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Wizards suffer loss to Pistons that will be costly in the playoff race

Wizards suffer loss to Pistons that will be costly in the playoff race

The Washington Wizards lost to the Detroit Pistons 121-112 on Monday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. There have been a few losses along the way this season that stand out among the others as crushing for the Wizards' playoff hopes.

Okay, maybe there have been a lot more than just a few, but Monday can certainly be added to the list.

It wasn’t that they lost to a bad team, Detroit is no worse than mediocre. It was the stakes that were on the line.  

The Pistons took the head-to-head season series and therefore earned the playoff tiebreaker between the teams. It was Detroit’s fourth straight win and they now lead by the Wizards by three games in the standings.

The Wizards just can’t solve their problems on the road. They are now 7-22 away from Capital One Arena. Only the Cavs and Knicks have been worse in away games among Eastern Conference teams.

Just when it looks like the Wizards are turning a corner, they don't. This game was yet another example.

2. Chasson Randle got the start at point guard as Tomas Satoransky was out due to personal reasons. The team didn’t specify, but his wife had been expecting their first child.

With John Wall already out, the Wizards were left very thin at the point. Jordan McRae became the back-up and played well, but this is a game where they could have used Troy Brown Jr. 

The rookie remains out due to a left ankle sprain, one that head coach Scott Brooks said last week will keep him out until after the All-Star break.

3. The door opening for McRae worked out well for the Wizards because it was one of those nights where he provided instant offense off the bench.

McRae erupted for 10 points in his first eight minutes in the first half on 5-for-7 from the field, again showing a diverse skillset around the rim. He slowed down after that and ended up with 10 points and four assists in 19 minutes, but his initial burst helped the Wizards climb back after an early deficit.

McRae has great touch on layups and can score with both hands. When he first signed with the Wizards, it stood out that he had recorded a 7-1 wingspan at the 2014 NBA Combine. While usually that helps guys on defense, he uses his length to score. He can get to the rim quickly without jumping very high because of his reach.

The Wizards, by the way, have less than two weeks now before they will have to decide on McRae’s contract, per the NBA’s rules for two-way deals. He is creeping up on the 45-day limit. If he gets there by the end of the G-League season, the Wizards will have to either sign him to a guaranteed NBA deal or let him go elsewhere.

4. The offensive impact we saw from Jabari Parker through his first two games with the Wizards was not there on Monday night. He went ice cold as a scorer and didn’t create for others as he did against the Cavs and Bulls.

Parker was held to zero points in 20 minutes, and it wasn’t just the numbers. He didn’t have the same aggression either on catch-and-gos in the halfcourt or in transition. Parker did a great job in the first two games with bringing the ball up on fast breaks as a point forward. He didn’t do it in this one.

Parker had a few passes that went to no one. He was just off and didn’t seem nearly as engaged as has otherwise been for Washington.

5. The Wizards had some serious trouble with the Pistons vaunted frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Drummond put up 32 points, 17 rebounds, and four steals, while Griffin had 31 points, nine boards and nine assists.

Drummond had 17 points and 11 boards in 17 minutes by halftime. Griffin had 20 points at the break.

They helped lead a dominant effort for Detroit in the middle. The Pistons out-did the Wizards 56-40 in paint points and 48-37 in rebounds. That forced Brooks to make an adjustment by basically pulling Thomas Bryant in favor of Portis. Bryant only played 16 minutes, though he had eight points and eight rebounds.

Jeff Green also came up short. He had only four points and one rebound.

The Wizards had no answer for the Pistons' biggest strength.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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A comprehensive timeline of Isaiah Thomas' injury history

A comprehensive timeline of Isaiah Thomas' injury history

Isaiah Thomas is out for six to eight weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his radial collateral ligament in his left thumb Wednesday.

His absence will leave the Wizards perilously thin at point guard heading into the season.

“This was an unfortunate setback for Isaiah, but with his resolve and the top care he will receive from our medical team, we expect him to make a full recovery,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in a release. “In the meantime, he will continue to mentor our young guards and have a positive impact on the team as we start training camp.”

Thomas' thumb issue is the latest in a long line of injuries that have caused him to miss time during his nine-year NBA career.

Here's a list of injuries that Isaiah Thomas has sustained during his playing career:

April 2013 — A quadriceps contusion kept Thomas out for 10 games, the first time in his career he was sidelined with an injury.

Aug. 14, 2014 — Thomas underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery during the offseason to fix an issue he'd been dealing with since the prior season.

Nov. - Dec. 2014 — Thomas sprained his ankle while with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns went 3-5 in his absence.

March 9, 2015 — Thomas, after moving to the Celtics, missed eight games with a lower back injury. Boston went 5-3 while Thomas was sidelined. 

Dec. 2016 — In the next season, still with the Celtics, a groin strain kept Thomas out for four games.

March 16, 2017 — Later that same season, a knee bruise sidelined Thomas for two more games.

May 4, 2017 — During the playoffs, Thomas had his tooth knocked out in the middle of a game. He didn't miss any time, but it's impossible to make this list without including that incident.

May 20, 2017 — Two weeks later, a hip injury kept him out for the rest of the Celtics' playoff run.

Sept. 7, 2017 — After being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs' medical staff had questions about the health of Thomas' hip. To complete the deal, the Celtics sent another second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to the Cavaliers. Lingering hip issues would keep Thomas out until Jan. 6, 2018.

March 29, 2018 — Thomas was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in early February, only to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right hip at the end of March. With a projected four-month recovery time, he was done for the season.

Sept. 18, 2019 — Thomas finished the 2018 season with the Denver Nuggets and signed with the Wizards in July of 2019. On Sept. 16, he injured his left thumb in team workouts. On Sept. 18, the team announced he'd undergone successful surgery and would be out for six to eight weeks.

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