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The Wizards start and finish terribly in their loss to the Celtics

The Wizards start and finish terribly in their loss to the Celtics

The Washington Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics 107-96 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. As bad as things have seemed at times for the Boston Celtics this season, as disappointing as they have been compared to their preseason expectations, they are still in an enviable spot in the eyes of many teams. That includes the Wizards, who put up a fight on Friday night but were ultimately outdone due to a deficit in talent and a slew of timely mistakes.

The Wizards started and finished poorly, and it cost them. They outscored the Celtics 61-52 in the second and third quarters, but were outdone 55-40 in the first and fourth.

Turnovers were a major issue. The Wizards had 18 of them and the Celtics cashed those in for 24 points. Washington also shot 26.3 percent from three and that didn't help.

The loss stopped short what could have been some momentum from the Wizards' win over the Nets on Wednesday. But now they have lost 10 of their last 14 games overall. Just when they could be making a playoff push, they are fading fast.

2. Bradley Beal had the best month of his career in February and he picked up right where he left off in March.

Beal was brilliant against the Celtics, scoring inside and out and with efficiency. He put up 29 points on 52.2 percent shooting with 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

Beal dissected a very good Celtics defense and did so after getting pushed around early by Marcus Smart. Boston tried to bully Beal, but he stood up to the challenge and eventually broke through with a big night.

All year Beal has shown the ability to counter defenses, even when they overload to stop him. Even against one of the best defensive teams in the game, he can still get his.

3. As Beal was tearing it up, NBC Sports Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine joined the NBC Sports Washington broadcast and dropped a take that set social media ablaze. Basically, he said the Ray Allen comparisons for Beal do not go far enough. He sees a lot of Kobe Bryant.

Yes, the White Mamba said Beal is like the Black Mamba. And that is quite the praise.

Scalabrine added some specifics about how Beal can get his shot consistently with smooth moves off the pivot and with turnaround fadeaways. Sure, in that regard he's like Bryant. But let's be clear, comparing Beal to Allen is already a nice compliment. He has some work to do to get in Bryant's realm.

There has also been a lot of talk about Beal and All-NBA. It will be tough, but he does have a chance. There are probably four locks at this point: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. But for those final two spots, Beal is probably in the mix with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons as the likely favorites.

If Beal were to get All-NBA, he would qualify for a supermax contract. A lot of money is on the line, and if he were to qualify for such a deal, it would have huge repercussions for the Wizards, who already have John Wall signed to a supermax.

4. And we thought the start of the Brooklyn game on Wednesday was bad. This time, the Wizards came out playing even worse.

Washington didn't make a field goal until the 6:15 mark of the first quarter. They trailed by as many as 15 points in the frame.

But, just as they did against the Nets, the Wizards stormed back. They took their first lead with under two minutes to go in the first half and outscored the Celtics 25-19 in the second quarter to get back in the game.

Starting slow was a huge problem for the Wizards earlier this season. If you recall, it was fixed in large part due to the promotion of Thomas Bryant to the starting lineup. Now, he's back on the bench and they are coming out sleepy. 

Coincidence? Maybe not. His energy certainly seems to help set a tone early in games.

5. This was another one of those games that reminded us that Troy Brown Jr. has the talent of a first round pick.

Though he seldom plays, Brown often does at least something to impress when he gets the opportunity. In this game, he made a few plays that make it worth questioning why he doesn't have a consistent role in the rotation.

Brown came in midway through the first quarter and promptly knocked down a pull-up jumper in Jayson Tatum's face. He continued to look the part running the Wizards' offense with crisp passes and decisive ball-handling.

Brown made one play in particular that looked well beyond his 19 years. He used a hesitation move to get to the rim for an and-1.

Brown finished with seven points, four rebounds, a steal and a block. He is going to make his share of mistakes, but it's not like the rest of the Wizards' rotation is playing perfect basketball. Brown should get more run, especially if the Wizards slip further in the standings.

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How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Knicks, NBA 2K20 sim vs. 76ers

How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Knicks, NBA 2K20 sim vs. 76ers

Right before the NBA All-Star Break on Valentine's Day 2018, the Wizards took on the Knicks in New York. What looked like a sure loss after the first half of the game turned into the biggest comeback of the NBA's season at the time.

Bradley Beal's 36-points helped lead the Wizards to a 118-113 victory, overcoming a 27-point deficit.

Before that, though, you're going to want to get your fix of the Wizards' 2020 schedule with an NBA 2K20 simulation against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Still, the Wizards, even without Wall, have been on a tear in recent NBA 2K contests. 

Here's how to watch all the action. 

When:

Friday, April 3 at 7 PM ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

 

Broadcast schedule:

7:00 PM: NBA2K Simulation: Philadelphia 76ers @ Wizards

8:00 PM: NBA Classics: Wizards @ New York Knicks from February 14, 2018

10:30 PM: NBA 2K20: Philadelphia 76ers @ Wizards 

Starting lineups

The nice part about this is we don't have to wait as long to know the starting lineups. Just don't tell the 2K computer. 

Sixers
PG - Raul Neto
SG - Shake Milton
SF - Tobias Harris
PF - Al Horford
C- Joel Embiid

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

So if you're like us and desperately miss watching NBA basketball, tune into NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday night to get the closest thing to a live game. We'll get through this hiatus together.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

Report: NBA, players discuss withholding up to 25% of remaining salaries if season is canceled

If the rest of the 2019-20 regular season is canceled, the NBA may be able to keep up to 25 percent of the salaries its players receive after April 1, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

League officials are in discussions with the National Basketball Players Association about a deal that would amend the collective bargaining agreement to give players a greater share of the financial damage inflicted by the coronavirus outbreak that’s put the current season on hold.

Wojnarowski writes that while the NBA has “no plans to announce the cancellation of games in the immediate future,” it’s preparing for all scenarios, including one in which coronavirus isn’t contained in time to salvage the regular season.

The NBA has already been withholding 10 percent of the players’ salaries with the promise of paying out the remaining 90 percent through April 1. In accordance with the CBA’s Force Majeure provision (reserved for catastrophic events), that money has been held by the NBA with a certain percentage slotted to be returned to teams at the end of the year depending on how much revenue is lost.

However, it appears the 10 percent cut has not been sufficient for softening the blow dealt by the season’s suspension. Per Wojnarowski, Commissioner Adam Silver and about 100 top league officials have already agreed to 20 percent pay cut. With team owners handling their own financial ramifications, the league is hoping for its players to help alleviate that burden and prevent the NBA from having to recoup additional percentages from the players after the season.

The purpose of the Force Majeure is to prevent the salary cap and luxury tax from taking a nosedive next season and beyond. By recouping additional salary, teams would be in better standing for spending relatively close to what they’ve done the past few years.

If the two sides don’t come to an agreement, players could owe back portions of their salaries at the end of the season. In an effort to avoid seizing past salaries, the league is asking the NBPA to agree to a deal while working on a plan to help players budget their spending based on reduced incomes.

As much as the NBA would like to resume its regular season in some fashion, the coronavirus pandemic has entirely changed the outlook—both logistically and financially—of professional sports in 2020 for the worst. Everything the league does now is just part of an effort to limit the damage as best it can.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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