The solution to Scott Brooks’ bench lineups

Death, taxes, and all-bench lineups.

Ever since Scott Brooks took over at the helm as the Wizards’ head coach, it’s been clear that he prefers using a long bench, and playing them together to build cohesion. Whether it was sticking with 2016’s historically bad bench, the ‘not terrible but still not good’ reserve unit of 2017, or this year’s up-and-down reserves—he doesn’t deviate much from his pattern of subbing all of the starters to get a breather in the late first quarter and early second quarter.

We’re less than one-fifth of the way through the season, but many of the bench’s problematic issues have flared up, even though this was supposed to be Washington’s deepest team under Brooks’ watch. With streaky players like Jeff GreenAustin Rivers, and Kelly Oubre Jr. coming off the pine, there have been nights where one of them explodes and carries the team for a stretch, but there have been just as many nights where the bench squanders a lead before the starters can down a cup of water.

Brooks has made one tweak to the rotation that fans have been clamoring for years – bringing in Oubre as the first sub at the six-minute mark for Otto Porter and letting Porter start the second and fourth quarters with the reserves.

The Kelly Oubre experience is already in full effect. He has the tools to go off for a big game as he did against Blazers, Warriors, and Kings; but he still makes many of the same mistakes that haunted him during his rookie and sophomore seasons. A lot of that is on Oubre, but the coaching staff needs to take some of the blame here because they haven’t catered to his strengths by playing him alongside four other players with unclear roles.

Plugging him in with the starters off the bench does wonders for both parties. It allows Oubre to be the fourth or fifth option, where he gets less defensive attention and can take more advantage of his biggest strength, his athleticism. All he has to do alongside Wall is run the floor and bring energy. In return, Wall gets another person to run with in transition and someone who can lighten his load on the defensive end.

Otto Porter would also be a beneficiary should Brooks continue to go with this approach. Porter has been in and out of Brooks’ doghouse this season, but giving him the green light with the reserves could be a way for both sides to get what they want. Whether you’re in the ‘Otto isn’t aggressive enough’ group or on the ‘Wizards coaching staff doesn’t run enough plays for Porter’ side of the fence, here’s an opportunity to change both narratives as he’d be the focal point of that unit, not to mention, probably the best player on the floor at that time.

This has the makings of a win-win for both guys as Oubre would be put in a better position to succeed, and Porter could continue to be an outstanding third option while also having a shot to be an alpha for the bench unit.

We’ve seen Brooks coach up close and personal for two years full seasons and some change now and it’s clear that some habits die hard with him. There isn’t really a downside to utilizing this rotation more as this current iteration of the all-bench unit has had a rocky start to the year. And the upside? It might generate more confidence in two of the more up-and-down players on this roster, which would be a huge boost for the team.

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Orlando at Washington Final Score: Wizards clamp down late defensively, beat Magic 117-109

John Wall led the way with 25 points and Bradley Beal notched 21 as Washington exacts revenge on Monday night taking down Orlando, 117-109. Jeff Green was outstanding once again with 18 points on 6-7 shooting and Dwight Howard added 17 points against his former team for a Washington squad that’s won consecutive games for the first this season.

In one of the more odd things you’ll ever see, this game was tied at the end of the first quarter (30-30), halftime (55-55), and third quarter (83-83).

Terrance Ross hit rough back-to-back shots to start the fourth quarter and this had all the makings of him getting his jersey retired in the #WizardsKiller hall of fame. Excellent defensive effort coupled with Jeff Green’s stellar play in the fourth quarter (10 points) opened up a comfortable lead for Washington.

With under two minutes remaining, John Wall put this game on ice as he blocked Evan Fournier’s three-point attempt only to get fouled and head down the other way for free-throws.

Washington wins, 117-109 starting this five-game homestand off on the right foot.

John Wall turns in a vintage John Wall game

Wall logged his third double-double of the season with 25 points, 10 assists, and just two turnovers. Wall was able to get out in transition and attacked the hole with many of his points coming in the painted area. He was much more selective with his three-point shooting only taking three attempts (knocked down two) as he bullied the smaller D.J. Augustin.

Most importantly, Wall was engaged on the defensive end, specifically in the second half and it kick-started the Wizards.

Jeff Green turns in another outstanding performance  

Jeff Green was a near perfect 6-7 from the field for 18 points with his lone miss coming on a heave as the shot clock was winding down. Green provided a spark off the bench that Washington has desperately been looking for to start this season.

He was knocking down his threes, was very effective as the roll man with Wall in the pick-and-roll and had many timely buckets evidenced by his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Green turned in a classic Jeff Green game only now, he’s in a Wizards uniform. Who would have thought?

Looks like Brooks has found something with the Wall-Beal-Oubre-Morris-Green lineup

For the second straight game, Brooks closed with Wall-Beal-Oubre-Morris-Green on the floor. Otto Porter and Dwight Howard didn’t play a second in the fourth quarter as it looks like Brooks might be onto something with a different iteration of small ball lineup.

This is definitely something to keep an eye out for, especially if you’re Otto Porter.

Wizards vs. Heat final score: Wizards lose opener 113-112 on Kelly Olynyk’s last-second putback

It’s that guy again, huh?

In a game that featured 21 lead changes and 19 ties, no basket was more important than Kelly Olynyk’s putback off a Dwayne Wade miss with 0.2 seconds to play in regulation to spoil the Wizards’ regular season opener, 113-112.

The Wizards were looking for a fresh start to the season after last year’s shortcomings, and John Wall looked ready to provide it early. The All-Star reminded everyone what he’s capable of when playing on two healthy knees as he crossed over for a layup and hit a three in transition for the Wizards first five points of the season.

Scott Brooks wants the Wizards taking more three-pointers this year and Markieff Morris took well to that message knocking down both attempts in the first quarter as Washington jumped out to a quick 17-6 lead. But as we’ve become accustomed to with Brooks, he went with the dreaded all-bench lineup that brought the Wizards’ offense to a screeching halt as Miami trimmed the lead to one, 25-24 after the first quarter.

To no surprise, Brooks stuck with the reserves to start the second quarter until the 8-minute mark. For as great as the first nine minutes of the first quarter was for the Wizards, the final eight minutes of the second quarter were equally as bad. Poor defensive effort, missed free throws, and a slew of fouls allowed Miami to hang around. Even with all the mishaps, the Wizards somehow led 59-58 at halftime.

That poor play carried over into the third quarter as the Heat went on a 7-0 run to take a 69-62 lead. Midway through the third period, Jason Smith and Hassan Whiteside dove for a loose ball resulting in a tie up. John Wall ran right at Derrick Jones Jr. and had some words for him as he swiped the ball away from Smith. Wall picked up a technical foul, because, does the game really count if the Wizards don’t get a technical foul?

Washington bounced back with a 10-0 run and regained the lead, 87-85 after three quarters. The teams traded baskets and free throws for most of the fourth quarter but the Miami Heat came up with the big plays when they counted. And more importantly, corralled loose balls (i.e. Olynyk’s offensive rebound) and hit their free-throws.

This was an all too familiar ending for a team who looked awfully similar to last year’s underwhelming squad.

Takeaways

John Wall looks just fine

John Wall will be under a magnifying glass this season and specifically, his knee, but he didn’t disappoint tonight. Wall scored a team-high 26 points to go along with 9 assists in a typical John Wall game.

On the very first play of the game, Wall crossed over for an easy layup at the rim. Next time down, he pulled up for three giving Washington a 5-0 lead in the blink of an eye. But it wasn’t just his scoring early on that was impressive; it was his effort on the defensive end in the first quarter. Wall looked much more energized on the defensive end resulting in deflections and fast break opportunities for the Wizards on the offensive end.

Wall was the only Wizards player to score in double digits in the first half as he notched 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting through the first 24 minutes.

That aggressiveness carried over into the second half as Wall fearlessly attacked the hole and looked like his old self getting out in transition. Outside of a few missed free-throws, there’s not a whole lot to complain about from Wall tonight.

New season, same rotations

Many think this year’s bench is the deepest Washington has had during the Wall era. We got our first taste of the all-reserve unit at the 2:55 mark of the first quarter with the Wizards up 19-13. After a nice drive from Austin Rivers, the Washington offense sputtered with Miami outscoring the Wizards 11-6 the rest of the quarter.

The Wizards carried a 4+ minute field goal drought into the second quarter allowing Miami to tie the game at 33 just minutes into the second period, which forced Brooks to start reinserting his starters.

The All-Reserve unit was a bit better in the second half but still, nothing to write home about. Regardless of who’s on his roster, it doesn’t look like Brooks is going to change his substitution patterns.

Wizards must rely on small ball even though it isn’t the long-term solution

Ian Mahinmi played well in the first quarter but outside of that, the Wizards didn’t get much production from the true center position. Mahinmi and Jason Smith each ended the night with four fouls and were glued to the bench in the second half as neither were viable options.

Jeff Green played terrific tonight as a fill-in at the center position but this won’t be a long-term solution for the Wizards evidenced as they got crushed on the glass, 55-40.

Game 1 Overreactions

  • It doesn’t look like Kelly Oubre is going to take that next step. He was 2-of-8 from the field.
  • The Otto Porter debate will continue all season long. He snagged 11 rebounds but didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer.
  • John Wall is the Wizards best post defender.
  • The Wizards have a huge hole at the center position.
  • Bradley Beal’s head-scratching free-throw issues continue. He was 4-of-6 at the line.
  • The Wizards will probably lead the league in technical fouls this season.

 

Nothing will change for the Wizards until they kick their too-cool-for-school attitude

There was always that one kid in school. You know, the one who rarely completed any assignments, failed nearly every test, gave no input for group projects—but somehow managed to barely pass the class. Even though other students were getting A’s and B’s on their assignments, it was never this kid’s fault that he flunked the test. No. He had every excuse in the book: “I didn’t like the teacher’s teaching style”, “The teacher never provided me with enough information”, on and on. It never stopped. Same curriculum, same information, others were getting good grades, but this student was barely able to move onto the next grade because of course, none of the shortcomings were their fault.

This is what the Washington Wizards have become in a nutshell.

Back during the 2013-2014 season, the Wizards had a chip on their shoulder. They finished with the fifth-best record in the East and were expected to be easy fodder for the experienced Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. That chip on their shoulder morphed into a plank and they played through Chicago for a 4-1 series victory. But after getting knocked out by the Pacers in the second round, a funny thing happened. That chip on their shoulder shrunk down to a splinter as the players’ egos began to inflate.

The Wizards had a little swag to them for the first time in a long time. And who could blame them? But little did Bradley Beal know that during media day prior to the 2014-2015 season, he’d speak the words that would set the tone for this team’s mindset for the next four seasons when he said: “We’re definitely the best backcourt in the league.”

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were catching their stride and Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were laying the foundation for the tandem they’d ultimately turn into. But here were the Wizards, self-anointing themselves as the best backcourt in the NBA after winning just one playoff series.

Unfortunately for Washington, nothing has been able to hut that ego. If anything, it’s ballooned even more. Rather than let an otherwise meaningless quote get swept into a random corner of the internet, they doubled down. In 2015, Wall and Beal moved all their chips to the middle of the table and said they were ‘best backcourt because they play both ends.’ And if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, they tripled down during the summer of 2017.

The faux confidence John Wall and Bradley Beal have exuded has spilled over to other members of the team. Look no further than Markieff Morris who stated: “Sometimes the better teams don’t win” after the Raptors knocked the Wizards out of the playoffs this spring in a series that wasn’t really in doubt.

Rather than riding the momentum of being just one game from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017, the Wizards stalled out. They don’t own any hardware but unofficially lead the NBA in players-only meetings and the number of times they’ve referred to themselves as the best backcourt in the NBA. Unsurprisingly, that hasn’t translated to results and if the team’s mindset doesn’t change, it never will.

Organizationally, this isn’t Washington’s first rodeo either when it comes to dealing with irrationally confident players who shed the blame elsewhere. The Gilbert Arenas-led Wizards came out of nowhere to increase their win total by 20 and knock off the Chicago Bulls in 2005. But after winning that series, that iteration of the Wizards roster never won another playoff series. Off the court antics, injuries, and excuses started to pile up but the front office didn’t seem to mind as the team was relevant for the first time in a long time.

Since changes likely won’t come from up top to change the culture, it’s up to the team’s leader, John Wall, to set a new tone. Early in the season after a laundry list of losses to sub .500 teams like the SunsMavericksNets, and Lakers, John Wall said the Wizards players were stat-hunting. Unfortunately, his words did little to change what was happening.

There are mixed feelings about John Wall. Locally, fans love him, but he doesn’t seem to garner that attention on a national level. Throughout his career, he has been more of the lead by example type than the type who gets in a teammate’s face. But with the Wizards coming off of a very disappointing season, Washington has a chance to get that chip back on their shoulder—but it starts with Wall. The way he played through pain was inspiring, but it also allowed bad habits to spread as more players took plays off defensively, hunted for stats against bad teams, and got stagnant off the ball.

Things won’t be easier next year either as the Wizards will try to incorporate Dwight Howard into the locker room—a guy playing on his fourth team in four years. They’re also adding Austin Riverswho didn’t always have the best relationships with teammates in Los Angeles, as well as the consistently inconsistent Jeff Green.

The Wizards clearly thrive as hunters rather than being the hunted. So maybe an early exit from the playoffs last year will re-ignite a fire under this team. If not, we might find ourselves in a similar situation to last year listening to excuses that are well past their expiration date from a team falling short of expectations once again. You know, like the kid who flunked his test but at no fault of his own.

Raptors at Wizards Game 6 Final Score: Washington falls apart in the fourth quarter again as Raptors win 102-92, closing out the series

Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16 as the Raptors beat the Wizards 102-92 and close out the series in Washington. Bradley Beal (32 points) and John Wall (23 points) combined to score 55 of Washington’s 92 points but like other games in this series, a third scorer never emerged to help carry the load.

The Wizards jumped on the Raptors 20-9 to start this game and it looked very well like we’d be heading back to Toronto for a Game 7.

Washington started the game 7-9 from the field and 3-3 from distance as they were clearly boosted by the home cooking. Toronto’s bench, which has been a strength for them all season long, came in at the beginning of the second quarter and was able to trim Washington’s lead to one, 34-33 at the blink of an eye.

The Wizards could have built this lead out to double-digits but there was a huge momentum swing in the Raptors favor to end the quarter. John Wall found a cutting Marcin Gortat who was swatted at the rim and in turn, ending in a three-pointer for the Raptors on the other end. Next time down, Bradley Beal threw an alley-oop pass to Wall that was just out of his reach resulting in another turnover. Again, the Raptors hit a three the next time down.

Rather than being up double-digits, Washington led by just three, 53-50 at halftime.

Bradley Beal carried the Wizards in the third quarter where he scored 12 of his 32 points. Beal was attacking the hole, getting to the line, and knocking down timely three-pointers for the Wizards.

After losing the lead, Washington looked to regain the momentum as Tomas Satoransky tipped in a Beal miss with time expiring as the Wizards led 78-73 entering the fourth quarter.

But then, everything fell apart. The Wizards looked tired and uninterested (more on that in a bit) in the fourth quarter and as a result, got blown out 29-14 in the final period.

Washington losses 102-92 and it’s finally time to stick a fork in this disappointing and frustrating season.

Washington falls apart again in the fourth quarter

The Wizards held a 78-73 lead entering the fourth quarter and had the momentum – but that’s when things started to fall apart. The Raptors, starting the period with all five reserves and outscored the Wizards playing four of their starters 10-2 to start the period.

Washington’s offense came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. The Wizards showed no energy to start the period and looked just as gassed as they did in the fourth quarter of Game 5. Washington built out the lead in the first half by getting out in transition but that all disappeared in the fourth quarter. On top of that, John Wall stopped driving to the hole and the Wizards reverted back to their bad habits in turning the ball over on lazy passes.

Toronto didn’t reinsert their starters until there were just over five minutes to play and even then, the reserves had already brought the team back. Kyle Lowry was excellent tonight and iced this game on two drives to the hole and finishing over Gortat to put the Raptors up 92-85 to bury the Wizards.

Washington, who held a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter, was outscored 29-14 in the final period.

They are who we thought they were

For a team who has blown countless fourth-quarter leads this season, we were crazy to think that bad habit amongst others would change once the playoffs started. Reminiscent of too many games in the past, the Wizards reverted to hero-ball, the opposite of everyone eats, for the entire fourth quarter and to no surprise, the predictable offense didn’t fool anyone.

From an outsider’s perspective, if I had told you in the fourth quarter that this was an elimination game, you wouldn’t have believed me. Washington committed 14 turnovers tonight, which isn’t terrible, but many of them came in the fourth quarter. What’s worse is, too many were of the live-ball variety leading to easy layups or wide-open shots in transition for the Raptors.

Lastly, a third scorer never emerged for the Wizards and they had no legs to close the game. Dennis Smith infamously said: “We are who they thought we were” and shame on us for thinking otherwise about this Wizards’ team.

A very important offseason looms

Here we are. The Wizards, a tax team for the first time in recent memory underachieved with just a 43-39 regular season record and got bounced in the first round by the one-seed, Toronto Raptors. Yes, injuries played a huge part in this season but there were so many other factors that played into this disappointment of a season. Poor roster construction, questionable coaching moves, locker room tension; you name it.

Will Ernie Grunfeld be around for much longer? Have we seen the last game of the Wall, Beal, and Porter trio? There are a lot of questions for a franchise that suddenly finds itself at a crossroads. And if the Wizards to plan on taking that next step, change must come.

Wizards at Raptors Game 5 final score: Washington falls apart late in 108-98 loss to Toronto

The Wizards had no answer for DeMar DeRozan who scored a game-high 32 points as the Raptors beat the Wizards 108-98 taking a 3-2 series lead. Kyle Lowry scored 17 points but Delon Wright exploded for 18 off the bench for a Toronto team who can now close this series out on Friday night.

John Wall tried to will the Wizards to victory with 26 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds, but he ran out of gas late and none of the other Washington players were able to pick up the slack.

Bradley Beal scored 20 points and Kelly Oubre had a nice game with 14 points but it wouldn’t be enough as the Wizards now find themselves on the brink of elimination.

Washington falls apart in the fourth quarter

Washington played outstanding tonight – through three quarters. The Wizards took every punch from the Raptors but the one Toronto landed in the fourth quarter was just too much for Washington to overcome.

The Wizards led by five, 87-82 on a Kelly Oubre dunk just minutes into the fourth quarter and it looked like they might go on a run.

But that’s when everything started to fall apart as Toronto outscored the Wizards 26-11 to close out the game after that play. Regular season bad habits like turnovers, being loose with the ball, and taking very tough shots reared their ugly heads late in the game as Washington started the quarter just 6-17 from the field and scored just 20 points in the period.

Tip your cap to the Raptors’ bench, mainly, Delon Wright who came alive in the fourth quarter. With Toronto up one and the shot clock winding down, Wright hit a three from the right wing to put Toronto up 97-93 and the scoring onslaught ensued. The Wizards looked gassed down the stretch and showed no life over the final six minutes of the game as the final score wasn’t indicative of how close this game was.

Washington needs a complete 48-minute effort on Friday if they’re going to keep their season alive. Because like we saw in Game 1 and again tonight, playing the Raptors tough for 3.5 quarters isn’t enough to come away with the win.

A third scorer never emerges

John Wall continued to stuff the stat sheet with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Bradley Beal chipped in with 20 (just 3 in the fourth quarter) but the team didn’t get a whole lot of offense from anyone else aside from Kelly Oubre (14 points).

The Wizards looked like they were trying to get Otto Porter going early on as he scored four points on 2-3 shooting in the opening minutes of the game. But Porter never really got going after that opening stretch as he ended the night with just nine points on 4-9 shooting.

Bradley Beal struggled once again in the fourth quarter as he only scored three points – on a three-pointer in garbage time. With Beal missing shots and Wall looking gassed in the fourth quarter, no one else emerged to get baskets for the Wizards.

That was the difference tonight as the backcourts essentially canceled each other out but Toronto had a third guy (Wright) explode for 18 points whereas Washington did not.

Washington couldn’t buy a basket in the second quarter

Ty Lawson drove into the teeth of the defense finding Kelly Oubre on the left wing for a three-pointer at the 9:02 mark giving Washington a 33-31 lead. After that bucket, the Wizards would go ice cold from the field.

Washington’s next made field goal came on a runner at the 3:56 mark to end what was a five minute and six second drought without a made basket. Fortunately for the Wizards, they were playing stout defense and were and were getting to the line where they knocked down 8-11 attempts in the first half.

Washington shot just 7-21 (33 percent) in the period and all things considered, it could have been a whole lot worse as the Wizards were down just one, 48-47 at halftime.

If I told you before the game that the Wizards would shoot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half yet would trail by just one, 48-47 at halftime; we’d all take it.

Game Notes

  • Marcin Gortat turned in another nice game with 10 points and 12 rebounds
  • The rotations and late game play calls remain a head-scratcher for this Washington team
  • The Wizards shot just 5-26 from three-point range
  • When a series is tied at two games apiece, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series 83 percent of the time

Raptors at Wizards Game 4: Washington turns in a gritty performance for a 106-98 victory over Toronto

Bradley Beal fouled out with just under four minutes to play with the game tied at 92 sucking all the life out of Capital One Arena. Even though the game was tied, the Wizards looked defeated. But the Wizards, the up-and-down Wizards, they don’t know what to expect next Wizards persevered and closed the game on a 14-4 run and beat the Raptors 106-98 evening the series at two games apiece.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 31 points and John Wall added 27 as the Washington backcourt one-ups the Toronto backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan outscoring them 58-54 tonight. Otto Porter was quiet in the first half but scored 11 in the second half for the Wizards who have now won eight straight home playoff games dating back to last season.

Things looked bleak for the home squad early on. With the refs calling the game tight, the Raptors, well mainly DeMar DeRozan were in ultra-attack mode. DeRozan went right at the Wizards and as a result, got 12 free throw attempts (made 9) in just the first quarter alone. The Wizards, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket. Washington shot just 36 percent from the field in the first quarter and trailed 30-22 after one period.

That stagnant offense carried over to the second quarter where John Wall and Bradley Beal took turns going one-on-one against the Toronto defense. To no one’s surprise, that didn’t work either and the Wizards managed to shoot even worse (34 percent) in the second quarter trailing 51-40 at halftime.

Washington’s offense finally got going in the third quarter, once they were able to run. The Wizards got out in transition and Porter was the beneficiary knocking down two three-pointers in as many possessions to cut into the Raptors lead. Marcin Gortat, who scored 12 points tonight had two buckets from close is as Washington used a 13-2 run to tie the game at 58 in the third period.

Washington opened the period 13-20 from the field and matched their first-half point production with 40 in the third quarter, as we’d be all tied up at 80 after three.

All that excitement looked like it would be short-lived as the Raptors opened the period on an 8-0 run taking an 88-80 lead. But Bradley Beal would come alive knocking down a three in transition and two free throws to tie the game again at 90.

That’s when all hell broke loose. With just four minutes to play, DeMar DeRozan stumbled over Beal’s foot in what was a very questionable foul call, fouling Beal out of the game. With the game tied at 92, the Wizards would have to play the last three minutes and change without their best scorer.

But that’s when the Wizards locked in defensively. Washington was able to limit Lowry and DeRozan down the stretch who’d been killing them all night. DeRozan missed four of his last five shots to end the game and the Wizards knocked down their free throws to ice it.

We’ve got a brand new series as we’re all tied up at two games apiece now.

Wall and Beal outduel DeRozan and Lowry for a second straight game

John Wall and Bradley Beal got the best of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry as the duo combined for 58 points. Wall scored 27 of those to go along with 14 assists and six rebounds in the Wizards victory.

Bradley Beal continued his hot shooting out of the gate with nine points on 4-6 shooting in the first quarter. Wall and Beal were the only Wizards players who could do anything on the offensive end in the first half scoring 23 of the Wizards’ 40 points.

Beal got going yet again in the third quarter with five quick points to get the Wizards back within striking distance. John Wall’s jumper was falling too as he was knocking down his pull-up and elbow jumper with consistency. Wall was able to get to the line tonight but knocked down just 7 of his 10 attempts. But as Wall does best, he was getting others involved, dishing out most of his 14 assists after halftime.

DeMar DeRozan was unstoppable tonight scoring a game-high 35 points this evening. The Wizards had no answer for DeRozan early on as he got in the paint, knocked down long twos, and was able to get to the line evidenced by his 18 free throw attempts. The Wizards had no answer for the All-Star through three quarters but were able to put the clamps on him in the fourth quarter.

To no one’s surprise, another ‘House of Guards’ game results in another Washington victory.

Good Oubre Bad Oubre was on full display tonight

Kelly Oubre’s rollercoaster of a season continued tonight as the third-year player could not knock down a jump shot. However, that didn’t prevent him from attacking the hole and getting to the line. Once Oubre realized his shot wasn’t falling, he’d stick his head down and attack the hole – sometimes resulting in a layup, sometimes resulting in a foul, and other times, resulting in a turnover. Oubre’s 10 points off the bench were highest amongst Washington reserves tonight and the Wizards needed every one of them.

Oubre came up big for the Wizards on the defensive end with the role of stopping DeRozan in the second half. He did about as good as a job as one could in stopping the All-NBA scorer. With Beal fouled out, Oubre did a terrific job snagging loose balls and coming up with two steals in the final four minutes.

The Wizards need this type of effort from Oubre if they are going to win this series.

Tip Ins

  • Marcin Gortat had another very nice game with 12 points (6-8 shooting) to go along with 6 rebounds

  • Otto Porter, who scored just one point in the first half ended the game with 12 including many timely buckets as the Wizards were mounting their comeback
  • The Wizards had another nice game defensively coming up with 10 steals and 8 blocks for the evening