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Wizards can't hold on, lose to Bucks and see winning streak snapped

Wizards can't hold on, lose to Bucks and see winning streak snapped

The Washington Wizards lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 110-103 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Things got heated: Saturday night was yet another reminder that NBA fans deserve a Wizards vs. Bucks playoff series. These teams do not like each other and that was on full display in this one.

It was all so predictable. Last year, the Wizards openly talked trash about the Bucks after a defeat in Milwaukee when Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed in late in a blowout to run up the score. Early in the fourth quarter on Saturday, John Wall did some talking with Antetokounmpo while the latter was at the free throw line. Matthew Dellavedova interjected and Wall turned his attention to him. Jodie Meeks even stepped between them, sensing tension.

It was just minutes later that Dellavedova would be ejected. Bradley Beal (20 points, five rebounds) dribbled past him and Dellavedova grabbed him by the shoulders from behind, dropping him to the ground. Beal was immediately incensed and hopped up to get in his face as teammates ran over to help.

No pushes or blows were thrown, but Wizards fans booed loudly as Dellavedova left the court and several Wizards players like Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Jason Smith waved in glee at word of the ejection.

The Wizards have been known to beef with other teams and the Bucks are near the top of that list. This game added more intrigue to their future matchups and if they ever meet in the playoffs, it could be an eventful series.


Streak halted: The Wizards and Bucks proved an even match, but the Wizards couldn't get stops down the stretch and as a result saw their season-high four-game winning streak snapped. They are now 9-4 since John Wall returned from injury and 23-17 overall on the season. 

Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He had 21 points in the second half including a fadeaway jumper over Oubre in the final minute. Tony Snell then blocked a Beal three to essentially seal the game.

The Wizards have been playing much better lately in part because they are moving the ball better. That was the case for much of the game against the Bucks until late when their offense hit a wall, much like it did the night before against the Grizzilies. The Wizards managed just 18 points in the fourth.

The good news is that the Wizards had all five of their starters in double figures early in the third quarter. Wall (16 points) was a big reason for that, of course. He had six assists in the first quarter alone as he found open shots for everyone on the court. Wall finished with a season-high 16 assists.

Meeks got some buckets: Before the game, head coach Scott Brooks talked about the shooting struggles of Meeks, a veteran whose shooting percentages are way down this season. He entered the game shooting just 35.2 percent from the field, well below his 41.6 career average. And from three, he was shooting just 30.4 percent compared to his 37.2 career mark.

Meeks didn't exactly dominate, but he did hit have some moments that represented a step in the right direction. Meeks got hot at the end of the third quarter and popped two threes to help the Wizards take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter. Brooks said the team is confident in Meeks, who shot 40.9 percent from three last year. Perhaps Saturday was an indication he's starting to find his rhythm.

Otto out: The Wizards were without starting small forward Otto Porter, who missed the game due to a right hip strain. His back and hip tightened up in the Wizards' win over the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday and he left in the second half without returning. Given the timing, it was not a surprise that he sat this one out. Now the Wizards have a nice break before their next game, giving Porter ample time to heal. Oubre started in his place and put up 14 points on 3-for-6 from the field.

Up next: The Wizards are off for the next three days before hosting the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. That's the same Jazz team that beat them by 47 points earlier this season, the second-biggest margin in a loss in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout highlights quest for shooting, raises question at point guard

The Wizards held their second pre-draft workout at Capital One Arena on Wednesday and the theme of this session was shooting. They hosted six players, four of which shot 40 percent or better for their college careers. Not 40 percent for their final season, like they developed a shot over the years, 40 percent for their careers.

Those four would be Aaron Holiday of UCLA, a likely first-round pick, plus likely second-round picks Devonte' Graham and Sviatoslave Mykhailiuk of Kansas, and Zach Thomas of Bucknell who may go undrafted.

One of the outliers was Moe Wagner of Michigan, who shot 39.4 percent as a junior. The other was Johnathan Williams, who shot 33.3 percent from long range in college, but impressed in the workout by knocking down more shots than expected.

Wizards executives raved about the amount of made shots in this workout and the players they chose to host help demonstrate that shooting is a need the Wizards are hoping to address. Head coach Scott Brooks said as much in his final meeting with the media following their playoff loss.

Here are some notes on the players that addressed reporters on Wednesday...

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

 - The brother of NBA players Jrue and Justin, Holiday said he is aiming to find the same success as them at the professional level. Both are good defensive players and Holiday said that is a big part of his game: 

"No pressure at all. I'm here to make my own name for myself... We all like to play defense... I just try to watch how they read guys and force guys into bad plays."

Holiday was informed his brother, Jrue, had just been named All-Defense. He was happy for him, of course.

"That's awesome. That's actually really good. I thought he would do it, too. Obviously, he's a great defender. Both of my brothers do well."

 - Bringing in Holiday was interesting because he is expected to be a first round pick and plays point guard. The Wizards, of course, already have an All-Star point guard in John Wall. Holiday acknowledged that fact, but believes he can play with both Wall and All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal:

"It was obviously a question of why they would want me, but at the same time I know they need help on the backend, coming off the bench and playing high minutes and producing while John and them aren't on the court. Or, even playing with John Wall out there... with John and Bradley Beal out there, I could space the court pretty well for them."

Holiday would have no problem beginning his career as a bench player, if that's what happens:

"If the coach tells me to come off the bench, play a lot of minutes and get other people involved, that's what I will do. I also can play off the ball as well. I think I fit pretty good."

The Wizards taking a point guard in the first round is not that crazy of an idea. They have long been in need of a viable backup point guard and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors showed how much a really good backup can help.

Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

 - Wagner worked out with the Bulls first and has the Nets up next. He said the Wizards workout was more intense than the Bulls, which is something we heard from many prospects last year. Washington apparently puts a greater emphasis on physical conditioning than other teams.

 - A native of Germany, and a seven-footer who shoots threes, naturally Wagner grew up a big fan of Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki:

"He was kind of our MJ. He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball. He's from where I'm from, too. It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

 - Questions for Wagner surround his defense and whether he can protect the rim, as he wasn't a shot-blocker in college. Wagner said he is hoping to show teams how his mobility can help on that end of the floor:

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen. Especially with the way the league is going; switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Devonte' Graham, G, Kansas

 - Graham also worked out with the Bulls first. He has the Suns, Hawks, Rockets and Grizzlies up next. He expects to work out for 13 or 14 teams in total.

 - Graham is from Raleigh, just like Wall who was in attendance. Wall and Graham sat next to each other to chat after the workout was over:

"We're from the [area code] 919 and we all stick together. I hit him up last night."

 - Graham also knows Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. very well. They were roommates as freshmen at Kansas:

"He was a goofy dude. That was my boy, though."

 - Graham said he has been talking to Jazz star rookie Donovan Mitchell about the draft process, as he and Mitchell share the same agent.


- Diallo visits: Is the Kentucky star a good fit?
- Turgeon talks: Maryland coach talks 2018 draft
- NBA mock draft: Post combine edition

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ian Mahinmi

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Ian Mahinmi

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Ian Mahinmi's season...

Player: Ian Mahinmi

Position: Center

Age: 31

2017-18 salary: $15.9 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.9 mpg, 4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 55.6 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 70.3 FT%, 55.6 eFG%, 107 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/12 vs. Magic - 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, steal, assist, 7-for-8 FG, 3-for-4 FT

Season review: After missing 51 games in the 2016-17 season, the first of his four-year contract with the Wizards, center Ian Mahinmi managed to stay healthy for the entirety of 2017-18. He appeared in 77 games and gave the Wizards a good look at the player they signed to a $64 million deal in free agency.

Mahinmi was a mainstay in the Wizards' rotation as their backup center. While Marcin Gortat started all 82 games at center, Mahinmi at times got the nod late in games as head coach Scott Brooks favored his defense.

Though Mahinmi was available all season, he still fell short of the numbers he put up in his last year in Indiana, in 2015-16. Mahinmi's minutes per game were his fewest since 2010-11, and his points and rebounds were his fewest since 2013-14. 

Mahinmi's numbers were affected by his low minutes, as he could never quite crack the top six or seven spots in Brooks' rotation. His numbers per 36 minutes, however, were on par with how he played in Indiana before the Wizards signed him to a big contract.

2015-16 per 36: 13.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.3 spg

2017-18 per 36: 11.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.2 spg

That, of course, only means so much. Mahinmi may have been relatively efficient with his minutes, but the consistency wasn't there to convince Brooks and the coaching staff to increase his role.

It will be interesting to see what the team plans for Mahinmi next season, as this summer could bring changes to their frontcourt. Both of their starting big men - Gortat and Markieff Morris - have one year left on their contracts. If Gortat in particular is dealt, that could open the door for Mahinmi to earn more playing time.

The Wizards could also add to their frontcourt through the draft. If they get a rim-protecting big man in the first round, that could be bad news for Mahinmi's playing time. Like several Wizards players, Mahinmi's role is up in the air entering this summer.

Potential to improve: Finishing around rim, consistency, limiting fouls

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

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