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Wizards fall to Cavs, served reminder of LeBron James' dominance

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Wizards fall to Cavs, served reminder of LeBron James' dominance

The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 130-122 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...

The Cavs are still the Cavs: Even after losing four straight entering the much-anticipated matchup, the Cleveland Cavaliers issued an emphatic reminder to the Wizards why they have represented the Eastern Conference in three straight NBA Finals. The Wizards are close and both sides know it. But LeBron James wasn't interested in seeing an upstart Wizards team make a statement on national television.

James was brilliant from start to finish. The Wizards threw multiple looks at him. He either scored the ball himself or found his teammates for open threes, consistently killing any Wizards' attempt at a game-changing run.

James was electric in the first half, throwing down multiple poster dunks. He had 15 points in the first quarter, shooting 6-of-7 from the field. In the second half, he went to work in the post.

The Wizards tried guarding him with Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. in the first half. None of them worked. John Wall even guarded him on multiple possessions in the second half. All LeBron did was back him down and drop fadeaways in over his block attempts with ease.

In the fourth quarter, the Wizards went super small. Marcin Gortat didn't play and at times they had Jodie Meeks at the three and Porter at the five. That didn't stop LeBron, either.

James remains the best player in the world and he proved it once again against the Wizards. He ended up with 57 points, his most since 2014 and his second-most ever. It was the second straight game the Wizards allowed someone to hit the 40-mark following T.J. Warren of the Suns on Wednesday. It was the 11th time in James' career that he's hit 50 points or more.

In order to knock off the Cavs in the playoffs, the Wizards will have to find a way to deal with LeBron. Stopping him is unrealistic, but they have to limit him better than they did on Friday.

Defense optional: Much like the classic matchup between these teams in February, this game game was light on the defensive end. Both teams are struggling in that department and are also just plain good at scoring. The game was 25-24 Wizards at the 5:04 mark in the first quarter. Both teams shot 66 percent or higher in the frame. 

The Wizards allowed 42 points in the first quarter meaning they gave up 149 points in a four-quarter stretch dating back to Wednesday's game against the Suns. That's not optimal. The scoring deluge continued on throughout the game. The halftime score was 74-66.

The Wizards know they have plenty to fix on defense and it was probably unrealistic they would correct everything against the defending conference champions. What will bother them about this on is their three-point defense, as the Cavs shot 12-for-27. Plus, Derrick Rose had 13 points in his first 9:30 of play. You can't let him go off like that. This isn't 2011.

Bradley Beal also had himself a game. After putting up 40 points against the Suns last game, he went off for 36 vs. Cleveland. It was again in a losing effort. The Wizards have now lost four of their last five games.

Injury scare: Wall fell to the ground writhing in pain late in the third quarter after colliding with Channing Frye. He was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, though the Wizards don't yet know the severity. 

Also worth noting about Wall: he shot 5-for-12 from the free throw line after going 0-for-4 last game.

Keef is back: The Wizards had a familiar face in the starting lineup on Friday, as Markieff Morris returned from a six-week recovery following sports hernia surgery. The Wizards went to Morris on the very first play in the post. He missed the shot, but ended up scoring their first points of the night.

Morris looked rusty overall. He finished with two points on 1-for-6 shooting and never found a rhythm offensively. He also racked up three quick fouls in 16 total minutes, which wasn't good. 

One moment involving Morris stood out. In the third quarter he and Jae Crowder got into an argument with teammates in between them to keep distance. That's the Keef we know and love.

Up next: The Wizards head out on a mini-road trip. They go north to play the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

Bovada's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds were released, and there's a few head-scratchers on the list. 

First, let's keep in mind that these odds are to get you to place a bet more than anything. They want you to see something, and tempt you to throw your money at it.

That being said, John Wall comes in tied for 14th, while Bradley Beal doesn't show up on the list.

Now, let's look at who else was on the list over Beal.

Lonzo Ball has 100/1 odds to win MVP, DeMarcus Cousins who is still recovering from a torn Achilles, and  Kristaps Porzingis, recovering from a torn ACL also appear over Beal.

Just thinking out loud here, but that seems like maybe a bit of a stretch right?

Porzingis may not play at all for the Knicks this coming season, and Cousins is expected to miss months before making his debut in Golden State. 

Cousins also plays on a team with Steph Curry (15/1) and Kevin Durant (9/1). 

Also missing from the odds was Klay Thompson. So, yeah. 

New Raptor Kawhi Leonard also comes in at 11/1. 

2018-2019 - NBA MVP - Odds to Win

LeBron James                        10/3
Anthony Davis                         4/1
Giannis Antetokounmpo        9/2
James Harden                         11/2
Kevin Durant                            9/1
Kawhi Leonard                        11/1
Russell Westbrook                  14/1
Stephen Curry                         15/1
Joel Embiid                              16/1
Kyrie Irving                               16/1
Ben Simmons                           35/1
Damian Lillard                          45/1
Karl-Anthony Towns                50/1
DeMar DeRozan                       80/1
John Wall                                  80/1
Donovan Mitchell                     85/1
Jimmy Butler                            100/1
Nikola Jokic                              100/1
Victor Oladipo                          100/1
Chris Paul                                 100/1
LaMarcus Aldridge                   125/1
Paul George                              125/1
DeMarcus Cousins                   150/1
Gordon Hayward                      150/1
Jayson Tatum                           175/1
Blake Griffin                              225/1
Devin Booker                            275/1
Kristaps Porzingis                    275/1
Kyle Lowry                                325/1
Lonzo Ball                                 450/1

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