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Wizards' defense stifles Celtics in first 2K simulation win

Wizards' defense stifles Celtics in first 2K simulation win

The 2K Wizards returned to the floor in virtual Capital One Arena Monday night following a loss to the Bucks over the weekend. This time, they went up against Jayson Tatum and the Celtics. 

Washington's defense and bench contributions were especially strong in this game, vaulting them to an impressive 74-57 win over the Celtics at home. 

Here's how the Wizards fared in the second 2K sim of the season.

Tale of the tape

Coming off a loss where they struggled to generate offense, the Wizards went with a different starting five this time around. Instead of a group consisting of Shabazz Napier, Bradley Beal, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura and Moe Wagner, the Wizards went with this five:

PG - Shabazz Napier
SG - Bradley Beal
SF - Jerome Robinson
PF - Rui Hachimura
C - Thomas Bryant

On the other side, the Celtics went with a starting five of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter. 

Celtics come out firing

The Celtics must've been waiting for their 2K simulation debut because they looked incredible off the opening tip. They made everything difficult for the Wizards defensively and got out on the fast break whenever possible. 

Jayson Tatum was the beneficiary of Boston's transition offense, scoring the first seven points of the game as the Celts sprinted out to a 7-0 lead.

The Wizards had trouble containing Walker's dribble penetration, which isn't necessarily surprising. Walker is one of the quickest players in the NBA and that skill is typically rewarded in a video game setting. 

Second unit charges back

Fortunately for the Wizards, they have Davis Bertans on their team. Boston had blitzed Washington to build a big lead in the first half, but Bertans came off the bench and dominated the action, hitting four of his first five shots for nine points. 

Down 21-13 after the first quarter, the Wizards led by as many as nine before Boston cut their lead to two points by the halftime buzzer. 

All season long in real life, the Wizards relied on their bench to keep constant pressure on the opposing defense. This performance was especially impressive considering Brown and Wagner were relegated to the bench for this game. 

Tatum injury

Monday night saw its first dose of injury drama, albeit no actual person was injured in the making of this simulation. 

Mid-way through the third quarter, Tatum appeared to injury his right arm, causing him to exit the floor. According to virtual David Aldridge, virtual Tatum suffered an elbow strain that would force him to miss 1-to-2 weeks of virtual basketball. 

Virtually, this was a tough blow to the Celtics. They fell apart offensively following Tatum's exit and allowed Beal to take over to help the Wizards pull away. 

Miscellaneous thoughts

Both the Wizards and Celtics experienced scoring droughts that surpassed three minutes of game action. While those types of droughts make for spurts of ugly basketball, it certainly made the game a roller coaster ride to watch. 

Thomas Bryant was a swat machine in this game. Real-life Thomas Bryant hasn't averaged more than a block per game through his first three professional seasons, but this version of him was like Dikembe Mutombo incarnate. 

Rui Hachimura has looked good in both simulations so far. His two-way versatility pops on the real court and it seemingly gives him a serious advantage against his virtual counterparts. He finished with a game-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds. 

Similar to when he was relegated to the bench in the regular season, Brown responded Monday with a strong performance off the bench to propel the Wizards to a win. Details like these show you just how in-depth the game really is. 

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Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donating $100M towards racial equality and social justice

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Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donating $100M towards racial equality and social justice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are giving $100 million to organizations dedicated to promoting racial equality and social justice.

In a joint statement Friday on social media, Jordan and the Jordan Brand said money will be paid over 10 years with the goal of "ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."

"Black lives matter," the statement said. "This isn't a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of black people."

RELATED ARTICLE: BEAL THANKS D.C. MAYOR FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER PLAZA AND MURAL ON 16TH STREET

Jordan, the 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls great, is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The Jordan Brand is a subsidiary of Nike, the shoe giant that earlier Friday committed $40 million over the next four years to support the black community.

Jordan also released a statement Monday on George Floyd and the killings of black people at the hands of police.

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan said. "I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough."

Floyd was in handcuffs when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Washingon, D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser had "Black Lives Matter" painted Friday on a street that leads up to the White House, an effort to honor those who have peacefully protested throughout the week following the death of George Floyd.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who has been active off and on social media in the fight against racial injustices, took to Instagram on Friday to thank Bowser for her act.

"There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city," Bowser said during a press conference Friday, via NBC News.

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Bowser posted a video to her own Instagram account on Friday, officially naming that section of 16th street 'Black Lives Matter Plaza.'

Earlier this week, the Wizards released a strong, unified statement on social media condemning social injustice, racism and police brutality. Multiple players, including Beal, reposted the statement on their respective Instagram story.

The message had four different statements:

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

Beal's Instagram post on Friday should not come as a surprise to anyone. In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wizards guard John Wall explained that Beal was the one who led the charge regarding the team's statement.

"We got a group chat that we have with our team,” Wall said. "Brad [Beal] started off with, like, this is what he was going to post, so we all agreed to it. We all agreed to it. We felt like it was a powerful message. We wasn’t going to force the organization or anybody to join us; this is the players coming together, and the organization came and did their thing."

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