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A pin fell out of Jordan McRae's surgically repaired finger on his big dunk vs. Hornets

A pin fell out of Jordan McRae's surgically repaired finger on his big dunk vs. Hornets

WASHINGTON -- After the Wizards took out the Hornets on Friday night, shooting guard Jordan McRae was asked early in his meeting with the media about what was arguably the play of the game, a powerful slam by McRae that was all over Hornets forward Marvin Williams.

McRae called it "cool," but said he would have to see the highlight to judge whether it was the best of his career.

"I'll let you know tomorrow," McRae said.

What the cameras didn't catch, however, was a detail no one would want to see. When McRae dunked the ball, the pin in his surgically repaired right ring finger came out of the skin.

"So, I've gotta get that checked out," he said.

That does not sound fun. McRae had surgery to repair a mallet fracture in his finger in October and has been playing with a splint. Shooting and dribbling is no problem at this point, but he was playing while knowing that hard contact could affect the pin.

McRae's dunk happened with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter and despite the pin getting dislodged, he ended up with 13 points and scored seven of the Wizards' final 12 as they closed out the victory. 

Perhaps the pain will set in later on, but the way he finished seems like a good sign his availability won't be affected by the pin mishap. Then again, that's easy to say for those of us who have never had a pin inserted in their finger.

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Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

The Wizards will have to wait until next year to face Zion Williamson for the first time.

The Pelicans' star rookie will sit out on Friday night as the Wizards face New Orleans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Williamson is resting on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans played the Kings on Thursday night.

The Wizards also missed Williamson last July in the Summer League after he suffered a knee injury in his first game in Las Vegas. They also had one of their games this season against the Pelicans cancelled due to the NBA's long hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Someday, the Wizards will see Williamson and when they do, it will be interesting to watch him match up with Rui Hachimura, who was in the same draft class and plays the same position. Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick and Hachimura was picked ninth.

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For now, the Wizards will battle a Pelicans team headlined by Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

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As he prepares to back up Bradley Beal, Jerome Robinson improving in key area

As he prepares to back up Bradley Beal, Jerome Robinson improving in key area

Jerome Robinson has been one of the most pleasant surprises on the Wizards roster so far during their time in Orlando. With increased minutes, Robinson has been able to play more freely and not wonder when All-Star Bradley Beal was at the scorer's table ready to check-in and take his place.

Through four games, Robinson is averaging 17 points while shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from three on 6.3 attempts per game. His 55 effective field goal percentage is second only to Thomas Bryant among the Wizards' regular rotation members.

Most noteworthy has been Robinson's overall consistency, as that has eluded him so far in his career. In four games at Disney World, Robinson has reached double-digits in scoring each time. He had never scored 10 or more in consecutive games previously.

"That's something that we've talked about with Jerome and we're working on with him," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I like his approach. In order to have a consistent game, you've gotta have a consistent approach going into a game. I think he does a pretty good job. As a young player, he has a pretty nice routine that he sticks with."

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Producing on a regular basis next season could be difficult in the role Robinson is expected to serve. He will be behind Beal, who plays a lot of minutes (he led the league last year) and who holds a very large share of duties on offense. Brooks mentioned the chance Robinson plays some small forward next season, just to make sure he gets on the floor.

Backing up Beal is important, as the Wizards know full well. They have had some trouble finding a solution at that spot on their depth chart. Those personnel issues may say as much about the difficulty of the role as the players they have tried in fulfilling it.

Brooks knows from experience as a player and coach how tough it can be in general to thrive as a bench player.

"You have to be able to do it. To stay in this league and stay in rotations and get consistent playing time, you've gotta perform consistently," Brooks said. "That's the hardest thing. That's why you see a lot of role players get moved around and role players that don't end up staying for a long time. It's hard to stay in this league if you're not consistent."

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Robinson, 23, said he has been in contact with Beal throughout his time in Orlando. Beal has told him to be aggressive looking for his own shot. So far, he's been able to do that. Robinson is averaging 12.5 shots per game in Orlando after taking only 6.2 shots per game in previous 13 games with the team since coming over in a February trade.

Scoring, though, isn't necessarily what Robinson will need to focus on. He has one of the higher ceilings defensively of any player on the Wizards. His physical defense on the perimeter stands out, partly because that isn't a forté for many of their players.

Robinson is committed to getting better on that end of the floor.

"If you can't guard your guy or help the next man, you won't play. Defense is huge for me. From a personal standpoint, I would love to be All-Defense someday," he said.

Point guard Ish Smith has been around long enough to spend plenty of time both as a starter and a reserve. He understands the challenge of playing on the bench, and has even backed up stars. But for him, the best approach is to keep it simple and just strive to leave the game to the starters in a better place than it was when he checked in.

Smith is seeing good signs from Robinson and believes he can make the most of what will be a very different role next season than he is serving in Orlando.

"I know for Jerome, the consistency he's playing with by knocking down shots in Orlando, he's going to do the same [in D.C.]. He just needs to continue the way he's playing and his confidence will grow with each shot," Smith said. 

"So, he'll be fine. Just don't worry about the 'I'm playing behind a star, so don't let me mess up' kind of mentality."

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