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Wizards fold late, fall to Clippers on road for 10th straight time

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Wizards fold late, fall to Clippers on road for 10th straight time

The Washington Wizards lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 113-112 on Saturday afternoon. Here's analysis of what went down...

Tough loss: The Clippers traded Chris Paul in the offseason and have Blake Griffin and Patrick Beverley out due to injury, but the story remains the same for the Wizards on the road in L.A.

With another defeat at the Staples Center, the Wizards have lost 10 in a row on the road against the Clippers. They haven't won there since 2008.

Even without John Wall, there was no excuse for losing this one. They are now 4-4 since Wall went down with his latest injury and 5-5 without him overall this season.

Williams was a problem: The new-look Clippers were missing some key players, but backup guard Lou Williams helped make up for it. He was unstoppable with 13 points by halftime and then another 13 in the third quarter. He ended up with 35 points and eight assists and iced the win with a huge three with 1.2 seconds left. It was from about 27 feet and with Bradley Beal guarding him.

The Wizards tried many things to stop him, but had no such luck. The Wizards put Kelly Oubre, Jr. on him and Oubre often has success guarding smaller players, but Williams kept dominating.

A lot of the focus in trade rumors involving the Clippers has dealt with DeAndre Jordan, but Williams is having himself a strong year and could help a contender. Once L.A. starts tearing it down, they will have some attractive assets to sell.

Great Scott: The Wizards were nearly saved by an unlikely hero. Mike Scott, a guy they signed over the offseason to a one-year deal as a potential reclamation project, came through with his best game in years. He was automatic with his usual mix of threes (3-for-4 3PT) and midrange jumpers. Scott had 22 points, his most since April 4, 2014, and added eight rebounds, albeit in a losing effort.

Scott has been a terrific signing so far as their most consistent scoring option off the bench.

Otto caught fire: Otto Porter was due. He had six total points in the Wizards previous two games and, though they were wins for the team, Porter had fallen into his worst slump of the season.

That changed against the Clippers as Porter came out swinging. He hit his first three threes and had 11 points in the first seven minutes. By halftime Porter had 17 points, tying his most in a game since Nov. 28.

Porter quickly surpassed that number and finished with 27 points, his most since Oct. 27 against the Warriors, and added 11 rebounds. He had the greenlight from three, which should always be the case, and was more aggressive than usual in the lane. There was a play in the second quarter where he crashed the glass, ripped a rebound out of the air and put it back for two. Porter isn't always assertive on offense, but he was against the Clippers. 

Beal went cold early: The version of Beal that dropped 51 points against the Blazers and 34 vs. the Suns went missing in L.A. early in this one. He had only two points in the first half on 1-for-7 shooting and looked like he didn't have the same energy or confidence.

Beal, though, would heat up and quickly. He found his rhythm from long range in the third quarter to drop 16 points in the frame including four threes.

It is unclear why Beal got off to such a slow start, but this game is further proof of Beal's potential. The best NBA scorers can only be held in check for so long and the very best will get theirs every night one way or another. 

Beal finished with 25 points and hit five threes. Though the Wizards have already played at the Lakers and Clippers, this may not be the last time Beal plays in L.A. this season. The All-Star Game is in February.

Beal had a big three-point play eight seconds left before Williams' three. Beal then got a look at the buzzer on a would-be final play. Beal made the shot, but after time ran out. Refs reviewed it and realized the clock had started early. That gave the Wizards another chance, but Marcin Gortat missed a 20-foot jumper to end the loss.

Up next: The Wizards are off Sunday and Monday before playing at the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, the last leg of their five-game road trip. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?