Wizards at Warriors Final Score: Wizards can’t overcome final punch from Warriors, lose 120-117

The Wizards had a chance to knock off Golden State but their 18-point lead evaporated quickly in the fourth quarter as the Warriors would win 120-117.

Washington was up 80-62 in the third quarter but Golden State would outscore Washington 33-20 in the final period to regain control.

This one got chippy as Bradley Beal and Draymond Green were both ejected in the second quarter after a scuffle that was building up over time.

Washington falls to 1-2 on this early season west coast road trip.

Takeaways

About that chippiness

This started early and kept on building as the refs let them play. John Wall got whistled for an offensive foul in the first quarter in which he felt Steph Curry flopped. The two would have some choice words for each other but nothing would escalate between the two.

Late in the first quarter, Bradley Beal drove baseline and Draymond Green looked to jump straight up for the block but there was a lot of contact and no foul called. Green, who has a reputation for running his mouth, proceeded to run his mouth as the two jogged back up the court. Things were starting to heat up and finally, a Green block on Beal was the tipping point. Beal drove only to get rejected by Green at the rim who made sure to let Beal know about it afterward. Beal retaliated with a shove to Green’s back and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Expect a couple of fines and suspensions to come of this.

Washington finally gets hot from three-point range

Washington has struggled all season shooting the three-ball but finally got hot from distance tonight. The Wizards shot 33 threes, a season-high, connecting on 15 of them, also a season high.

Otto Porter Jr. knocked down a career-best seven three-pointers including two clutch ones in the fourth quarter to keep Washington in the game as Golden State was looking to run away.

Kelly Oubre was terrific from three-point range connecting on his first four attempts and at a time when the Wizards were building out their 18-point lead. Oubre would miss his final two attempts but still ended the night 4-6 from distance.

Looks like all that work with the shot doctor is starting to pay off.

Otto Porter has one of his best games as a Wizard

Otto Porter just keeps getting better and better and so does his offseason signing. Porter led the way for Washington tonight with 29 points on 11-16 shooting including 7-9 from three-point range. Porter grabbed 10 rebounds and also played terrific defense on Draymond Green in his new power forward role.

If Porter can continue to have impressive nights like this, the Wizards might not need to grab a free agent to create their own ‘Big 3’.

Tip Ins

  • To no one’s surprise, John Wall was great dishing the ball out as he notched 14 assists. However, his shooting continues to struggle. Again, Wall got off to a slow shooting start tonight and looked to force the issue a few too many times. Wall was driving to the hole to get calls, not to score, and unfortunately for Wall; he wasn’t getting those calls tonight.
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. matched his career-high with 19 points. The third-year player was terrific connecting on his first four three-point attempts in addition to snagging eight rebounds. Oubre looks better and better as this young season rolls along.
  • Free throw shooting may have cost Washington the game. The Wizards were just 16-22 from the line which isn’t terrible however four of those misses came in the fourth quarter while Golden State was mounting their comeback. The Wizards missed six free throws and lost by three points. You do the math.

Next up: Washington heads to Sacramento on Sunday night to close out their road trip.

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The Warriors are sitting back laughing as the rest of the NBA is in scramble mode

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in three years on June 12th. And ever since that day, every team not named the Warriors is scrambling to try and play catch up. The blueprint is out on how to win a championship. Just years ago, a “Big 3” would be enough to get the job done. But as we just recently saw, having three all-stars including LeBron James, was barely enough to keep the Cavaliers from getting swept which would have been the ultimate embarrassment.

A “Big 4” is now required to compete for a championship. And as a result, teams are in full-on scramble mode in trying to orchestrate a team that will give them a fighting chance against the Golden State Warriors over the next few years.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made three-straight finals appearances and won one of them. However, in the owner, Dan Gilbert’s mind, that plus “disagreement on the direction of the future” led to the termination of General Manager, David Griffin.

Let’s think about that. A General Manager who made the finals three straight times and under extreme circumstances (having to consult LeBron James on every decision) still wasn’t enough to warrant an extension.

Now that Cleveland is aware that a “Big 3” of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving isn’t enough to compete with the Warriors, they’ve started reaching out to the Pacers and Bulls to gauge the interest of Paul George and Jimmy Butler respectively.

Even with Cleveland’s success, the Cavaliers are still left scrambling as they were trying to acquire star Jimmy Butler from Chicago. After it felt like Kevin Love had found his niche with the Cavs, he’ll now be the centerpiece in all trade talks that the Cavs are involved with.

And remember the Lakers? The lowly Lakers who finished 26-56 this past season? Well, they’re just as much in the mix as Cleveland is. Just last night, The Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov (salary dump) to the Nets in exchange for Brooke Lopez and their first round draft pick.

This is significant because with the Lakers expected to draft Lonzo Ball on Thursday night’s draft, they’ve now cleared up roughly $60 million in salary cap space which will allow them to sign one and potentially two max deal free agents in the summer of 2018.

Now that Paul George has made it clear that he’s leaving the Pacers after next year to go to the Lakers, teams are in a bind debating whether they should take a shot on the all-star for one year knowing that he’ll leave or just stay away altogether. About a half a dozen teams are interested in George but realistically, he’s going to be in either a Pacers, Cavaliers, or Lakers uniform next year.

And remember that Lebron James guy? He can also opt out of his deal in the summer of 2018 and has been linked to the Lakers on several occasions. Now the Lakers have the cap space necessary to sign both James and George next summer including other aging stars if they are willing to take pay cuts to form yet another super-team.

To recap: A GM who won a title just one year ago has been fired. The best player in the league is unsettled with the firing of his GM and now looks more likely than ever to leave for L.A. after next year. A perennial all-star has demanded out of his current situation. The Lakers have cleared an enormous amount of cap space to make a run at one, maybe two more free agents. And the NBA season ended just nine days ago.

Not to mention, the Celtics could potential land Blake Griffin or Gordon Hayward. The Clippers are now shopping De’Andre Jordan. And the Knicks (yes the Knicks!!!) have started shopping Kristaps Porzingis to gauge the interest level of other teams.

And why all the chaos? Because how the hell else are you going to beat the Golden State Warriors?

Wizards at Warriors final score: Curry scores 42 as Warriors blow out Wizards, 139-115.

Steph Curry catches fire for 42 points as the Warriors beat the Wizards 139-115. Bradley Beal scored a team-high 20 points while Wall chipped in with 15 points and 11 assists but the Wizards didn’t have enough firepower to hang with Golden State tonight. The loss drops the Wizards to 2-3 on this road trip and the team is now a game back of Toronto and are currently in the 4-seed.

Steph Curry was smoking hot from the get-go and there was nothing the Wizards could do about it. Curry knocked down his first three three-pointers just minutes into the game as the Wizards found themselves in an early hole. But after a 0-3 start from the field for Washington, the Wizards connected on their next 7-8 shots to tie the game. Bradley Beal scored 13 points in the period while Wall dished out six assists but the Warriors shot 58 percent for the quarter for a 35-30 lead.

Former Wizard, Shaun Livingston also started out hot from the field as he connected on his first five field goals, all in the second quarter. Washington made several runs to cut the lead down to three, but the Warriors always had an answer. Washington used a 10-2 run to cut the lead down to two, 53-51 but the Warriors used a 12-4 run to close the half and led 67-57.

The Splash Brothers remained hot in the third quarter. Klay Thompson started the period off with a deep three to stretch the Warriors lead while Steph Curry was hitting acrobatic shots like this one as the Wizards founds themselves down by as many as 20.

Golden State led 106-88 and once again, things looked bleak for Washington.

The Wizards started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run sparked by the reserves. Washington was able to get the deficit to as close as 9, 116-107 midway through the fourth quarter. But the Warriors reserves would hang on to win this one 139-115.

Defense is awful once again

Yes, Golden State is a different animal, but once again the Wizards didn’t do much to deter the Warriors tonight. Golden State shot 56 percent from the field and knocked down 16 three-pointers as they surrendered 100+ points through three quarters for the second time in three games. And as expected, Steph Curry had his revenge game against the Wizards with 42 points.

Kelly Oubre comes back to earth offensively

After his best four-game stretch of the season, Kelly Oubre came back to earth on the offensive end. Oubre scored just six points tonight on 2-11 shooting including just 2-4 from the free-throw line.

On a positive note, Oubre stayed in stride on the defensive end with several deflections and hustle plays. The offensive isn’t always going to be there for Oubre, but the key for him is continuing to play hard on the defensive end.

Too many turnovers

The Wizards committed 15 turnovers resulting in 28 points for the Warriors. You’re not going to beat Golden State coughing up the ball that much.

Wizards vs. Warriors final score: Wall racks up 19 assists as Washington beats Golden State 112-108

John Wall matched his career-high with 19 assists as the Wizards broke out of their post All-Star game funk with one of their best wins of the season. All five Wizards starters finished in double-figures tonight led by Bradley Beal with 25 and Markieff Morris with 22 as theWizards closed out the Warriors 112-108.

There was a ton of hype leading up to this one and rightfully so. The Wizards waited until Golden State was in town before turning in their best first quarter of the season. Unfortunately, Kevin Durant injured his knee at the 10:27 mark of the first quarter and would be sidelined the rest of the game.

After some not so great starts in their past two games, the Wizards were on fire from the field connecting on their first four field goals and four of their first five three-pointers.

Later in the quarter, Wall parted the Red Sea to bang home a nasty left-handed dunk:

Then the Wizards went showtime on us with some nifty plays in transition to open up an impressive early lead.

Washington shot 62.5 percent from the field including 4-6 from three-point range as they took a 40-26 lead after one quarter.

The offense stalled out a bit in the second quarter but newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic came to the rescue. He scored the first nine points of the second period for the Wizards, as the bench unit was able to keep the Wizards’ lead intact.

Washington had an opportunity to blow this one open but was very loose with the ball, turning it over 14 times in the first half. Turnovers aside, the Wizards still went into halftime up 12, 61-49.

You knew the Warriors wouldn’t go away and they got back in this one with a quick 10-0 run to start the third quarter. After trading baskets for most of the period, the game was all tied up going into the fourth quarter.

Washington started the final quarter ice-cold, missing 14 of their first 17 shots. But for every punch Golden State threw, the Wizards had a counter. Brooks went with the small lineup of Wall-Beal-Bogdanovic-Porter-Morris to match the Warriors small-ball lineup midway through the fourth quarter. Just like the third quarter, the teams continued to trade baskets in a quarter that featured three ties and 12 lead changes.

With the game tied at 108 with under a minute to go, Otto Porter gathered an offensive rebound off of a Wall miss and got fouled going up for another shot. Porter calmly knocked down the free throws to give the Wizards an 110-108 lead.

Washington had a minor hiccup on defense leaving Curry open for a split second, but he missed the deep three that could have given the Warriors the lead in the closing seconds. Markieff Morris grabbed the rebound and sank two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to seal the 112-108 win.

Picture perfect first quarter

After an uninspiring start against Philly and a ho-hum start against Utah, the Wizards came out against Golden State guns blazing. Washington hit their first four jumpers of the game and seven of their first nine as they took an early 22-14 lead. Bradley Beal was 6-7 from the field for 16 points as the team dropped a season-high 40 points in the first quarter.

There were many highlights to choose from but this tic-tac-toe pass from Wall-Beal-Oubre for the dunk takes the cake.

Wizards make plays when it counts most

Washington made the plays to win this one when it counted most. The team struggled to score in the fourth quarter so they went back to their bread and butter. Wall continued to attack but didn’t get the foul calls he was looking for. However, this allowed guys like Gortat and Morris to crash the offensive glass for putbacks.

Plus, the Wizards were 10-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

That’s how you close out games.

Bogdanovic provides the spark the Wizards were looking for

The Wizards lacked a scoring spark for the first half of the season and it looked like they may have found their guy to solve that problem, at least for now. Bogdanovic was the second-highest scorer in the first half with 12 points including the first nine points of the second period for Washington.

Bogdanovic ended the night with 16 points including going 3-6 from three-point range.

10 Predictions for the 2016-2017 NBA Season

The NBA season is right around the corner. Some things are a sure lock yet others remain a complete unknown. Without further ado, let’s go over 10 predictions (I hopefully don’t get too wrong) for this NBA season.

1.  The Warriors and Cavaliers will meet in the finals for a third straight year – Please name one team that has a shot of taking either of these two down. Yeah… that’s what I thought.

2.  The Warriors will win 70+ games – When the over/under odds came out in Vegas and Golden State’s win total was set at 66.5, I did a double take. This team won 73 games last year and they ADDED Kevin Durant. Anytime the Warriors lose this season it will be a major upset and will be all over ESPN and the other sports networks. Barring a major injury, I don’t think 70 wins will be a problem for this team.

3.  The Cavaliers will coast to 60+ wins – Another surprisingly low over/under was Cleveland’s as their win total was set at 56.5. The thing about Cleveland is, even though they won the championship, all of the focus will still be on Golden State this year. With a watered down Eastern Conference that will be worse than it was last year, I don’t think LeBron James and the Cavs will have any troubles eclipsing the 60-win mark. The only way they don’t get to 60 wins is if LeBron James frequently sits out games for rest.

4.  The Houston Rockets will average 112 points per gameThe Rockets averaged 106.5 points per game last year; good enough for the 8-seed out west. I don’t forsee any scoring setbacks now that Mike D’Antoni is head coach of the Rockets. D’Antoni is an offensive minded coach and will be using James Harden at the point guard position this season. Not only will this team score a ton, they won’t be playing any defense as that’s not really D’Antoni’s M.O. Since they won’t be too worried on the defensive end, they’ll be forced to put up gaudy offensive numbers just to stay competitive in games.

5.  The Heat and the Hawks will miss the playoffs – The Heat and the Hawks finished third and fourth in the Eastern Conference last year. The Heat lost the face of the franchise in Dwyane Wade and also lost Chris Bosh due to medical complications. The Hawks, on the other hand, lost Jeff Teague and Al Horford to the Pacers and Celtics respectively in free agency. Both of these teams lost two of their top players and signed average to slightly above-average players to bandage the wounds. Expect both teams to take a major step backward and miss the playoffs.

6.  The Knicks will make the playoffs – I went back and forth on this one. I don’t think Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are able to stay healthy for an entire season but the thing is, the Eastern Conference isn’t going to be as good as it was last year. If Carmelo Anthony can play in 70+ games and Kristaps Porzingis continues to develop as scheduled, that should be enough for the Knicks to win about 40 games and get into the playoffs.

7.  Joel Embiid will win Rookie of the Year – Too bad for all of the guys who got drafted this season as Joel Embiid is the initial favorite to win rookie of the year. He’s on a bad team so he’ll get plenty of playing time. He’ll have free reign as the 76ers will be losing most games. Oh, and let’s not forget, he’s talented as hell. The only thing holding the big man back is injuries. I really hope Embiid can stay healthy because he has the potential to be a special player .

(Vine by cjzero)

8. John Wall will be a top-5 MVP Candidate – Outside of Damian Lillard, John Wall might be the most underrated player in the NBA. Wall averaged 19.9 points and 10.2 assists last season coming up just .1 point shy of becoming the eleventh player in NBA history to average 20 points and 10 assists for a season. He was the only constant for a Wizards team that likely would have only won 25-30 games last season without him. I expect Wall to put up similar numbers this year and because the Wizards should have a better record than last season (41-41), that should get him more recognition and into the top-5 in MVP voting.

9. The Oklahoma City Thunder will barely make the playoffs – The Rockets, Jazz, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers all got better during the offseason. The Oklahoma City Thunder took a step back as they lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook will be a man on a mission and will likely put up monster numbers every single night. The issue is, When Kevin Durant went down during the 2014-2015 season, Westbrook put up monster numbers and the team still missed the playoffs. The talent around Westbrook is solid but Durant leaving will leave a bigger dent than people wish to believe. As a result, the Thunder will have to sneak into the playoffs with either the seventh or eighth seed. A Warriors-Thunder first round matchup would be a pretty nice start to the playoffs, no?

10.  Giannis Antetokounmpo will win Most Improved Player – The Greek Freak is entering the fourth year of his NBA career. He’s increased his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers every season he’s been in the league. Now that he’ll be playing point guard in Jason Kidd’s offense, this is the year the Greek Freak catapults himself onto the scene, maybe even making an All-Star appearance. He’s got the tools to be a Kevin Durant-type player, and this is the year he puts it together.

Bonus: The Warriors will win the championship – They’re pissed about blowing a 3-1 lead in the finals last year. On top of that, there’s no team out west who’ll test them prior to the finals.

Another Finals Loss Will Hurt LeBron James’ Legacy

There are only few certainties in life. Death, taxes, and now; annual appearances from LeBron James in the NBA finals.

LeBron turned in probably his best performance of the postseason to the tune of 33 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists as the Cavs blew out the Raptors 113-87 Friday night to end one of the most anti-climatic six-game series in recent memory.

James now finds himself in a very familiar spot, the NBA finals. This will be James’ sixth straight appearance in the NBA finals and seventh overall. The last time the NBA championship was on the line which didn’t include James, was in 2010 when Kobe Bryant was putting the finishing touches on a championship repeat over the Boston Celtics.

Add this accolade to the list of James’ accomplishments, as it has been 50 years since a player has made six-straight NBA finals appearances.

There’s only one problem. James’ current 2-4 record when he gets to the finals.

LeBron James is a future first ballot hall of famer and also a once in a lifetime talent that doesn’t come around too often. However, it’s very hard to write of his losing finals record especially since mainstream media loves comparing him to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and the likes. A loss against either Oklahoma City or Golden State would make those comparisons more incomprehensible.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been bi-polar this season. James called out several teammates back in January and it’s thought that James was the one who wanted David Blatt fired as coach. At any point during the season, it looked like the Cavs were on the brink of spiraling out of control. The team was probably better suited auditioning for a reality TV series than playing out the rest of the season.

But after an eventful regular season that still landed them the Number 1 seed out east entering the playoffs, people still had their doubts. Could they put it together? When would the big three finally jell? When would this team implode? After making quick work of both the Pistons and Hawks, the Cavs closed out the Raptors bringing their playoff record to 12-2 with no signs of implosion.

The Cavs are playing their best basketball of the season and at exactly the right time. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are finally in a rhythm. Role players such as JR Smith and Channing Frye are playing stellar defense and are hitting big three-pointers when the team needs them. It took over 80 games but the stars are finally starting to align for this team.

Attractive series’ out west including Oklahoma City and San Antonio and then Oklahoma City and Golden State are taking attention (and rightfully so) off of the Cavs resistant-free run through the eastern conference. That’s not sitting well as James’ feels he’s still the best player in the league and the Cavs are getting overlooked.

Well now he’ll have the chance to prove it. Regardless if the Cavs face the Thunder or Warriors, they’ll likely be underdogs out in Vegas. But James and the Cavs can use that to their advantage. I’d assume he’ll have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon entering this series. He’ll either be facing the NBA’s all-time best regular season team which beat them in the finals last year or a team with two of arguably the best five players in the league who is also putting things together at the right time.

James has a chance to bring a title to Cleveland which has been title starved since 1964. He also has a chance to win the title and bring him within striking distance, just two rings behind Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson and three from Michael Jordan.

But if LeBron and the Cavs lose in the finals. Good luck trying to convince someone that a player with a 2-5 finals record should be mentioned in the same breath as those guys for now.

Curry, Warriors use late run to drop Wizards, 102-94

The Wizards played tough for three quarters but would fall apart in the fourth as the Warriors win this one 102-94 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.

The Wizards were in this game and even held a nine point lead midway through the second quarter but the Warriors had a run to answer. The Warriors ended the second quarter on a 12-0 run to kill all of the Wizards momentum and led 49-46 at halftime.

Once again, the Wizards kept hanging around to start the third quarter. Gortat and Beal connected on an easy dunk and Otto Porter had a couple of layups in transition as the Wizards were able to stay within striking distance. The Warriors would go on an 8-0 run to stretch the lead out to 10, 72-62 and led 79-72 entering the fourth quarter.

Shaun Livingston backcut for an easy dunk to start the fourth and Leondro Barbosa would euro-step his way for a layup as the lead ballooned to 19, 95-76. The Wizards emptied the bench with 4:45 to play as the second unit made this score more respectable.

Wizards lose 102-94. On top of that, Detroit beat Oklahoma City tonight. The Wizards are now three games out of the eight seed with eight games to play.

Steph Curry on fire from three: Curry didn’t hit 11 three-pointers like he did the last time these teams played but was an impressive 6-8 from range. Curry hit most of his threes in the pick-and-roll game as well as in transition. The Wizards had no answer for the soon to be anointed MVP.

Wizards shoot just 22% from three-point range: The Wizards went 5-23 from three-point range. Markieff Morris was the only Wizards player to hit multiple three-pointers tonight. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to go 1-9 from range. That’s not going to cut it when you’re trying to knock off the NBA’s best.