Mystics fall to Sky in season finale

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Mystics fall to Sky in season finale

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Courtney Vandersloot scored 20 points to help the Chicago Sky beat Washington 77-58 on Saturday night, handing the last-place Mystics their 13th straight loss. Epiphanny Prince added 12 points for the Sky (14-20), who had a season-low 23 points in the first half and a season-high 54 in the second half. Swin Cash and Sonja Petrovic added 10 points each. "We wanted to see the third quarter as a new start and forget that first quarter," Vandersloot said. Sky center Carolyn Swords agreed, adding the team wasn't worried after the poor first half. "I think we knew that everything going on was in our control and if we just focused on one pass at a time we'd be in good shape," Swords said. Veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro was scoreless with two assists in about 11 minutes in the final game of her 15-year career. Penicheiro, the league's all-time leader in assists and No. 2 in steals, spent 12 season with Sacramento and two with Los Angeles before joining Chicago this season. "I only played here this year, but the way the fans embraced my retirement made me feel really humble," Penicheiro said. "Everyone worked really hard to make it all right, and to see me off in a good way. It was an amazing ceremony. I was trying not to cry. .. I don't think it has truly hit me yet. It feels like this has been a dream and not really happening." Chicago was without Olympic center Sylvia Fowles (strained calf). Monique Currie scored 15 points and Jasmine Thomas had 12 for the Mystics (5-29), who finished one game worse than last season. Washington's .147 winning percent was the second-worst in franchise history, only better than the .100 (3-27) in its inaugural season in 1998. "Our biggest lesson is how to overcome adversity," Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said. "I think they were a courageous group with big hearts. They persevered through injuries and tough losses." The Mystics, who last won Aug. 19 in overtime at home against Chicago, were without leading scorer Crystal Langhorne (foot). Currie scored 11 points in the first half to help the Mystics take a 28-23 lead at the break. "I felt like we always fought hard," Currie said. "We may not have fought smart all the time, but we continued to work individually and hope that we take this time off to ourselves and get better as a team."

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How trade deadline decisions hint at Wizards' future Otto Porter plans

How trade deadline decisions hint at Wizards' future Otto Porter plans

The calls about Otto Porter came early and often during the trade deadline that passed earlier today, but they went unanswered by Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld. He plans on keeping the soon-to-be restricted free agent now that he has blossomed into an elite shooter who is a perfect fit for one the NBA’s best starting fives.

“We love Otto,” Grunfeld told CSNmidatlantic.com, before the Wizards departed for Fridays' game at the Philadelphia 76ers. “We love the way that he’s developed and how he’s come along. I think Otto fits in very well with what we’re trying to do. I said he’s part of our core and we want to keep him here.”

Porter didn’t enter his fourth NBA season as this hot of a commodity. But in his first season under coach Scott Brooks he has elevated every aspect of his game, averaging career-highs of 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 53.4% overall shooting and an NBA-high 46.5% three-point shooting.

With John Wall and Bradley Beal having All-Star-caliber seasons, and Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat playing their best basketball since coming to D.C., Porter has stepped right in. He’s no longer the shy, shoulder-shrugging Mr. Nice Guy that he was when the Wizards drafted him No. 3 overall in 2013.

MORE WIZARDS: POWER RANKINGS -- POST DEADLINE OUTLOOK

Though he’s still a nice guy, he has more edge to his game and certainly a confidence that was absent in most of his first two seasons. Last season, Porter’s first as the starting small forward, he came on strong late after lingering in the low 30s on his shot from three.

Now it’s a well-oiled machine. When defense overcommit to Wall and Beal, Porter makes them pay. As a result of his explosion, so will the Wizards to keep him. Porter's emergence created an unexpected expense.

The move made by the Wizards to trade Andrew Nicholson’s $26 million salary, in addition to sacrificing a lottery-protected first-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic, was to create more cap room. They anticipate needing it to retain Porter, who earns $5.9 million this season.

The Wizards must make him a qualifying offer of 125% of that salary to retain the first right of refusal by making Porter restricted. Not making a qualifying offer would allow him to become unrestricted.

“He and John, Bradley, Keef and Marcin and all the rest of our players complement each other very well,” Grunfeld said. “We hope to have him here for a long time.”

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Bogdanovic was 'cheering' for trade to go through to join Wizards

Bogdanovic was 'cheering' for trade to go through to join Wizards

Bojan Bogdanovic couldn't control the joy he felt inside the moment he got word that the Wizards were trying to acquire him in a deal to save him from the nine-win Brooklyn Nets.

"It's a big jump for me. I hope I'm going to adjust well and I'm going to start to play well as soon as possible," said Bogdanovic, a 6-8 forward who is in the final year of his three-year deal and will become a restricted free agent this summer.

"I thought I was going to be traded. When I saw that Washington was interested in me I was cheering over there to be traded here because I know how they play right now. They need someone to score off the bench."

Bogadanovic averaged a career-high 14.2 points and shot 35.7% from three-point range with Brooklyn, starting 54 games. Otto Porter starts at his position in Washington.

"It's not going to be a big adjustment for me because also in Europe I started many times from the bench even when I was one of the best players on the team," Bogdanovich said before coming to the NBA in 2014. "Sometimes I like more to start from the bench so I can be more aggressive."

[RELATED: Why the Wizards traded for Bogdanovic]

The lineups that coach Scott Brooks can roll out now are much more diverse. If he wants to go to a super-small lineup, he can put John Wall, Bradley Beal, Bogdanovic, Porter and Markieff Morris on the floor. Or he can substitute Kelly Oubre in for his defense and not lose much versatility. Or Jason Smith can take Morris' spot. 

"What we were looking for is some more scoring, a little pop off the bench, and some more three-point shooting and we wanted to add some versatility," president Ernie Grunfeld told CSNmidatlantic.com after the deadline passed. "With Bojan, we get everything."

Wall liked the move for those reasons. 

"It was a cool trade, a good trade," Wall said. "He's not a guy that just needs the ball in hands."

So does Brooks.

"It's a great addition. He's not just a shooter. He can score the ball," Brooks said. "He has great size. He gets to the free-throw line at a decent clip. He makes them."

[RELATED: Wall sees Cousins through emotional trade]