Mike Scott bet on himself this season and is about to reap the rewards

Just one year ago, Mike Scott was contemplating his place in the NBA. He only played in 18 games during the 2016-17 season as he spent most of that year trying to recover from knee and ankle injuries. Couple that with an off the court incident, many thought the end of Scott’s NBA career would be arriving sooner rather than later.

Most shrugged their collective shoulders after the Wizards signed Scott to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum. The bar was set so low that any production he could provide would have been an added bonus for one of the league’s worst benches.

Boy were we in for a surprise. Not only did Scott exceed expectations, he turned in arguably the best season of his career while also proving to be the most consistent player off the Wizards’ bench. He averaged 8.8 points on a career-best 52.7 percent shooting while knocking down 40.5 percent of his three-point attempts, also a career-best.

With Markieff Morris injured to start the season and Jason Smith, who was filling in for Morris also getting dinged up, Scott would get his opportunity earlier than he probably expected. Even as Washington stumbled out of the gate to start the season, Scott surprised most by scoring in double figures in four straight games off the bench against the WarriorsKingsSuns, and Cavaliers.

With Smith out, Scott solidified his role at the backup power forward position and turned in an incredible December. He averaged 11.7 points per game on an unthinkable, 61.5 percent shooting. Scott quickly became the first player off the Wizards’ bench and created an instant spark as he rarely missed his first shot of the game.

His absurd production that month was unsustainable though. His numbers didn’t nosedive, but while everyone was eating in February, Scott’s numbers took a hit. He shot a pedestrian 43.2 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from three-point range. Scott’s minutes dipped as well during that time as Scott Brooks went small more often with Otto Porter at the four.

Scott was able to pick up his play once again as he caught his stride towards the end of the season. His improved play carried over into the playoffs as he was the team’s second-best player through the first two games of the postseason. He made 14 of his 20 shots from the field through the first two games including four of his five 3-point attempts. He was a big part of why Washington was able to stay within striking distance to steal one of the first two games on the road against the Toronto Raptors.

Scott bet on himself and now he’s going to cash out. Last year, Patrick Patterson and Ersan Ilyasova fetched over $5 million per year after putting up similar numbers at a similar age, so Scott should be in line for a nice raise this summer. The bad news for the Wizards is, it would take some serious salary cap gymnastics to keep Scott around at that price. Even if Scott gets a little bit less than that in this year’s tight market, the Wizards would need to use a big chunk of their taxpayer mid-level exception to keep him, which would limit them to offering minimum contracts to everyone else to fill out the roster.

A crystal ball would be much more valuable than last year’s game film in determining whether or not it’s worth keeping Scott at the expense of pursuing other free agents worth more than the minimum. If they pay him based on a fluke year, they’ll be making the same mistake they made with Martell Webster. But if they let him walk, they’ll be in the same position they were last season, betting on their ability to find a productive player willing to bet on themselves for a year.

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Raptors at Wizards Game 3: Washington protects home court with 122-103 blowout win

John Wall and Bradley Beal explode for 28 points each as the Wizards stay alive in the series, blowing out the Raptors 122-103 on Friday night. Marcin Gortat had a throwback game with 16 points and five rebounds and Otto Porter chipped in with 8 points and 8 rebounds as the Wizards win their seventh straight home playoff game dating back to last season.

Everyone not named Bradley Beal looked tight for the Wizards to start this game. Beal, who took just 11 shots and scored only nine points in Game 2 was ultra aggressive early on scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

But it was the energy from Kelly Oubre that jumpstarted the Wizards. Oubre was very active on the defensive end deflecting passes while also diving on the floor for loose balls. That activated an 11-2 run in the second quarter for the Wizards to take control of the game 69-61, at the break.

The second half was very chippy and will be something to keep an eye on as the series progresses. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Wall threw an outlet pass to Beal who went up for the dunk and got hit across the head by Kyle Lowry resulting in a flagrant-1 foul. Just minutes later, Jonas Valanciunas got called for an offensive foul and when Beal went to grab the ball from Valanciunas, he wasn’t having it. The two got tangled up but it was Wall and Serge Ibaka who ended up getting into it and both picking up technical fouls.

That sparked another jolt into the Wizards as they went on a 12-2 run to go up 94-76 and never looked back in this one. Aside from a mini lag in the fourth quarter where the Raptors were able to claw within 13, Washington had this one in the bag.

Washington protects home court and are on the series scoreboard, 2-1.

We finally get a House of Guards game

One of these guys isn’t enough – the Wizards need both Bradley Beal and John Wall to play well if they’re going to win this series, and tonight they got it. The duo combined for 56 points, 18 assists (Wall with 14), and seven steals in this one. John Wall got off to a slow start connecting on just 1-4 field goal attempts but Beal snapped out of his mini-funk with 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

Wall looked to push the ball in transition tonight finding Beal in the corner for wide-open threes. In the halfcourt, Wall would drive baseline or into a crowded painted area only to kick it out to Beal for the wide-open jumper.

The House of Guards (do we still call them that?) combined for 40 of the Wizards 69 first-half points this evening.

In games 1 and 2, Wall was outstanding but Beal never arrived to the party. It’s nights like tonight that remind you what this team is capable of when both guys show up.

Washington shows up on the defensive end

This isn’t brain surgery here but when the Wizards lock in defensively, they’re a very good team. The Wizards played much better defense to start this one but you couldn’t tell by looking at the score as Toronto started the game 5-7 from the field including 3-4 from three-point range. But, active hands defensively, starting with Oubre, flipped the script for the Wizards in this one.

The Wizards got their hands on passes, were first to the floor, and forced Toronto into many mistakes as they turned 13 Raptors turnovers into 22 points in the first half alone. Many of those turnovers were of the live-ball variety and there’s no one better than Wall to push the ball on an odd-man break off of those live-ball turnovers.

Marcin Gortat had a bit of a throwback game tonight and played much better on Valanciunas even though he scored 14 points. Mahinmi stepped in and played his role as a rim protector with three blocks (all in the first half) and Mike Scott held his own against the likes of Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.

The difference in defensive effort from Games 1 & 2 and tonight was night and day.

Tip Ins

  • Mike Scott was a perfect 4-4 from the field for 12 points and the dagger to all but end this one

  • Otto Porter only scored eight points tonight but knocked down two timely three-pointers at times where the Wizards’ lead was dwindling
  • Ty Lawson continues to provide value with 5 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play

Wizards vs. Raptors Game 2 final score: Washington can’t slow Toronto down in 130-119 loss

DeMar DeRozan scored 37 points and led a Toronto onslaught as the Raptors rolled over the Wizards 130-119 in Game 2 of their first-round series on Tuesday night.

John Wall scored a game-high 29 points to go along with 9 assists but got next to no help from his fellow starters. The rest of the starting five combined for 27 only points. Mike Scott, arguably the second best player on the Wizards in this series had a nice game with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 from three-point range and Ty Lawson, playing his first game as a Wizard, added 14 points and 8 assists off the bench.

Toronto started the game where they left off from the last one, connecting on their first four field goals and forcing Scott Brooks to burn an early timeout. The timeout didn’t work. The Raptors knocked down seven three-pointers in the opening period en route to a franchise-record 44-point first quarter.

Washington started the second quarter connecting on their first six field goals but unfortunately for the Wizards, they couldn’t get any defensive stops. They trailed 76-58 at halftime and if it weren’t for Mike Scott scoring 14 first-half points, it could have been way uglier.

Washington got back into the game with a better second half. They trimmed the deficit to 10 at end of the third quarter and even cut the lead to five, 108-103, in the fourth quarter. But as soon as they got within an arm’s reach, Toronto countered with a 17-4 run to pull away and send the Wizards back home down 0-2.

Takeaways

This one was over early

Otto Porter knocked down a midrange jumper to start the game as the Wizards took a 2-0 lead. But, that was just about the only thing that went well for the Wizards in a nightmarish first quarter for Washington where they showed just about as much intensity as they would in a mid-January game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Washington’s regular season bad habits, mainly on the defensive end, reared their ugly head from the get-go. The Wizards couldn’t get a stop in the first quarter if their life depended on it and lapses occurred in a variety of ways. Toronto had the ball on a string, and that had Washington scrambling and more often than not, creating wide-open three-point attempts for the Raptors.

With the Wizards already in a 17-6 hole, John Wall picked up his second foul of the game on an offensive foul where he was out of control driving through the lane at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter. His early foul trouble led Ty Lawson to see his first action as a Wizard. To make matters worse, Bradley Beal picked up his second foul and was forced to go to the bench at the 3:59 mark of the period all but erasing Washington’s hopes in this one not even one quarter into the game.

Toronto shot 59 percent from the field and knocked down 7-13 three-point attempts en route to a franchise-high 44-point first quarter.

The Wizards trailed by as many as 22 points in a quarter that featured two separate 10-0 runs by the Raptors.

All Washington starters not named John Wall no-showed tonight

John Wall led the Wizards with 29 points and 9 assists with most of his damage coming after halftime as he was sidelined for most of the first half with foul trouble. He was much more aggressive in the second half and again, was not settling for jumpers. He got to the hole and finished and got to the stripe as well, knocking down all 11 free-throw attempts.

Unfortunately for Wall and the Wizards, he was the only starter who played well. Porter, Morris, Beal, and Gortat combined for 27 points on 32 shots. Morris was -31 on the night and Beal was a -34, the worst plus/minus for a Wizards player in a playoff in 20 years.

Game Notes

Wizards vs. Bulls final score: Tomas Satoransky’s career-best night lifts Wizards to 101-90 win in Chicago

Tomas Satoransky turned in a career night with 25 points on 10-12 shooting to go along with six assists as the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls, 101-90 on Saturday night.

Otto Porter added 14 points and Mike Scott chipped in with 14 off the bench as the Wizards avoided their first three-game losing skid of the season.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead on a Robin Lopez jumper to start the game. It was the only time the Wizards trailed all game as they were able to maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way for most of the evening.

Washington won the war of attrition as Tomas SatoranskyTim Frazier, and Ian Mahinmi were forced to leave the contest early for varying reasons and Markieff Morris didn’t dress due to flu-like symptoms, but regardless, the Wizards still found a way to get the win on the road.

Takeaways

Sato turns in a career night

Tomas Satoransky scored a career-high with 25 points tonight on a blistering hot 10-12 shooting including knocking down five-of-six of his three-point attempts to go along with six assists. He set the tone early for the Wizards as he was constantly looking to push the ball and get out in transition. As a result, the Wizards had three uncontested dunks or layups in the first quarter.

He got going early by making all three three-point attempts in the first half as Washington built a double-digit lead. When the ball wasn’t in his hands on offense, he kept himself involved with timely cuts through the paint.

Sato continued his hot shooting in the second half as he added another 10 points including this three-pointer to give him a new career high in points and three-pointers made.

The Wizards let if fly from 3

The Wizards came into this contest averaging just 26.5 three-point attempts per contest, but they came out gunning from three-point range in the first quarter where they took 13 shots from deep and connected on six of them.

Washington had a cold stretch from distance through the second quarter and into the third quarter but it was key three-pointers from Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, and Mike Scott in the fourth quarter as the Wizards were able to halt any run whenever it looked like Chicago might get back in this one.

A war of attrition

At the 2:35 mark of the fourth quarter, Tomas Satoransky drove baseline for a dunk and Bobby Portis fouled him up high resulting in a very scary fall for Satoransky.

Sato looked to have a gash on the side of his head and didn’t return putting a damper on a career night.

Earlier in the game, Tim Frazier hit his head on Bobby Portis’ knee when diving for a loose ball. He left the game with a nasal fracture.

If either player has to miss time, don’t be surprised to see the Wizards grab a point guard to provide more depth.

Markieff Morris missed tonight’s game due to flu-like symptoms and it looks like it might be spreading around as Ian Mahinmi played in the first half but didn’t return in the second half due to illness. As a result, Jason Smith and Chris McCullough received some unexpected playing time.

Game Notes

  • Bradley Beal had a second straight cold shooting night as he was held to just seven points on 3-13 shooting and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.
  • The Washington bench combined for 38 points led by Mike Scott with 14 and Jodie Meeks with 10.
  • Everyone was eating yet again as the Wizards combined for 31 assists.

Next up: The Wizards play their final game before the All-Star break in New York on Wednesday against the Knicks at 7 p.m.

Raptors at Wizards final score: Washington wins a nail-biter, hangs on for 122-119 victory over Toronto

With the Wizards up 118-120 and just four seconds to play, all Bradley Beal had to do was catch an inbounds pass and hold on for the inevitable foul from Toronto. Unfortunately, Beal made his move before gathering the ball coughing it up and fouling Kyle Lowry with just three seconds to play to make matters worse.

Lowry, a 86 percent free-throw shooter clanked the first free-throw and Beal would atone for his sin on the other end knocking down two free-throws of his own as the Wizards hang on for the 122-119 victory over the Raptors.

Washington shared the wealth as eight players scored in double figures led by Bradley Beal with 27 (25 in the second half), followed by Otto Porter with 16 and Markieff Morris who chipped in with 15.

The win gives snaps Washington’s seven-game home losing streak to Toronto. Yes, you read that correctly.

A tale of two halves for Beal

The Toronto Raptors put the clamps on Bradley Beal in the first half. They were double-teaming him every time he got the ball and were packing the paint on his drives to the hole. As a result, Beal struggled, missing all six of his field goal attempts and scoring just two points on free throws in the first half.

But that all changed in the second half. Beal came out on fire in the second half connecting on his first four field goals for 11 points just one minute and 50 seconds into the third quarter as the Wizards erased a seven-point halftime deficit. Beal was much more aggressive and let it fly from three-point range knocking down his first three attempts of the third quarter as he finished the period with 17 points.

Beal hit a tough layup over Jonas Valanciunas with under a minute to play to tie the game and knocked down four free-throws in the final seconds as the Wizards would come away with the victory.

Washington gets it done with an all-around team effort 

With John Wall out for up to two months, it’s no secret that the Wizards are going to need many guys to step up if they are able to keep a respectable seeding in the Eastern Conference. And tonight, they got just that. Eight Wizards players scored in double figures tonight and four players had at least four assists to fill in for Wall’s absence.

Marcin Gortat started the game 3-3 from the field to get the Wizards offense going early on and Markieff Morris provided a much-needed spark with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Not only were the starters good tonight, but the bench was outstanding combining for 44 points behind 14 from Mike Scott and 10 from Jodie Meeks (all in the fourth quarter). Guys like Scott and Ian Mahinmi (10 points) were able to carry the scoring load for the Wizards in the first half as Beal struggled to get going early on.

Otto Porter, who also had a bit of a slow start had some timely transition layups in the fourth quarter to give Washington the lead and came up with several big rebounds down the stretch.

In all, this was an outstanding team effort tonight.

We finally got a Jodie Meeks game

It took 51 games, but we finally got a (mini) explosion from Jodie Meeks off the bench. After being held scoreless in his limited action in the first half, Meeks hit a prayer three-pointer to start the fourth quarter. The next time down, Meeks curled off a screen and knocked down another three-pointer to give Washington a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Meeks would break out in transition to add a layup and also knock down two free throws as he scored 10 quick points to give Washington an extra jolt down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Tip Ins:

  • Ian Mahinmi went a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line
  • Washington shared the rock, dishing out 30 assists on 44 made field goals

  • The Wizards turned the Raptors over 18 times turning those into 23 points on the other end.

Up Next: A potential trap game looms as Washington heads to Orlando on Saturday.

Bulls at Wizards final score: Wizards ride Beal’s hot shooting for a 114-110 victory

Washington’s stars came up biggest when it mattered the most.

Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards with 39 points (17 coming in the fourth quarter) as the Wizards beat the red-hot Chicago Bulls, 114-110. John Wall added 21 points and nine assists as Washington claws out a win against an ever so tricky, sub .500 team.

The Bulls took the lead early on in the first quarter and led for most of the game. Credit the Bulls, whenever the Wizards made a run to trim the lead, Chicago had an answer, most of the time.

With 9 seconds remaining and the game tied at 110; Bradley Beal had a chance to ice the contest with two free throws. Unfortunately, Beal’s free throw shooting struggles continued as he rimmed both of them out. There was an all out scramble for the loose ball which ended up in the hands of Kelly Oubre who quickly passed it to John Wall who got fouled. John Wall would knock down two free throws to ice the game as the Wizards hold on for a 114-110 victory.

Bradley Beal comes up huge for the Wizards

Beal had 15 points through the first 24 minutes, but Brad really started to shine in the fourth quarter when the Wizards needed him most. Beal scored 17 points in the fourth quarter including 15 straight for the Wizards as they scrapped out the victory.

In the final period, whenever the Wizards clawed back into the game on the heels of Beal, the Bulls had a counter punch. However, Bradley Beal would hit a clutch three to tie the game at 101

another three-pointer to tie the game at 104, and another three to give the Wizards a 107-106 lead late in the fourth quarter.

The soon to be All-Star was near perfect tonight as he finished with 39 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.

His only hiccup was missing two late free-throws which could have iced the game.

John Wall looks like himself

Things haven’t quite clicked 100 percent for Wall but it’s clear, this team is at its best when Wall is getting out in transition and looking to set up others. Wall ended the night with nine assists but once again, his shooting struggled as he was just 6-20 from the field.

Things opened up for the Wizards when Wall pushed the ball for Washington that ended in some easy baskets. Wall was also terrific on the defensive end as he recorded four blocks and came up with a steal late resulting in a layup and a foul on the other end.

Wall also had a clutch layup and the foul with 29 seconds remaining to put the Wizards up for good.

Kelly Oubre and Mike Scott provide the Wizards only bench production

Outside of Oubre and Scott, the Wizards bench was nowhere to be found tonight. The duo combined for 29 points on 11-17 shooting and went 5-9 from three-point range.

After missing Friday night’s game due to the birth of his child, Scott showed no rust as he hit his first six shots tonight as well as a baseline jumper as Washington regained the lead 94-93 for the first time since the first quarter.

Aside from a questionable pass in transition midway through the fourth quarter, Kelly Oubre provided some nice energy off the bench with 12 points and came up with the loose ball off of Beal’s missed free-throws with just seconds to play.

Up Next: The Wizards have two days off before they take on the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Even with his recent success, Mike Scott is better suited coming off the Wizards bench

Mike Scott is rolling right now. He has a mind-boggling true shooting percentage of 72.2 percent through the month of December and is shooting 73.6 percent (on 53-72 shots) from the field since the Wizards played the Blazers on December 5th.

Scott’s hot streak, coupled with Markieff Morris struggling to catch his stride, begs the question; should Mike Scott be starting over Markieff Morris?

Morris looks like a shell of the guy who averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds and was key to Washington turning their season around last year. He’s averaging just 23.1 minutes per game, the fewest since his sophomore season. And you never know what you’re going to get from Morris on any given night as he can explode for 23 points and seven rebounds like he did against Detroit earlier this month, or put up a clunker of a game and get benched for the entire fourth quarter like he did against the Clippers and Nets last week.

Even though the 20+ point outbursts from Morris seem more like an anomaly than the norm this season, Washington is better suited keeping him as the starter.

Scott is providing a jolt of caffeine for the Wizards off the bench, but this buzz won’t last forever. It would be nearly impossible for him to keep his shooting percentages this high all season. In fact, no one has ever been able to shoot over 40 percent from deep (on at least two threes per game) and shoot over 66 percent on twos over the course of a season. He’s bound to fall off at some point.

Plus, if he were promoted to the starting lineup, he would go from being the first or second scoring option, where he looks most comfortable, to the fourth scoring option with the starters. He’d find the ball in his hands less and it would be that much harder for him to put up these gaudy numbers against better opposition and with fewer touches to find his rhythm.

If we assume for a second that Morris’ shooting will gradually increase over the course of the season as he finds his form while Scott’s will gradually decrease, it gets harder to find areas where Scott is an upgrade. Other than a marginal uptick in rebounding which would likely go down playing more against starters, Scott posts worse numbers than Morris in every other area. Morris gets more steals, more blocks, and can guard more positions defensively, plus he averages more assists.

Numbers aside, let’s not forget about the locker room tension this could potentially produce too. For the most part, Morris has kept his cool this season. But, how would he react to a demotion to the bench? Would that light a fire under him to play better, or would that potentially cause friction for a team barely keeping its head over .500?

The important thing to keep in mind here is Scott is receiving more minutes than Morris so far this month, and is on the floor when it counts, in the fourth quarter. As long as the Wizards are riding Scott’s hot hand in crunch time, I don’t think it matters all that much who starts the first and second halves.

There’s no need to tweak anything right now. The reserves are clicking, led by Scott’s stellar play. So for now, let’s just enjoy how he’s been one of the main reasons why a reserve unit with a dull preseason outlook has exceeded everyone’s expectations so far this year.