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Otto Porter Jr. begins 2018-19 season with way too few shot attempts in Wizards' loss

Otto Porter Jr. begins 2018-19 season with way too few shot attempts in Wizards' loss

The initiative to get Otto Porter Jr. more attempts from three this season is not off to a great start.

That right there is called an understatement. Because it would be one thing if Porter only took a couple of them, but he literally took zero against the Heat on Thursday night in the Wizards' 2018-19 regular season opener.

Yes, one of the NBA's best three-point shooters didn't even get off a single attempt from long range. That is simply hard to justify, especially after a preseason in which the team had a stated goal to shoot more threes than ever before.

It wasn't just threes. The often deferential Porter was even more gun shy than normal. He only took seven total shots in the 113-112 loss and topped out at just nine points.

Porter, in fact, had just one field goal attempt until there was 1:19 remaining in the first half, when he got two of them on the same play thanks to a rebound on his own miss.

Porter still affected the game in other ways, per usual. He had 11 rebounds, three steals and three blocks and finished +1 in +/- rating.

But for Porter to reach the next level as a player, he has to add volume to his efficient scoring numbers.

"We will look at the film and figure it out," head coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not like we go into the game wanting to only shoot 26 threes [as a team] and Otto shoot zero."

Brooks continued to say the problem is a combination of several things. More plays could be called for Porter and his teammates could look for him more often.

But ultimately, it's up to Porter to assert himself and take initiative. Granted, that may have been easier said than done against the Heat, who boast one of the best perimeter defenders in basketball in Josh Richardson. They are a scrappy team with athletic and hard-nosed defenders on the wing.

For Porter, though, that shouldn't matter. Ultimately, his share of the offense is up to him. The ball is going to swing around often enough for him to create his own opportunities.

Porter only taking seven shots is a bad sign considering Thursday was a better opportunity to get shots than he may receive in most games. The Wizards added Dwight Howard this summer and last season he averaged 11.2 shots per game, 3.4 more than Marcin Gortat, whom he replaced in the starting lineup.

It won't be easy, but the Wizards need Porter to take matters into his own hands.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Hornets: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

After a trying three-game stretch against three of the best teams in the NBA, the Wizards' schedule lightens up a bit as they travel to play the Hornets.

Here's everything you need to know if you plan on watching the game. 

WIZARDS vs. HORNETS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Charlotte Hornets, Game 23

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Hornets will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Hornets on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HORNETS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Rockets (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. HORNETS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), C.J. Miles (OUT, left wrist), Jordan McRae (OUT, finger), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, calf)

Rockets: PJ Washington (Day-to-day, ankle), Marvin Williams (OUT, knee)

WIZARDS vs. ROCKETS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Davis Bertans, F, Wizards (14.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.6 apg): Bertans has gone from respected sharpshooter to possibly one of the very best the game has to offer. 

Terry Rozier, G, Hornets (17.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.2 apg): Rozier is starting to come into his own as a lead guard. It'll be interesting to see how he does against this Wizards defense. 

Miles Bridges, SF, Hornets (12.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.8 apg): Bridges was a menace against the Wizards last time out. The key to victory for Washington will be limited this talented wing. 

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Scott Brooks practices tough love in benching, calling out Moe Wagner

Scott Brooks practices tough love in benching, calling out Moe Wagner

WASHINGTON -- Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has shown some different traits this season, now that his primary goal is player development. He has been much more willing to both bench players within games and then afterward offer harsh assessments as to why.

Second-year big man Moe Wagner got that treatment on Sunday night in the Wizards' 135-119 loss to the L.A. Clippers. After starting the game and playing 14 minutes in the first half, he played three minutes in the second half.

And during his postgame press conference, Brooks didn't mince his words when offering an explanation.

"His head wasn't in the game," Brooks said. "When you're a young player, you've gotta lock in. You have to do what we need to be done. We talked about it. We talked about it at halftime and he didn't want to do it."

Brooks has employed a similar strategy with other young players. Both Troy Brown Jr. and Rui Hachimura have been benched and then criticized publicly, albeit to different degrees.

In the past, Brooks has stopped short of publicly calling out players, particularly veterans and stars. But clearly he sees this as a tactic that can help light a fire under young players who have not yet established themselves in the NBA.

Wagner, for one, didn't take issue with Brooks' assessment.

"He's not wrong," Wagner told NBC Sports Washington. "I didn't have the energy I usually have... I think that's the biggest thing when you're young, the consistent effort and the consistency of doing your job. It's easy to do it every other night, but you have to do it every night."

Wagner's numbers weren't awful on Sunday. He had seven points and six rebounds and was 2-for-2 from three. 

But he had some head-scratching moments on defense and seemed to flop looking for fouls at times when he may have been more impactful playing within the team's defensive system.

"[I need to] do the easy things right. Just do your simple job. Don't overdo it. Don't do crazy stuff out there," Wagner said.

Wagner, 22, is playing heavy rotation minutes for the first time. Last year with the Lakers, he only appeared in 43 games and averaged 10.4 minutes per night. He is learning on the fly how to find consistency at the NBA level.

The good news for Wagner is that Brooks doesn't have much of a choice whether to play him. With Thomas Bryant out for at least a few weeks due to injury, he is the best center on the roster. 

But Brooks dropped a line that should serve as a warning to Wagner, that nothing is guaranteed, even in the situation the Wizards are currently in.

"I don't believe in doghouses, I believe in a fair house. If he doesn't do what we need, we move on to the next guy," Brooks said. 

"Everybody deserves that opportunity that works hard every day in practice. Next man up. Hopefully he will come back and be locked in against the Hornets. And he will."

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