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Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis get revenge on their former team as the Wizards blitz the Bulls

Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis get revenge on their former team as the Wizards blitz the Bulls

The Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 134-125 on Saturday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. So, the new-look Wizards might be kind of fun.

For the second straight night, they blasted an opponent with a balanced scoring effort, lots of dunks and Bobby Portis screams into the crowd.

Things, of course, won’t always be this easy. They just beat up on the Bulls one night after smashing the Cavs. Those two teams place among the four-worst records in all the NBA.

The road will get a bit tougher on Monday against the Pistons and then extremely difficult on Wednesday in Toronto in their final game before the All-Star break. 

But the early returns on the Wizards after their pair of trades on Wednesday are good. They play hard, they can score and they at least have enough to win against the bad teams.

The two straight wins follow a stretch of five losses in six games. The Wizards are 10th in the conference with a shot at the 9th-place team, Detroit, up next. At 24-32, Washington is two and a half games behind the 8th-place Miami Heat, who play the Warriors on Sunday.

2. Friday was Portis’ time to shine. On Saturday, it was all about Jabari Parker.

The new Wizards forward had a classic revenge game, tormenting his former team to the tune of 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting. He also added six assists, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Parker clearly had an ax to grind coming into this game based on his comments the day before about his frustration with the Bulls coaching staff. And his quest for vengeance seemed to translate in a variety of powerful dunks. He wasn’t just there to score. He was there to punish the rim.

Parker led a huge effort from the Wizards bench. They scored 64 points compared to 38 for the Bulls reserves. Chasson Randle pitched in with a career-high 20 points.

The Wizards gave up a good player in Otto Porter Jr., but already it’s clear how they improved their depth in this week’s trades. They basically got three players for one in their rotation since Markieff Morris hadn’t played in weeks due to injury.

3. As expected, it was strange to see Porter in a Bulls jersey going up against his former Wizards teammates.  What was unexpected was some of the plays he made.

Porter came out with some extra zip in the first quarter. He was more aggressive than we are used to seeing him, attacking the rim and finishing through traffic. 

Porter ended up with 17 points and two steals. As much as there is to like about the Wizards’ side of the trade – they got two nice players and some much-needed financial flexibility – the Bulls did well for themselves. He is a nice fit with what they are building.

Porter is a good veteran complement to Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Add in whomever they get with their 2019 first round pick, which should be a top selection, and they will have a solid group to build around. 

Porter’s contract was a problem in Washington, but they can manage it in Chicago with young players who have yet to break the bank.

4. The Wizards had their best offensive first half in over a decade. They dropped 76 points against the Bulls, their most in a first half since 2006, back when Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were lighting it up in the good old days.

The Wizards shot 57.1 percent overall in the first half and 10-for-18 from three. Their bench outdid that of the Bulls, 35-15. They blitzed them in the second quarter with 42 points.

It has helped the Wizards played Cleveland on Friday and then the Bulls, but their new-look roster has already shown some serious offensive potential. Everyone knows Parker can score and both Portis and Wes Johnson can stretch the floor.

5. There is a new Wizards injury to monitor as Jeff Green did not return after halftime with tightness in his left hip. He was replaced by Parker in the lineup to begin the third quarter.

Green can be added to the Wizards’ list of injuries that includes Troy Brown Jr., who is not expected to return until after the All-Star break due to his left ankle sprain. Then, of course, there is John Wall who is out for the year and Dwight Howard, who does not appear close to returning.


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Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Scott Brooks: Bradley Beal is one of the NBA's best overall players

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks always has nice things to say about Bradley Beal, his star shooting guard. But on Thursday night's 'Wizards Greatest Hits' broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, he took it up a notch with his praise.

While speaking with host Chris Miller as they watched back the Wizards' Jan. 2019 win over the Knicks in London, Brooks shared some very high compliments of Beal.

"He is really one of the best players in the league," Brooks said. "All-around, not only at guard, he is one of the best players in the league. His game has improved so much over the past three years. He's getting better every year."

As they watched the fourth quarter of that Wizards-Knicks game, Brooks went on about how Beal can flip a switch during crunch time and how sometimes all it takes is a quick conversation between them.

"There are times where I need him to take over a game. I just say 'Brad, it's time,'" Brooks said.


The best line from Brooks may have been when Beal not making the 2019-20 All-Star team came up. Brooks' coaching peers vote on the reserves and they famously left Beal out, which made for some history combined with his scoring average at the time.

Brooks wants to know from other NBA coaches: "If you don't think he's an All-Star, then why are you double-teaming every single time we play?"

If you get an answer to that question, Scott, be sure to let us know.

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The next 'The Last Dance'? Five sports stories we want to see

The next 'The Last Dance'? Five sports stories we want to see

It’s been just under a fortnight since sports fans joined together to relive the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls era of the 90s through ESPN's 'The Last Dance' documentary.

Through unprecedented access viewers were treated to an exclusive look at the Chicago Bulls' final NBA championship during the 1997-98 season.

So many memories were brought to the surface while many other unknown revelations left us all in awe. And like you, I couldn’t help but imagine some of the other sports stories I would love to receive the same treatment.

With that thought in mind, I present to you five of the best candidates for your consideration for their own #LastDance:

5. “The Dub” - The Birth of the WNBA

There was something major missing from professional sports 24 years ago: omen. As a remedy, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern took the most significant step for women’s professional basketball by founding the WNBA and providing a counterpart to the NBA platform to showcase the best basketball talent women’s sports has to offer. Led by players like Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, and Sheryl Swoopes, the WNBA declared “We Got Next”, and has since gone on to deliver on that promise.

4. “Carolina Blues” - Duke vs North Carolina (Men's Basketball)

It’s impossible to tell the story of basketball, college basketball in particular, without mentioning the entire state of North Carolina; the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels most notably. Only 10 miles separate the two programs that have combined for 11 national championships and produced countless NBA players. It’s not enough to ask why so many players attend these institutions. That’s easy. What really needs to be explored is how deep the rivalry between these two schools goes and how can they coexist while remaining in such close proximity. With so much competitive fire in a state with a population of 10.5 million, it’s inevitable that from time to time someone has to sing the blues while their rival hoists another trophy.

3. “Game. Set. Goat.” - The Legend of Serena Williams

Name another athlete as dominant as Serena Williams; especially within the game of tennis. Williams' accolades include 73 Singles Titles, seven Wimbledon Titles, Olympic Gold Medalist several times over, and that’s not even scratching the surface. From the courts of Compton, CA, all the way to the clay of the Australia Open, Serena has provided greatness at a level few have experienced, many have attempted, and all have witnessed. She’s in a class all to herself and yet has always maintained a never-ending fervor for athletic excellence; even against intermittently insurmountable odds. Regardless of the obstacles, she has persevered to this day to still be considered the GOAT. Period.

2. “The Patriot Way” - One Franchise; Six Rings

Winning and controversy go hand-in-hand. That’s to be expected; especially in sports. However, both of them have been at a fever pitch for the New England Patriots for almost two decades since their first Super Bowl Championship in 2001. When fate combines one of the greatest coaching minds ever with one of the most competitive athletes ever, it’s no mystery that their greatness yields some rather bewildering results, even if it means bending the rules from time to time. There’s no mistaking the fruits of their labor, but there’s also nothing wrong with peeking behind the curtain to get an intimate understanding of how things got done the Patriot Way!

1. “Diesel & The Mamba” - The End of the Shaq & Kobe Lakers 

On the road to three consecutive NBA titles in the early 2000s, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal entertained us with the most dominant basketball performance since MJ’s Bulls of the 90s. We knew they were great. We knew they had the great Phil Jackson as their coach. We knew they were having fun being young, rich and successful in Los Angeles. What we didn’t know is why these two all-time great players couldn’t keep their relationship intact long enough to possibly challenge, if not supplant, the aforementioned Chicago Bulls as the greatest dynasty in NBA history. If only…

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