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Well-balanced attack leads Wizards over Kings, 121-115

Well-balanced attack leads Wizards over Kings, 121-115

The Washington Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 121-115 on Monday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks referred to his team's two narrow losses over the past weekend as "heartbreaking." On Monday against the Kings, they held on just barely to prevent a third.

The Wizards went up 14 in the first quarter, only to see that lead disappear in the second. They led by nine entering the fourth, but the Kings pushed back and took them down to the final minute.

A series of stops in the closing possessions and a fourth-quarter takeover by Bradley Beal made the difference. Beal had 12 of his 26 points in the final frame.

The win kept things looking somewhat decent for the Wizards in the big picture, considering the alternative would have been three straight defeats. They have now won four of their last seven and three straight at home.

If the Wizards are to have any prayer of making the playoffs, they will need to run off a bunch of wins during the next two weeks. Monday was the first of seven out of eight games at home. They are now 20-12 at Capital One Arena compared to 8-27 everywhere else.

2. Jabari Parker has his faults and on some nights more than others. But the man can flat-out score and on Monday he did in a variety of ways.

Parker is at his best when he's charging at the rim consistently and he did plenty of that against the Kings. But he also had his outside shot falling and went 3-for-5 from three.

Parker had nine points in his first 10 minutes and finished with 18. He shot 7-for-13.

Parker is the Wizards' second-most skilled offensive player behind Beal and it may not be that close. Again, he has other shortcomings, but he can completely change a game with his scoring and the Wizards seized momentum on several occasions against the Kings because Parker went off.

3. We saw some Chasson Randle for the first time in three games. His rotation spot has basically been taken by Troy Brown Jr., who has emerged as the primary back-up point guard, at least for the moment.

Randle, though, saw 14 minutes of action and was one of the first guys off the bench in the first quarter. He took Sam Dekker's spot, as Dekker didn't play at all.

It may have just been a match-up decision. The Kings have two quick guards in De'Aaron Fox and Yogi Ferrell. With Ferrell in the second unit, Randle gave the Wizards a good counter. Ferrell would be a tough assignment for Brown, who is about eight inches taller.

It is something to keep in mind as Brown continues to learn the point guard position. Though he can hold his own offensively, it appears, there are going to be some nights where adjustments need to be made due to smaller, quicker guards on the other side.

4. There was a career-first for Tomas Satoransky, his first technical foul. Late in the second quarter, Satoransky got called for a foul when Fox drove past him for an and-1 layup. Satoransky grabbed the ball and fired a baseball throw at the basket stanchion.

He was quickly whistled for the tech:

Satoransky is usually very good at keeping his cool, but that one could cost him some money. 

5. I'm not the first to say this, but the Kings may have a good one in Harry Giles III. First of all, the athleticism stands out. Even at 20, he's a physical force and has the quickness to get by guys his size.

He made a move against Thomas Bryant in the first half that was special for a player his size. He faked left and drove right and got to the basket with the speed of a guard.

Bryant, by the way, had one of his worst games of the season as he dealt with Giles and Willie Cauley-Stein down low. Bryant had only two points and zero rebounds.

Giles didn't have an amazing stat line or anything. He ended up with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. But he looks like another nice find for the Kings, who have made a habit of stacking young building blocks in recent years.

I have no idea if he's smart or has a good work ethic, but the natural tools are clearly there for him to be a good player in this league.



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What famous NBA Achilles injuries can teach us about John Wall’s recovery'

What famous NBA Achilles injuries can teach us about John Wall’s recovery'

This week is Wall Week at NBC Sports Washington. We are rolling out content each day centering around the Wizards' five-time All-Star point guard. Today, we examine how other NBA players have recovered from a ruptured left Achilles...

Wizards guard John Wall is now roughly seven months into his recovery from a ruptured left Achilles, which by most historical measures means he is more than half-way through his rehab. The Wizards, though, have indicated he could miss all of next season. If that scenario plays out, he is only about a third of the way towards returning to action in an NBA game.

There has been a wide variance in recovery times for ruptured Achilles injuries in the past. Most players have taken about 10 to 11 months off. But the time of recovery hasn't necessarily correlated with how successful a player has been once they returned.

Some of the best success stories have involved players returning in 10 months or less. Some of the worst-case scenarios have involved players taking a year or longer.

Here is a breakdown of some of the more notable cases of NBA players tearing their Achilles, including the time they took to recover and how they played following their return...

Kobe Bryant

When: March 2013, Age 34
Recovery time: 240 days
Before: 25.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 45.4 FG%, 33.6 3PT%
After: 18.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, 36.6 FG%, 28.5 3PT%

Given he was 34 at the time of the injury, it was predictable Bryant would not return as the same player. Most interesting as it pertains to Wall, though, may be the fact Bryant returned to play only six games the following season. He could have sat out the entire year, but chose to play a handful of games even though the Lakers were en route to a 27-55 finish. Wall and the Wizards may have to face a similar decision in the spring of 2020.

DeMarcus Cousins

When: Jan. 2018, Age 27
Recovery time: 357 days
Before: 21.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 46 FG%, 33.8 3PT%
After: 16.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.6 apg, 48 FG%, 27.4 3PT%

Cousins is a guy Wall will likely lean on throughout his recovery, as he just went through it. The two were college teammates and remain good friends. Cousins, though, is not exactly a success story. Though he returned to play well for the Warriors last season, he subsequently tore his quad and then his ACL. Whether those injuries are related to the Achilles tear is not clear, but the whole saga is something Wall would certainly hope to avoid.

Dominique Wilkins

When: Jan. 1992, Age 32
Recovery time: 283 days
Before: 26.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 46.9 FG%, 29.7 3PT%
After: 21.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 43.9 FG%, 33.9 3PT%

Wilkins may be the best testimonial for recovering from Achilles surgery. He suffered the injury in his 30s and 27 years ago when sports medicine wasn't as advanced, yet he came back to make two more All-Star and All-NBA teams. He also did so after taking fewer than 10 months off. Wilkins later said this of why he was able to return at such a high level:

“When I came back, people had their doubts, they said I was done and my career was over, but I came back and had my best all-around season of my career,” Wilkins said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “It just depends on the person and how driven they are.”

Wesley Matthews

When: March 2015, Age 28
Recovery time: 237
Before: 14.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 44.3 FG%, 39.3 3PT%
After: 12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 39.6 FG%, 36.8 3PT%

Like Wall, Matthews is a guard and he tore his Achilles at the age of 28. He suffered the injury in March and returned in time for the start of the next season. Fewer than eight months had passed before he was back in an NBA game. Though that could offer optimism for Wall, Matthews hasn't quite been the same player, at least statistically. His efficiency numbers have dropped off.

Rudy Gay

When: Jan. 2017, Age 30
Recovery time: 273 days
Before: 18.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 45.2 FG%, 34.5 3PT%
After: 12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 49 FG%, 36.8 3PT%

Gay offers one of the best examples of a player who has returned from an Achilles tear. Though he hasn't scored at the same volume that he once did, he is a more efficient player now and a key component of a good Spurs team. Gay has adjusted his game now that he isn't the high-flyer that he once was. Wall may have to evolve a bit himself, depending on how the injury affects his speed.

Chauncey Billups

When: Feb. 2012, Age 35
Recovery time: 296 days
Before: 15.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.9 rpg, 41.6 FG%, 38.9 3PT%
After: 6.2 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 rpg, 36.5 FG%, 34.1 3PT%

Billups' Achilles injury happened so late in his career that he could have retired, yet he decided to come back to play two more seasons. He only managed to play 41 total games those two years and didn't log nearly as many minutes. The hope with Wall, also a point guard, is that his relative youth will give him a better chance of returning to All-Star form.

Elton Brand

When: Aug. 2007, Age 28
Recovery time: 243 days
Before: 20.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 50.5 FG%, 15.4 3PT%
After: 10.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 48.9 FG%, 0.0 3PT%

Brand returned to play eight more seasons, but was nowhere near the same player. He was a bit undersized for a big man to begin with and losing a step didn't help. The ominous sign to take away from Brand's recovery is that he was 28, the same age as Wall. And he later explained exactly what was missing when he came back:

“I didn’t have the same explosiveness that I had. … I didn’t have it. I had to change my game a little bit where I jumped off two feet, and I was a little bit slower," he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brandon Jennings

When: Jan. 2015, Age 26
Recovery time: 339 days
Before: 16.6 ppg, 6.2 apg, 3.2 rpg, 39.1 FG%, 35.1 3PT%
After: 6.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.3 rpg, 36.3 FG%, 31.6 3PT%

Jennings was an exciting score-first point guard in his 20s when he suffered the injury, just like Wall. And Jennings ended up having a recovery that was on the longer side, as Wall expects to have himself. But unfortunately for Jennings, he was never the same player again. He appeared in only 143 more NBA games (23 with the Wizards in 2016-17) and most recently played in Russia. Jennings lost a step and couldn't adjust his game properly to compensate.


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Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura dunked all over Argentina in FIBA friendly

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura dunked all over Argentina in FIBA friendly

Rui Hachimura dunked all over Argentina Thursday in an international friendly ahead of the 2020 FIBA World Cup.

The Wizards' first-round pick is representing Japan in the FIBA World Cup that starts later this month. In a tune-up game for that tournament, Japan played Argentina in a friendly and, well, Hachimura had a day. He had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but one of the highlights of the day was this steal and breakaway dunk from the rookie.

The other highlight? Another Hachimura dunk.

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SHEESH, @rui_8mura! (via @japan_basketball)

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Argentina went on to beat Japan, 108-93, but Hachimura's performance was promising. The FIBA World Cup starts on August 31. Hachimura hopes to, and likely will, represent Japan at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.