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New arena is already a ‘shooter’s gym’ for the Washington Mystics

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New arena is already a ‘shooter’s gym’ for the Washington Mystics

The dust hasn’t even settled outside of the Entertainment and Sports Arena, but the Washington Mystics are already setting the tone for road opponents this season.

In two games at their new home court in Congress Heights, the Mystics have put up 199 points following their 103-85 blowout of the Chicago Sky.

“It’s a shooter’s gym,” Kristi Toliver told NBC Sports Washington.

And boy is it. For the second time this week, the game was over by midway through the third quarter. The Mystics (2-1) were rolling, and the ball never stopped moving in their offense. Four starters quickly reached double figures and all six of the players who came off the bench scored, the Mystics building a 27-point lead at one point.

Through three quarters they were shooting 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from three with an 83-56 edge. At that point, the Sky (1-2) had committed 12 turnovers 

The starters barely played in the fourth quarter, resting after long outings in the first two games. 

The final buzzer sounded less than two hours after the tip. A crowd of 2,347 of a 4,200 capacity arena left with as much energy as they brought in.

“On a Wednesday night, I was thrilled to see this many people show up. It still felt really energetic,” Elena Delle Donne told reporters.

It was only the second game of the season for Delle Donne, who had a modest 12 points, shooting 4-for-14 and sitting the entire fourth quarter. The former WNBA MVP missed the opening game of the season with a left knee injury. On Wednesday she was still wearing a custom-made knee brace.

Her lack of offense did not stymie the rest of the Mystics though. They shot 51 percent without her, led by Toliver’s 19 points.

“The environment has been really good with all the fans getting into it and obviously a lot more intimate. It’s been good for us and tough for our opponents,” Toliver said.   

Off the bench, Belgian Emma Meesseman was 6-for-7 from the field with 12 points to lead the substitutes for 43 bench points. Now, she heads overseas to compete for the European Basketball Championship, during which time she could miss up to a month of the WNBA season.

Meanwhile, the Mystics stay stateside after starting a four-game stretch in seven days. Their next home game is Sunday, book-ended by a trip to New York and Connecticut.



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Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant and 35 Ventures announced Wednesday that his documentary, "Basketball County: In the Water," about the rich history of basketball stars from Prince George's County, MD will premiere on May 15 on Showtime.

The Sports Business Journal reported in mid-February that Durant was creating a documentary focusing on the prominence of basketball stars raised in PG County and was "putting the finishing touches" on the project. 

Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, serve as the executive producers of the highly-anticipated piece.

With the sports world at a standstill amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Durant's feature will give sports fans something to put on their calendar.


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Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Entering Wednesday night, the 2K Wizards were riding a four-game winning streak. They had beat the Celtics, Suns, Bucks and Lakers over the course of two weeks and looked like they might not lose again. 

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. At the hands of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the virtual Wizards lost 65-57. 

Here's how the game went down and slipped through the Wizards' fingers. 

Terrible shooting

Multiple brick houses were built during the making of this sim. 

The Wizards and Pelicans couldn't buy a jumper all game, especially from beyond the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 2-for-31 from three, a scorching 6.5%. 

To put this in a real-life context, this would have nearly broken an NBA record for combined three-point percentage with a minimum of 30 attempts. The current NBA record is reluctantly held by the Celtics and Nets on a night in 2003 where the two teams shot a combined 2-for-32 from three. 

Bradley Beal went 0-7 from three, Brandon Ingram missed all six of his attempts and JJ Redick didn't make a triple either. Just a weird night from three-point for two teams who were both top-five in three-point percentage before the 2019-20 season was suspended. 

Zion dunks his way to a win

The thing about having Williamson on your team is that, in games like this where nobody can hit a jumper, the Pelicans' best player didn't have to make much of an adjustment. 

Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, whether he's putting his armpits in the rim on a duck, bullying defenders down low and finishing layups through them or wreaking havoc on the offensive glass. 

So in a game where the only real source of offense came in the paint, Zion was right at home. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks, shot 13-for-17 from the floor and tallied seven dunks in the game. 

The Wizards will get a chance at revenge before the season is out, but the No. 1 overall pick got the best of them this time. 

Parting thoughts

Beal got his shot blocked three times in this game alone, continuing an interesting trend we've seen through a few of these simulations. Beal had his shot blocked 52 times during the regular season, which puts him at 44th most in the league. The 2K sims have been fairly accurate to this point, but it appears Beal is getting his shot sent back a bit too much. 

Rui Hachimura had another good game in the 2K sim and continues to prove how valuable his skill and mobility at his size can be in such a setting. The rookie forward finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and went 6-for-9 from the floor. 

Davis Bertans didn't attempt a three in 13 minutes of playing time. During the regular season, Bertans averaged one three-point attempt every three minutes, so it was definitely bizarre to see him on the floor and not launch a single shot from deep. 

Beal may have had a rough game statistically, scoring 20 points on 9-of-25 shooting, but he at least produced a few highlight dunks including one on Williamson. 

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