blair instead.

  • George and C.J. Miles made 15 of 17 three-pointers in a Nov. 24 win at Verizon Center. In that game, Kris Humphries, who missed this game with a sore right knee, was lost in space matching up with Miles. Jared Dudley started in this one and Miles was a non-factor. He combined with George to shoot 1 of 9 from three, 42 points less. As shooting goes, that game was an aberration. The Wizards' roster top to bottom is better and should win this matchup more than they lose.

  • Garrett Temple went down with a strained right shoulder but returned and made his only shot of the game -- a three-pointer -- to push the lead to 44-31 as the Wizards created separation. Temple's ball pressure and harassment of the Pacers on the perimeter was key to their offense never getting on track. He also fought George for every inch, drawing an offensive foul on him while fronting the mid-post. George, an early-season MVP candidate, missed 13 of 19 shots.

MORE WIZARDS: Gortat confirms he's close to returning to Wizards

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Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

Wizards plan to introduce Dwight Howard Monday

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. 



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.