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State of the Wizards: Scott Brooks' offense reaching new heights

State of the Wizards: Scott Brooks' offense reaching new heights

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Brooks' offense is reaching new heights - The teams Scott Brooks coached in Oklahoma City were so talented that someday there will probably be an ESPN '30 for 30' on how they never won an NBA title together. Just look at the current list of the top scorers in the NBA. Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant are all in the top 10 and Westbrook leads the entire league with 31.2 points per game. All three are probably on track to be in the Hall of Fame.

Those OKC teams were absolutely stacked on offense, yet Brooks' current Wizards team has done several things offensively this season that the Thunder never accomplished with Brooks in charge. On Sunday, they had a 23-game streak of scoring 100 points or more snapped. That was the longest such streak in Brooks' coaching career. And this season the Wizards are averaging 107.9 points per game as a team. The Thunder never did that for a full season.

Somehow, Brooks' system is being taken to new heights by John Wall, Bradley Beal and company. Neither Wall or Beal had heard the points per game stat, but it makes sense to them.

"We’re shooting the ball very well. We have five guys in the double figures in the starting five. We all move the ball very well," Wall said. "You know who is going to get the most shots, but you don’t really know who is going to take the big shots at the right time. We all trust in moving the ball and going from the good-to-great pass. That’s what makes our team great."

"I didn't know that. That's kind of hard to believe with the three-headed monster that he had before. That's unique," Beal said. 

When asked if it was all about ball movement, Beal offered this:

"I think we are a little bit better at that than they were."

Brooks didn't directly compare his current team to his former players, but he too thinks it's been a collective effort. 

"We have good players, guys that know how to play and that pass the ball. We are passing the ball as well as we have all season long the last couple of months," Brooks explained. "We've got good scorers. We've got good guys that understand that it takes everybody to make an offense work. We have good screen-setters. Marcin is one of the best in the league, if not the best at getting guys open for points. I think guys are just enjoying playing with each other on the floor."

All of the Wizards' success is making Brooks look very smart. There were critics who wondered if he could coach given all the talent he had in Oklahoma City. There were some who downplayed his impact. 

It's not like Wall and Beal are scrubs, but clearly what Brooks preaches actually works.

"You can talk to any coach in the history of this game and not one of them has won at a high level without talented players. If they don't think that, they don't have good enough friends to tell them the truth," Brooks said. "You win in this league with good players. We had a successful run. You can argue probably that the three players are one, two and three in the MVP voting. The same thing we have here, we have a really good team with a lot of good players. They are high-level players and All-Star players. Brad eventually is going to be one. You win with good players. I don't look back on what happened to me and the what ifs. The injuries the trades; those are all part of the game. Unfortunately, it happened. But I've moved on. I've got nothing but good respect for the guys that I've coached and I'm looking forward to creating that same atmosphere here with our group of players."

The Wizards are happy to have Brooks and they seem to have completely bought in to his message. Just look at this play in Wednesday's win over the Raptors and how well the offense moved:

As Beal said earlier this season about Brooks and the Wizards: "our flow is awesome." Indeed.

[RELATED: Why Wizards chose to waive House and keep Burke after Jennings signing]

Eastern Conference standings

Stat line of the week: Bradley Beal 2/24 at Sixers - 40 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, 15-for-25 FG, 8-for-10 FT

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards guard Brandon Jennings]

Quote of the Week

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Schedule at a glance

Mon. - OFF
Tue. - 112-108 win vs. Warriors
Wed. - 105-96 win at Raptors
Thu. - OFF
Fri. - 7 p.m. vs. Raptors
Sat. - OFF
Sun. - 5 p.m. vs. Magic

[RELATED: Barkley and Shaq say John Wall is East's best point guard]

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' Game 6 win over Hawks behind John Wall's huge night

5 must-see moments from Wizards' Game 6 win over Hawks behind John Wall's huge night

Here are five plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 115-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of their first round playoff series that are worth revisting...

1. John Wall had the best playoff game of his career on Friday night, a 42-point masterpiece that included eight assists, four steals and two blocks. He had 19 points in the fourth quarter alone and made sure that the Wizards would not be returning home for a Game 7.

Wall got started early with this emphatic dunk. It was one of many amazing left-handed slams he has had this series:

2. Dwight Howard didn't look good there and neither did he on this play. Howard got Jason Smith twice in the face with his eblow and somehow the refs deemed it not a flagrant foul:

3. That was contentious, but nothing like what happened just minutes later. Bradley Beal was undercut on a fastbreak dunk by Kent Bazemore and both teams got into it:

4. Wall made his mark in the fourth quarter when he completely took over the game and ensured the Wizards would be moving on to the second round. He had 19 points in the frame, but also this chasedown block which may be the best of his career considering the stakes:

5. On this play, Wall made a difficult move to split two defenders, then finished despite contact with Howard. The athleticism required to make this play is off the charts:

Here's an honorable mention. Once the game was in hand, Wall gave a little wave to the crowd to tell them the series was over:

On to Boston where the Wizards have a quick turnaround with Game 1 on Sunday at 1 p.m. CSN will have pregame coverage beginning at 12 p.m. with Wizards Gametime.

[RELATED: FOUL ON BEAL SPARKS CONFRONTATION BETWEEN WIZARDS AND HAWKS]

 

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Morning tip: Keys to look for in Wizards-Celtics semifinal series

Morning tip: Keys to look for in Wizards-Celtics semifinal series

ATLANTA -- The long-awaited series between the Wizards and Boston Celtics is here, and it begins Sunday at TD Garden. They don't like each other in the regular season and that animosity is likely to reach new heights in the semifinals.

For the Wizards to upset the No. 1 seed, this is what has to happen:

-- Isaiah Thomas makes them go. During the regular season coach Scott Brooks deployed Kelly Oubre on him and it worked. He's more athletic than the 5-9 guard and has a 7-2 wingspan. The film study for reference.

-- Al Horford isn't a true center. He's a power forward who is undersized against true centers like Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi. It's unclear when Mahinmi will be available after a left calf strain but Brooks told CSNmidatlantic.om early Friday if there was a Game 7 vs. the Hawks, which would've been Sunday, he wouldn't be able to play. Game 1 vs. Boston is Sunday.

-- Avery Bradley is one of the NBA's best defending backcourt players. He's fast, physical and strong on the ball. Bradley Beal will have his work cut out for him just to catch the ball cleanly. Bradley will try to deny him and will be aggressive over screens which means the seams for Beal will be backdoor and selling his moves to the arc and getting into the paint to breakdown the defense. The Celtics don't have true rim protection.

-- The second unit for the Celtics doesn't blow anyone away but Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier can get hot. They share the ball and allowing them to freely move the ball to step into open looks will make decent players look better than they actually are. 

[RELATED: Wall and Beal can't stop grinning talk about 73-point game]

-- It's hard to imagine that the Celtics will go with Amir Johnson vs. Markieff Morris for any prolonged period of time -- he lasted four minutes before coach Brad Stevens yanked him from one game -- but if that happens that's a major mismatch that has to be manipulated at every turn. 

-- The Celtics can't hide Thomas defensively. John Wall and Beal can and have posted him for easy buckets or force help that opens other teammates for clean looks. If they try to hide him vs. Porter who is 6-8 that's a near 50% three-point shooter. Thomas has to be forced to defend every possession on the court, unlike when the Chicago Bulls let him off the hook in Game 4. They allowed Thomas to be protected by defending the 6-foor-8 Paul Zipser who wasn't involved in any of the action. 

-- Morris did a great job keeping his hands to himself in Game 6 vs. Atlanta. He has to repeat it for the playoffs. Getting cheap reach-ins is the biggest weakness in his game and he has to realize he doesn't have to get a block or steal every possession. Sometimes he has to have restraint and make sure he's available for the fourth quarter. 

-- The Wizards had 17 turnovers, seven by Wall, on Friday. The Celtics' transtion game which features a lot of trail threes is fueled by such givewaways. 

-- Gortat will get the post touches vs. Horford that he didn't get vs. Dwight Howard. The Wizards will go to him to start quarters to get him involved since Horford can't keep him off the low block. Can Gortat hit the shots? If he can, that alone changes the tone of the series because Horford can't bang with him down low for an entire game.

-- Defending the high post action. Horford initates most of it with dribble pitches and handoffs as the Celtics do a lot of split action to confuse the defense with their movement. Horford averaged 5.0 assists in the regular season which led post players. Not allowing him the room or space to do what he wants with the ball is a significant factor. Gortat hasn't always been consistent with ball pressure this far from the rim. That has to change. And the wings have to do their best to blow up the handoffs.

-- Because of their size problem, the Celtics will have issues rebounding. This is where Mahinmi gives the Wizards that second big to give them headaches on the boards but until he returns Gortat, Morris and Jason Smith should be enough. Thomas has no business getting tip-ins like he did in their last regular-season game won by Boston. If that happens, bad sign. 

[RELATED: Things get emotional after Chenier's last game in the booth]