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Wizards say Kelly Oubre, Jr should know better after ejection vs. Celtics

Wizards say Kelly Oubre, Jr should know better after ejection vs. Celtics

Everything that had gone on between the Wizards and Celtics through nearly two years of animosity and two previous playoff games that featured knocked out teeth and a gruesome bloody nose, all of it came to a head in Game 3 of their series on Thursday night at the Verizon Center. 

Early in the second quarter of the Wizards' blowout win, Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk caught Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. with a blindside screen. Oubre fell to the ground and earned an offensive foul call, but that wasn't enough. Oubre immediately rose to his feet, charged Olynyk and threw all seven feet and 240 pounds of him to the ground.

Referee Monty McCutchen sensed the spark from Oubre before he came back for more and tried to stand in between the two giants, but he was no match for a 6-foot-7 Oubre, who trucked Olynyk to the floor like Sean Taylor used to drop slot receivers.

For the soldout crowd at the Verizon Center, it was a thrilling moment in a series that has already lived up to all the rivalry hype that preceded it. They even chanted Oubre's name.

But ultimately it was a very poor decision by a young player still finding his way in the league. Oubre was ejected for a flagrant-2 foul and now faces a potential suspension, depending on a league review. And he's lucky it didn't prove more costly in a game the Wizards won easily.

Oubre didn't talk after the game, but many of his teammates did. Bradley Beal approached Oubre during why the officials reviewed the replay right after the incident and before they ejected him. Beal shared that conversation afterwards.

"I was encouraging him. In a situation like that, you've just gotta be smart," Beal said. "You got the call. As much as it may frustrate you, you just continue to do what you're doing. At that point in the game, that's what they wanted it to be. They wanted it to be physical and let it get out of hand a little bit. We were up 20 or whatever it was. They were kind of playing angry. They were fouling and setting moving screens. That's going to happen throughout the course of the game. I just told him: 'we need you. You're one of our best defenders. You're constantly getting better. You're a threat on the floor and we need you. Just make sure that moving forward you are smart about it. If somebody hits you, just move on. Just continue to play smart.'"

[RELATED: Jennings and Rozier ejected from Wizards-Celtics Game 3]

Head coach Scott Brooks did not excuse what Oubre did, but was understanding of the frustration.

"I think we've got to control our emotions. We can't respond that way," he said. "But when you keep getting hit in the head, you might respond that way and I think that's what he did. I'm not saying that that was the right thing to do. We have to focus on playing basketball."

From the Celtics' vantage point, the whole incident was Oubre's fault. Al Horford said "there was no such thing as the two Kellys – Kelly Olynyk stayed back." 

Olynyk answered succintly for each question, saying simply "I set a screen" and "I didn't expect it."

Since the Wizards completely obliterated the Celtics, they were able to laugh a bit at what Oubre did. He lost his temper and needs to learn from his mistake, but it was still an entertaining moment, even for his teammates.

Beal, for one, wasn't quite familiar with that side of Oubre and did not expect it to come out against Olynyk of all people.

"I thought they was cool. That's what threw me off," Beal said. "It really takes K.O. a lot to go off. I always see them shake hands. Like, before the game they would shake hands and talk a little bit."

On what was going through his mind when he saw Oubre get up:

"It was pretty much you weren't stopping him. You weren't stopping him. I knew exactly where he was going," Beal said.

Like Beal, Markieff Morris had some words for Oubre. The ones he shared with the media drew laughs.

"I told him they were going to throw him out 'so might as well leave now,'" Morris said.

It was shocking in the moment, yet funny afterwards. But now the Wizards and Oubre wait to hear his fate.

[RELATED: Wizards' Kelly Oubre faces possible suspension]

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 1: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

The Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne finally get to play in the WNBA Playoffs after a week off due to a double-bye from winning the No. 1 seed. 

The Mystics will play the No. 4 seeded Las Vegas Aces on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET. It begins a best-of-five series between two of the best teams in the WNBA this season. 

Midway through the year, the Aces were arguably the best team in the league. They were trading turns with the Mystics and the Connecticut Sun sitting atop the WNBA Standings. Led by MVP candidate Liz Cambage, one of the most dominating centers in the league, the Aces were squarely in the running for one of the top seeds and a double-bye.

Then they went cold, finished the season 2-4 and witnessed the Mystics and Sun continued success.

The Aces, honestly, should probably not be here after the incredible end-of-game sequence from the previous round. Dearica Hamby's steal and desperation shot are the only things that have the Aces here and not the Chicago Sky.

Much of the dominance from Cambage and A'ja Wilson has dissipated over the past several weeks. Still, they bring in one of the strongest defensive units in the league to try and slow down the most potent's in WNBA history. In the regular season, the Aces held opponents to a WNBA-best 43.5% from the field and the second-best from 3-point range (32.1%). 

Washington won the regular-season series against Las Vegas 2-1. Yet in the process, one game was postponed at halftime by an earthquake and another game delayed because of clock failures. The only game the Aces won was the one that Delle Donne missed. 

Washington finished the regular season with a franchise-best 26 wins. They set the WNBA record for made 3-pointers on the season (9.3 per game) and in a game (18), and fewest turnovers (11.3 per game) among a few.

While the Mystics have a much-needed eight days off before they play the Aces, one also has to be concerned if it was too much time off. They will have more time to recover in a series as opposed to the winner-take-all first and second rounds. However, there is not much wiggle room in a five-game series predicated on homefield advantage.

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 1:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 1

When: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Tue, Sept. 17: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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Just joining the Mystics' bandwagon in time for the semi-finals? Here's what you need to know

Just joining the Mystics' bandwagon in time for the semi-finals? Here's what you need to know

The Washington Mystics are set to kick off their playoff run on Tuesday night at 8:30 pm against the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Semifinals. You may have followed the entire journey to this point, or you may just joining in on the fun, hoping to hitch a ride on the bandwagon of a great team.

If you are in that second group, you're in luck. Here is what you need to know about the 2019 Mystics as they gear up for the postseason...

They are historically good: The 26-8 Mystics weren't just the best team in the league this season by their record, they were dominant to a degree rarely seen in the WNBA. Washington scored the most points per game (89.3), had the most assists (21.9), the fewest turnovers (11.8) and the highest field goal percentage (46.9). 

The Mystics had the best offensive rating (112.9) with an 11.3-point edge over the second-best team, the Chicago Sky. With the sixth-best defensive rating, the Mystics' 14.8 net rating was 10.7 points better than the next-best team, the Las Vegas Aces. 

Washington's offensive rating is the best ever, ahead of the 2000 Houston Comets who were at 109.1. Their 53.6 effective field goal percentage is also an all-time best. Basically, no one has ever scored as efficiently as this year's Mystics.

Delle Donne could be MVP: Mystics star Elene Delle Donne may take home her second WNBA MVP award. She had another monster season with 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while posting the first 50-40-90 season in WNBA history. She shot 51.5 percent from the field, 43 percent from three and 97.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Delle Donne is also healthy this time around. Last year, she battled a left knee injury that limited her during the playoffs and contributed to the Mystics demise in the Finals.

They make lots of threes: The three-point shot has never been more important in basketball and the Mystics are better at it than anyone else in the WNBA. They led the league in three-pointers made and attempted, and were second in percentage this season. They hit 36.6 percent, second only to the Aces, on 25.4 attempts. Their 9.3 made threes per game were 1.8 more than the next team, the Connecticut Sun. 

The total numbers are impressive, but so is the Mystics' versatility of perimeter threats. Delle Donne is 6-foot-5, yet she hits her 43 percent on 3.9 attempts per game. Meesseman is a 6-foot-4 center who makes 42.2 percent on two attempts per game.  Then they have Myisha Hines-Allen, Tianna Hawkins, Aerial Powers, Kristi Tolliver and Ariel Atkins, who all shoot 35.7 percent or better from long range. 

Their defense is elite: It isn't just scoring and outside shooting that makes the Mystics great. They also have one of the best defenses with the athleticism and length to frustrate opponents. Washington was fourth in points allowed (77.3), sixth in defensive rating (98.1), fifth in turnovers forced (14.5), eighth in opponent field goal percentage (43) and seventh in opponent three-point percentage (34).

That led to both Atkins and Cloud earning second-team All-Defense this season. LaToya Sanders also drew consideration and, if you ask her teammates, was a glaring snub.

Run it back: The Mystics are on a mission to clear up some unfinished business. Last year, they made it all the way to the WNBA Finals, only to lose to the high-powered Seattle Storm.

The path is there for another deep playoff run, this time perhaps with a different result. 'Run it back' has been a mantra for the team all season. You will see it in hashtags on Twitter. They want to get back to the Finals and take home the first championship in franchise history.

Thibault could get a ring: Head coach Mike Thibault has enjoyed a long and distinguished basketball career that includes two NBA championships as an assistant with the Lakers in the early 1980s. He is the winningest coach in WNBA history.

But Thibault does not have a WNBA championship on his resume, at least not yet. He has lost in the Finals three times including twice during his days with Connecticut. Winning a title would represent a breakthrough for him and would make for a great story of someone finally reaching the mountaintop in their sport.

Toliver has been hurt: The biggest question mark for the Mystics going into the playoffs is the health of All-Star guard Kristi Toliver. She has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a right knee contusion, an injury that forced her to miss 11 games. According to Thibault, she is "probably" going to play in Game 1 but if she does, she will be on a minutes restriction.

The Mystics closed the season well without her, winning 10 of the 11 games she missed. But Toliver is an important piece as a veteran leader and because of her three-point shooting and passing.

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