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Every way the Wizards and Hawks paid tribute to Kobe Bryant

Every way the Wizards and Hawks paid tribute to Kobe Bryant

Basketball was secondary on Sunday after Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. 

The Wizards and Hawks had a game to play, but it was clear everyone's thoughts were with Bryant and his family. Atlanta ended up winning the game easily thanks to a dominant performance by Trae Young, but that was far from important at the end of the day. 

We usually bring you the best moments from the game, but this time we'll pivot to everything the Wizards and Hawks did to honor Bryant. 

Jerseys and shoes

Emotions were high before the game. Bryant was one of the most popular players in NBA history, so there was no surprise when a bunch of fans had his jersey on and players were wearing his shoe. 

Brooks talks Kobe

Scott Brooks met with the media before the game and gave a heartfelt statement about Bryant while fighting back tears. 

Brooks never coached Kobe, but he spent years competing against him and clearly developed a deep respect for his game and the kind of person Bryant was. 

Kobe chants

Then the crowd held a moment of silence for Bryant, which was followed swiftly by "Kobe!" chants for several moments. 


A pair of violations

Off the opening tip, Trae Young caught the ball in the backcourt and held it there until he was assessed an eight-second violation. 

Trae Young also wore a No. 8 jersey for the first possession in honor of his favorite player. 

On the following play, the Wizards took a 24-second violation, paying tribute to Bryant's two jersey numbers, 8 and 24. 

The Wizards will have Monday to recollect themselves after a trying day before having to play the Bucks on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, everyone's thoughts are with Bryant's family as they deal with this tragic loss. 

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Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

“On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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