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3 biggest moments in the Wizards' 125-116 win over the Hornets

3 biggest moments in the Wizards' 125-116 win over the Hornets

In a 125-118 win over the Hornets Friday night, the Wizards secured back-to-back victories for the first time since March of last season. 

They were down by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter, but behind another 30-point night from Bradley Beal and strong performances from Davis Bertans and Ish Smith off the bench, Washington made an impressive comeback to improve to 5-8.

Here were the three biggest moments from the game:

Bertans gets hot from deep

In a familiar fashion during the second quarter, the Wizards offense was flowing smoothly and so was their opponents. The game was seemingly trudging along until Jordan McRae rose up to posterize Marvin Williams

Once that happened, the crowd started to get into it and Davis Bertans got hot from deep. For whatever reason, the Hornets were sagging off Bertans so he promptly drilled five threes in the first half.

He finished going 6-11 from beyond the arc.

Without Bertans going off in that short span, the Hornets might have had a bigger lead going into halftime. Instead, Washington remained in striking distance despite another bad half of basketball from the defensive end of the floor. 

Miles Bridges dagger three

Before the game, we outlined the importance of keeping Bridges out of rhythm. His offensive skill set isn't quite polished off to the point where he consistently puts up efficient 20-point performances, so keeping him uncomfortable was key for the Wizards to win this game. 

That didn't happen, and when the Wizards needed a stop in the fourth quarter, Bridges made them pay. 

A lazy pass that should have been turned over bounced his way over to the second-year wing, and with Beal sagged off of him to keep him away from the paint, Bridges rose up and knocked down a clutch three. 

Scott Brooks called a timeout, and all of a sudden the Hornets were up 13 with nine minutes to go in the game. 

Smith ices the game

Ish Smith was key in the Wizards' win over the Spurs Wednesday, and he was a major reason why the Wizards were able to make such a big fourth-quarter comeback. 

With under four minutes to go, Smith found Thomas Bryant on the roll for a big two-handed slam to bring the Wizards within one. Then McRae hit a big three one possession later to put them in the lead. 

In crunch time with his team up four, Smith took his man off the dribble and finished a crafty right-handed level to all but ice things for Washington. 

While the Wizards fell behind big in the fourth quarter thanks to their defense, their irresistible attack on offense kept them alive late. 

The Wizards will host the Kings on Sunday as they look to grab their third straight and move up the Eastern Conference playoff picture. 


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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 


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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.