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Wizards lack playoff race urgency in 116-110 loss to Hornets

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Wizards lack playoff race urgency in 116-110 loss to Hornets

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 116-110 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. There was a basketball team that played with playoff race urgency on Friday night at Capital One Arena. It was not the Wizards.

With an opportunity to help their postseason cause, Washington went down by 21 points early and never fully recovered.

The Wizards had won two straight coming into this game and were seeking their first three-game win streak since Dec. 5. Every time it seems like they are ready to take a big step forward, they take a step back and fail to fully get off the ground.

Also, with a game against the Grizzlies on Saturday, a season-long trend continued. The Wizards are now 2-11 in the first game of back-to-backs. 

Charlotte went 3-1 against the Wizards this season, meaning they will hold the tiebreaker in case the teams finish with the same regular season record and are in contention for a playoff spot.

2. When these teams played exactly one week earlier, Bradley Beal had what was possibly his worst game of the season. He scored only 15 points and shot 4-for-21.

This game was essentially the opposite. He caught fire quickly against the Hornets and pummeled them for 40 points with five rebounds and five assists in 45 minutes. Beal shot 15-for-29 overall and 7-for-13 from three.

Beal also has a 46-point outing against the Hornets to his name this season. He now has 11 40-point games in his career, which is tied for fourth in Wizards/Bullets franchise history with Elvin Hayes. He passed Earl Monroe with this one and now only trails Gilbert Arenas (28), Walt Bellamy (23) and Bernard King (13).

Like too many games this season, Beal's latest effort was in a Wizards loss.

3. Remember the praise we all gave the Wizards for cleaning up the turnovers on Wednesday against the Magic? Well, that was fun.

The Wizards went back to their old ways against the Hornets. After only having nine turnovers against the Magic, they had 14 by halftime against Charlotte. They ended up with 17 for the game, only three in the second half, but the damage was done.

Those mistakes proved costly, as the Hornets cashed them in for 27 points on the other end. 

Beal and Jeff Green led the way with five apiece. Trevor Ariza wasn't far behind with four.

4. For the second straight game, Bobby Portis was not himself. After being held to six points against the Magic, he had three points and four rebounds against the Hornets. He shot 1-for-7.

Thomas Bryant also struggled for the most part. He had six points and four rebounds in 19 minutes, another off-night that was reminiscent of his two-point, zero-rebound game against the Kings on Monday. 

5. There are some new injuries to monitor. For one, Tomas Satoransky left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He got hit in the head during a collision with Beal under the hoop. 

Beal came charging in for a layup attempt and came down to clock Satoransky in the face with his shoulder. Satoransky was slow to get up after the play.

Also, though both played in this game, Trevor Ariza was limited by a right knee sprain and Sam Dekker is dealing with lower back soreness. Both were considered questionable for the game before the training staff determined they could play.

Ariza had 10 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes. Dekker played 10 minutes, all in the second half after Satoransky was ruled out.

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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis. 

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

The Wizards are reportedly preparing to make Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a massive offer to run Washington's NBA franchise. And they may have some big-time help recruiting him to D.C. 

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is trying to persuade Ujiri to leave the NBA champions to join the Wizards, according to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. 

"I hear Barack Obama's a part of that whole Masai recruitment to D.C.," Strauss said on a recent episode of the "Back To Back" podcast. "I've heard Obama wants Masai in D.C. Obama wants to do something with basketball."

Obama and Ujiri are close friends. Obama was in attendance at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, while Ujiri attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015 when Obama was in office. 

The Wizards' potential offer for Ujiri is reportedly for six years, $60 million, and could possibly include an ownership stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment and other responsibilities within the company, sources have told NBC Sports Washington. 

And hey, it doesn't hurt to have the former Commander in Chief making your sales pitch.

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