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Wizards respond to Scott Brooks' 4th-quarter adjustments

Wizards respond to Scott Brooks' 4th-quarter adjustments

An 18-point lead had all but evaporated for the Wizards, but coach Scott Brooks made a small adjustment in the fourth quarter to get them rolling to win again on the road. 

He went to Bradley Beal to begin the fourth quarter with the New Orleans Pelicans, not Tomas Satoransky, as he had two starters with three reserves. The other starter was Markieff Morris.

Trey Burke and Jason Smith had buckets, but it was five points from Morris and a three-pointer by Beal that put up the Wizards 87-80 with 7:40 left, 

"I thought Keef was huge in that second half, especially in that fourth quarter when we were not playing well," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of what would become a 107-94 victory.  "He came in and gave us buckets, gave us rebounds, gave us a confidence we could get back to how we were playing."

The Wizards briefly lost the lead late in the third quarter on a jumper from Anthony Davis but regained it 74-73 for good. That's when Brooks broke from his routine and inserted Beal.

Less than three minutes after that three-pointer, the Wizards were back up double digits with a three each from Morris and Beal. While the reserves defended well, they only contributed 11 points.

"There’s going to be nights off the bench they score more. There are going to be nights that they don't," Brooks said. "I thought Brad came in, Keef came in that fourth quarter and gave us a lift. I put Brad in there a few minutes extra earlier. I felt our offense was stagnant and we needed a scorer like Brad. That gave us some stability going  into that fourth quarter."

In the previous game, on Friday at the Atlanta Hawks, Brooks went with just one starter (Otto Porter) to bein the fourth with the second unit. But that game was a blowout. 

In a win over the Charlotte Hornets, Brooks went with Beal to start the fourth with Morris because their lead was tenous at 80-74 entering the fourth. 

Morris routinely begins the second and fourth quarters to with the second unit. Beal played 39 minutes and Morris was at 37, but both played well under 30 in the blowout of Atlanta. 

[RELATED: Where Porter ranks among most improved]

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Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

WASHINGTON -- The long-awaited return of Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura is getting closer, as he participated in a full practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury back on Dec. 16.

Hachimura, 21, had no limitations, per head coach Scott Brooks. He went through all of their drills and full-contact scrimmages.

"He did well. He went through everything. That's another good day," Brooks said.

The final hurdle for Hachimura at this point involves getting into game shape. His conditioning is not close to midseason form after missing seven weeks of games.

Brooks said Hachimura definitely will not return before the end of the team's current road trip, which ends on Tuesday in Milwaukee. After that, however, it could be a matter of days.

 

The Wizards will return to Washington after playing the Bucks for a six-game homestand. It seems likely he is back by the time it's over.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura has had a strong rookie season so far, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field. The Wizards have gone 7-12 since he's been out.

Hachimura suffered the injury when he was inadvertently kicked between the legs by teammate Isaac Bonga. He required a minor procedure and was away from the team for weeks before slowly working his way back to basketball activities and then participating in practices.

Saturday was a big step in his recovery and it now puts the finish line into focus.

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Watch: We mic'd up Thomas Bryant when he cheered on Indiana in matchup vs. Maryland

Watch: We mic'd up Thomas Bryant when he cheered on Indiana in matchup vs. Maryland

When the Maryland Terps faced Indiana for the first time in Big Ten play this season in early January, one famous former Hoosiers player sat in the stands cheering his team on. Wizards center Thomas Bryant allowed NBC Sports Washington to follow him throughout the game, where he showed his trademark enthusiasm for his former team. 

"It feels great," he said when asked by NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes how it feels to be watching his alma mater. "It seems like yesterday I was just playing against Maryland myself."

MORE COLLEGE HOOPS: THE BIG TWENTY REVISITS UVA'S HIGHEST HIGH, LOWEST LOW IN NCAA TOURNAMENT

Unfortunately for Bryant, the Hoosiers lost that game. But they'll get another shot at the Terps on Sunday. 

But Bryant, who will have his own game to suit up for when the Wizards take on the Hawks, won't be there to cheer. But when he did have the chance - he was vocal. After all, he told Hughes, that's just the type of fan and teammate he is.

"No matter if I'm out there or not, I'm going to be on my brother's side," he said.

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