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Wizards at Thunder: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Thunder: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The Washington Wizards play at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Brooks' return

Wednesday night may be an emotional one for Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, as he returns to Oklahoma City for the first time since he was fired following the 2014-15 season. Brooks spent seven years as the head coach of the Thunder and was with the organization for two years before that as an assistant, dating back to their days as the Seattle Supersonics. 

Brooks will coach against superstar Russell Westbrook for the first time on Wednesday, but most of the stars he guided in OKC are gone. Kevin Durant moved on to the Golden State Warriors this past summer. Serge Ibaka was traded to the Orlando Magic. And James Harden was already long gone, having been traded to the Houston Rockets. Brooks looked back on coaching those guys, plus Nick Collison who remains in OKC, on Tuesday:

"I had a chance to coach some really great players. I mean, Nick Collison is a great player. Most of the world don't look at him as a great player, but he was great. He did a lot of things that were so important to us winning a lot of games. Harden, KD and Westbrook. They might be one, two and three in the MVP this year. And you could argue that all three are deserving."

[RELATED: Scott Brooks embraces his return to Oklahoma City]

Will Mahinmi play?

The Wizards had surprising news to share about Ian Mahinmi before each of the previous two games. On Saturday night against the Spurs, he made his season debut unexpectedly after rehabbing six weeks from left knee surgery. Then, on Monday he did not play against the Kings due to soreness in his right knee, possibly from overcompensating for his left knee during his recovery.

Getting Mahinmi back to 100 percent is important for the Wizards, who have struggled defensively this season, particularly with their second unit. He was their biggest offseason acquisition and they want him back for the long haul. He could also come in handy Wednesday with Steven Adams down low and Westbrook attacking the basket with regularity.

Can they limit Westbrook?

With all the aforementioned stars having moved on, all eyes are on Westbrook when it comes to the Thunder. The 28-year-old guard is off to a ridiculous start this season, currently averaging a triple-double. He's putting up 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.3 rebounds per game. Those are insane numbers. Westbrook has recorded a triple-double his last three games and the night before that fell just one assist short.  

John Wall will be tasked with guarding Westbrook and it won't be easy. There are few players at the point guard position who are as big and fast as Wall and Russ is one of them. Last season Westbrook averaged a triple-double (19.5 ppg, 11 apg, 12 rpg) and shot 50 percent in two games against Washington.

[RELATED: Wizards' players want to beat Thunder for Scott Brooks]

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Unsung LaToya Sanders’ two-way play has Mystics one game away from WNBA Finals

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Unsung LaToya Sanders’ two-way play has Mystics one game away from WNBA Finals

On a stacked Mystics team, LaToya Sanders knows her role. 

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound wisp of a center is asked to guard far bigger opponents throughout the season and still complement her teammates on the offensive end. It’s a lot to deal with. She does so without complaint. 

Sanders, the most unheralded of Washington’s five starters, did it all on Thursday night in a 103-91 WNBA semifinal win over the Las Vegas Aces at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. 

She finished with 17 points on a night when WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne (14 points, 5 of 15 shooting) struggled given her lofty standards. Sanders also played the kind of defense that left coach Mike Thibault insisting she should have been named WNBA first or second-team All-Defense. 

“My job is probably the easiest on the team,” Sanders laughed. “My job is basically to hit wide-open jumpers and lay-ups. Pretty sure I can do those two things.”

Indeed, she was efficient hitting 7 of 10 shots and all three free throws. Sanders also had to guard Vegas’ 6-8 center Liz Cambage, a big ask given their size difference. Cambage did have 23 points and 10 rebounds, but she only took 11 shots. 

Sanders and her teammates tried to make it as hard as possible for the Aces to get the ball inside for easy baskets in their two wins this week. Washington won Game 1 of the series 97-95 on Tuesday, a game that left Cambage visibly frustrated. She also earned a technical foul in Thursday’s game on a rough play underneath the Vegas basket.  

“When you’re LaToya Sanders and you’re 6-3 and you’re relying on your long arms to guard people, she takes a beating every night,” Thibault said. “She guards Camabge and [Phoenix Mercury center Brittney] Griner and [Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia] Fowles and all those people. And every night she wins a lot of those battles.”

But the really unsung part of Sanders’ game is her mid-range jumper. Thursday she was on when some of her higher-profile teammates like Delle Donne didn’t quite have their shot dropping. 

Sanders had six points in the third quarter as the two teams battled back and forth in a tight game and that set the stage for the decisive run that tilted the game toward the Mystics. She also had a hot start to the night with two baskets in the first quarter. 

“[Sanders is] a really good player. She's just on a team with so many other good players that she doesn't get as many shots,” Vegas guard Kelsey Plum said. “But she plays her role as good as anyone in the league. She's a vet. She rebounds the crap out of the ball. I just think that she does a great job for them. Everyone made us pay."

Thibault referenced a rebound Sanders grabbed in traffic to stifle a Vegas possession when they were trying to get the lead under 10 points in the fourth quarter. Instead, Washington was able to work the clock at the offensive end and score a knockout blow. It’s the little things that matter most when a team is pushing for a championship. The Mystics are one step closer. 

“Cambage is a talent, she’s a big girl,” Sanders said. “I just do what I can to try to make it difficult for her, but she’s going to hit some buckets here and there. I try to dish it out, but not take it.”  

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Mystics take Game 2 and put Aces on brink of elimination

Mystics take Game 2 and put Aces on brink of elimination

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Mystics beat the Las Vegas Aces 103-91 in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals on Thursday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. Before Thursday's game, as she was accepting her second WNBA MVP award, Elena Delle Donne explained how she had learned in the four years since winning her first MVP trophy the importance of making her teammates better. That approach paid off in Game 2, as the Aces' defense swarmed to limit her to just 14 points, well below her 19.5-point average, and to 33.3 percent shooting.

Delle Donne made sure she was effective in other ways. She grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked two shots and used her length to eliminate passing lanes. Though she wasn't making shots, she created space for others by drawing Las Vegas' tallest defenders to the perimeter.

Delle Donne wasn't the star of the box score, but her approach and execution were pivotal in a Mystics win, one that gave them a commanding 2-0 lead as the five-game series shifts to the desert.

2. What many on the Mystics predicted entering the playoffs has come true through two games that Emma Meesseman would be a major difference-maker after she missed last year's postseason run that ended with a loss in the Finals. After dropping 27 points with 10 rebounds in Game 1, she was back throwing haymakers in Game 2, posting 30 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Meesseman (6-foot-4) isn't nearly as big as Aces center Liz Cambage (6-foot-8), yet she attacked the lane consistently to look for her shot and to set up others. She had a play midway through the second quarter where she spun around Cambage and finished through contact with her right hand for an and-1. It got many fans out of their seats and some emphatic fist pumps from Wizards guard Bradley Beal who was sitting behind the basket.

Meesseman's toughness and craft are perfect for postseason basketball. She can score inside and out and is a disruptive defender despite not being a major rim protector.

3. The Aces' defensive adjustment after Game 1 was clearly to take away the three-point shot. The Mystics made 11 threes on 28 attempts on Tuesday, but by halftime on Thursday had only seven shots and two makes. Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud had a combined two attempts.

Washington missed their first three shots from long range to open the second half before Meesseman got one to fall. The Mystics finished 8-for-20 (40 percent) from the perimeter.

4. Meesseman's contributions were crucial and the same for LaToya Sanders, who played well above her regular season level on offense in Game 2. She had eight points in the first nine minutes of the first quarter, more than her season scoring average (6.1). She had 17 points with six rebounds and two steals by the time it was over.

Sanders' main priority is defense and has been tasked with checking Cambage so far in this series. But she can affects games on offense as well and the Aces paid for forgetting that. They left her open on midrange shots and long twos, banking on her to miss because she rarely even attempts threes. Sanders, though, knocked them down and gave the Mystics an unexpected lift.

5. It was only the second game back for guard Kristi Toliver, who is still sporting a leg brace after missing over a month due to a right knee contusion and MCL strain. Though she has practiced and is now back in-game action, it will naturally take time for her to find a rhythm and to get back into game shape.

In Game 2, she showed some rust by getting into early foul trouble. She picked up her third foul late in the second quarter after just eight minutes of action. That forced head coach Mike Thibault to go deeper into his bench and give Shatori Walker-Kimbrough some playing time. Walker-Kimbrough did not play at all in Game 1.

Toliver was able to get going later on and ended up with 10 points and three assists, including a three late in the third quarter where she turned and cupped her ear to the crowd before it swished through the net.

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