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Bench sparks Wizards to important victory over Orlando Magic

Bench sparks Wizards to important victory over Orlando Magic

The Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 100-90 on Wednesday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. Though the Wizards have had some positive momentum at times in recent weeks as they aim to secure a playoff spot, they lost a series of games that could have directly helped their chances in a head-to-head match-up with a team they are chasing. On Wednesday, they got one.

The Wizards held off the Orlando Magic to win their second straight game. They have now won five of eight with 14 games remaining on their schedule.

By beating the Magic, they captured the head-to-head series between the teams. That means they will hold a playoff tiebreaker against them in the event one is needed.

It was only a small step towards the Wizards reaching their goal, but it helps.

2. Jabari Parker might as well have a culinary degree because the man can cook.

He once again flipped a game on its head with instant scoring off the bench. By halftime he had 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting in 12 minutes. For the game, he put up 19 points with nine rebounds in 28 minutes of action.

The Magic just couldn't stay in front of him. He got to the rim at will and didn't make the careless turnovers we have seen too often from him recently.

The more Parker plays like this, the more interesting his summer will be. It's basically a lock the Wizards step out of his $20 million team option for next season, making him a free agent. But how many years and how much money will he get? 

3. The Wizards have had a major problem taking care of the ball in recent weeks. Since acquiring Parker and Bobby Portis, they lead the league in turnovers. 

Wednesday, they had only nine of them. That was key against a Magic team that ranks among the NBA's best at defense. Interestingly enough, though, Orlando is 27th in the NBA in forcing turnovers. They stop teams in other ways.

4. On Monday against the Kings, Thomas Bryant had arguably his worst game since joining the regular rotation. He had only two points and zero rebounds.

Against the Magic, he bounced back and did so with help from Troy Brown Jr. Bryant had 21 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes, including a series of dunks.

Brown, who had six points, three assists and three rebounds, fed him on a few of his slams. They have been a nice combination on the Wizards' bench, which was a big strength against Orlando. They outscored the Magic's second unit 59-to-20.

Chasson Randle also got in on the action. After a series of DNPs, he scored 12 points against the Kings and followed that up with 13 points in this one.

5. Tomas Satoransky put in extensive work pregame in the post with a Wizards assistant, perhaps sensing an edge against D.J. Augustin, who is about seven inches shorter than him. Sure enough, Satoransky was able to take advantage on a few plays in this game, including one in the first quarter where he bullied his way to the baseline and finished with his left hand.

Satoransky is one of the tallest point guards in the NBA, so it only makes sense that he could be effective posting up. It would be smart to work that into his game more, even against guards who aren't as short as Augustin.


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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.