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NBA teams have come back from down 0-2, but it won't be easy for Wizards against Raptors

NBA teams have come back from down 0-2, but it won't be easy for Wizards against Raptors

The Wizards did not have a great time in Canada this week. They went up to Toronto to begin their first round playoff series against the Raptors and returned through customs with an 0-2 deficit.

In order to extend their season another playoff round, the Wizards will have to win four of the next five games. They haven't won four of five since (checks calendar) February. It's been a while since the Wizards reeled off wins like that and this is the playoffs.

And not only is it the playoffs, they are playing the best team in the Eastern Conference and the Raptors are rolling. Toronto is making threes like Drake makes hits. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal has yet to heat up and the rest of the starting lineup outside of John Wall is a mystery.

When put like that, it sounds pretty bleak but there is no reason to take a glass half-empty approach quite yet. Teams that go down 0-3 have historically been dead in the water with no comebacks ever completed, but 0-2 is not an insurmountable deficit. In fact, the Wizards themselves have done it before.

Back in 2005, in their first round series against the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards lost the first two games and then swept the next four. Gilbert Arenas did Gilbert Arenas things and local hero Juan Dixon had the game of his NBA life in Game 4. It is not out of the question for that to happen again. 

Before going through some of the success stories, let's first examine the odds the Wizards are up against. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in seven-game series in the NBA Playoffs are a whopping 273-19. That's a win percentage of 93.5. 

Recently, however, these upsets have become more common. Since the NBA switched to seven-game series in the first round in 2003, comebacks from down 0-2 have happened 12 times. That's almost once per year. Three teams have done it in the past two years alone.

The Celtics dropped their first two games against the Bulls in the first round last spring, but came back to win. In 2016, the Blazers accomplished the feat in the first round and the Cavaliers did the same in the NBA Finals.

Here are the most recent instances of an 0-2 comeback:

2005: Washington over Chicago, first round
2006: Miami over Dallas, NBA Finals
2007: Utah over Houston, first round
2007: Cleveland over Detroit, conference finals
2008: San Antonio over New Orleans, second round
2012: Oklahoma City over San Antonio, conference finals
2013: Memphis over L.A. Clippers, first round
2016: Portland over L.A. Clippers, first round
2016: Cleveland over Golden State, NBA Finals
2017: Boston over Chicago, first round

Can the Wizards add another to that list? As Beal noted following the Wizards' Game 2 loss, they almost did it last year.

"We were in this situation probably a year from today almost against Boston in the second round," Beal said. "We’ve gotta take it a game at a time. Focus on Game 3 and get that at home."

The Wizards went down 0-2 against the Celtics in the second round and pushed it all the way to Game 7. If they can put themselves in that position again, maybe the result will be different.

The Wizards have to hold serve at home to give themselves a chance. We'll see how they respond in Game 3 on Friday.

(h/t Odds Shark)




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Capital City Go-Go to hold open tryouts in search of local talent in D.C. area


Capital City Go-Go to hold open tryouts in search of local talent in D.C. area

The inaugural season of the Washington Wizards' G-League franchise, the Capital City Go-Go, will bring a lot of new experiences for the D.C. area and that includes the process of open tryouts as they seek the best players in the community to fill out their final roster spots.

There will be an opportunity for the best basketball players in the region to showcase their talent in front of Go-Go executives. They don't know if there will be one or two tryouts, when or where they will be held, but the expectation is sometime in September. 

Go-Go general manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu is hoping for a big turnout.

"I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how many people and what kind of talent we can have coming out to those local tryouts. Once we got those dates, we’ll get them out to the community and hopefully we get a ton of guys coming out here to represent their area," he said.

"Whoever comes out, we’ll love it. The more the merrier. It might make our job harder to choose, but I’m okay with that. It’s an expansion team. We’re looking to put this team together and if we have 200 guys come out, that would be great. It just gives us more of an opportunity and a bigger pool to look through. I’m okay with a lot of guys coming out."

Tryouts are commonplace in the G-League, but the Go-Go expect to have an advantage based on their location. The D.C. area is a hotbed for basketball talent and over the years has produced many NBA players and Division 1 college stars.

Mensah-Bonsu can attest to that, having spent many years in the area. He was a star at George Washington University, was with the Wizards in training camp during his professional playing days and has since stuck around to make the city his home.

"The DMV area has a wealth of basketball talent," he said.

Go-Go head coach Jarell Christian is relatively new to the area, but he expects the tryouts to be productive for a G-League talent search. He has held open tryouts before when he was a member of the G-League staff in Oklahoma City. But this isn't Oklahoma City.

"The talent level in Oklahoma City is different than here in D.C., so I think we’ll be able to find some really good players, locally in those tryouts," Christian said.

Christian said that those who want to sign up will likely need to get in contact with members of the front office, either by themselves or with the help of an agent. He mentioned Mensah-Bonsu and also Scott Schroeder, their assistant GM.

Christian and the coaching staff will run them through drills and scrimmages to evaluate which players to keep. Once they see the basketball skills, they will put them through background checks and get testimonials, just like any other job.

"We just want to get a feel for what the players can do. Also, we’ve gotta get to know them and their character. If we do like a player, we’ve gotta make sure we call their references and they check out as being people that we want in our organization at the end of the day," Christian said.

The G-League allows each team to invite up to five players from their tryouts to participate in preseason training camp.

There are several stipulations when it comes to who can try out. Players have to be at least 18 years old and international prospects are often not allowed. The tryouts also generally require a registration fee. More information on the requirements for the Go-Go tryouts will be released once the dates are set.

Open tryouts for other teams around the G-League have produced some unique success stories. Guys who have gone on to make the NBA include Jonathan Simmons and David Nwaba. Perhaps the Go-Go will find the next diamond in the rough.

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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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