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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Hornets in one of worst shooting performances of season

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Hornets in one of worst shooting performances of season

Neither team played well enough to win, but the Charlotte Hornets converted enough easy looks to regain the lead after halftime and close out 96-93 over the Wizards on Saturday night.

Cody Zeller (19 points, five rebounds, four steals) and Frank Kaminsky (14 points) led Charlotte to its first victory in the series this.  

The Wizards (42-27) were led by John Wall (19 points, eight assists), Bradley Beal (18 points), Bojan Bogdanovic (12 points) and Otto Porter (16 points) but they couldn’t generate enough offense to win their sixth consecutive set of back-to-back games.

A jumper by Kemba Walker (16 points) put Charlotte ahead 84-77 late in the fourth to stop any hopes of a comeback.

The Wizards had won 12 of their last 16 road games until losing this one.

– This will go down as one of the Wizards’ worst offensive showings of the season. They shot 29 for 78 from the floor, or 36.7%, including 11 for 32 from 3 (33.3%).

– The second unit extended a 20-19 first-quarter lead to 29-21. All five players used by coach Scott Brooks were reserves, with Brandon Jennings, Tomas Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Bogdanovic and Ian Mahinmi. Kaminsky, however, took advantage of his matchup with Mahinmi late to get Charlotte the separation needed. A three-point shooting big, he was 0-for-9 in the first three quarters but shot 4-for-5 in the fourth to close out the game which drew the Wizards' best post defender away from the rim. 

– Oubre continued to surge and has posted solid back-to-back games for the first time in about a month. He hounded Walker on handoffs and denied him the ball. During the second-quarter stretch when the Wizards took their largest lead, Oubre forced Walker into forcing a shot that barely struck iron and drew a charge on the next possession on Nicolas Batum (eight points, 10 rebounds). His 6-7 frame and 7-2 wingspan can be problematic for smaller guards like Walker as they can’t get clean looks if he’s disciplined in his coverage.

– Wall picked up a technical foul for the second game in a row that’ll cost him $4,000. More importantly, it’s his 14th of the season. He allowed one more until Wall faces an automatic one-game suspension. This one game after a foul was called on Kaminsky on Wall’s drive. He drew the whistle but for some reason continued jawing with Kaminsky. Both players drew double technicals. 

--Jason Smith (eight points, four rebounds, three blocks) made his second consecutive start with Markieff Morris (illness) out. He played 27 minutes and although his offensive output was modest Smith's defensive coverage contributed to a much better start. 

MORE WIZARDS: ​Panda slam! Beal throws it down against Hornets

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Brandon Jennings explains his 'John with the shades' MVP case for Wall to CSN

Brandon Jennings explains his 'John with the shades' MVP case for Wall to CSN

For as much that was made about the history of bad blood between Brandon Jennings and the Wizards, it sure didn't take him long to fit in and get along with his teammates after signing a free agent deal with Washington on March 1.

Less than a week later he was standing up for those teammates in Phoenix in a confrontation with the Suns. And four weeks after that he was in the middle of a spat with the Warriors with his teammates backing him up.

But if anyone needed it in writing that Jennings was getting along with the Wizards and John Wall, a guy who he was not cool with for years, that came on April 11 when on theplayerstribune.com he penned a letter making the case for Wall to win MVP.

The letter was long and insightful and it made public an excellent nickname for Wall: John with the shades. 

Recently, Jennings sat down with CSN to read excerpts from his letter and explain why Wall should be the MVP. Hear him out in the video above.

[RELATED: Hawks' player got away with a blatant travel against Wizards in Game 3]

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Morning tip: Defense dominates Wizards' preparations for Game 4 vs. Hawks

Morning tip: Defense dominates Wizards' preparations for Game 4 vs. Hawks

ATLANTA -- The Wizards can take solace in that they haven't played anywhere near their best game and lead the series with the Atlanta Hawks, but tonight can make or break either team. The emphasis has been on defense going into Game 4, an area where Bradley Beal has prospered individually but slacked off team-wise.

"I feel like if I'm not going to shoot the ball, you're not going to shoot the ball," Beal said of his matchup with Tim Hardaway, who he has held to 10-for-34 shooting. "That's been my mind-set. I can't solely focus on him because my helpside defense hasn't been good because of that mindset of mine. I got to get out that selfish mentality. Get back to playing team ball."

Beal is hardly the only one to slip. John Wall and Brandon Jennings couldn't keep the ball out of the paint in their individual matchups. Dennis Schroder, who is not knowing for his stroke from distance, started 6-for-8 from the field.

It debilitated into a one-man show with Wall dropping a game-high 29 points. It wasn't until Beal had four points in the fourth quarter that he joined him in double figures. No other started reached that level, with Markieff Morris, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat combining to shoot 8-for-25 en route to a 116-98 loss.

"We didn't have that same urgency we had the first two games. Give them credit they outplayed us," said coach Scott Brooks. " That first quarter they had a lot of good shots. We gave them a lot of good opporutnities to have a lot of good shots. We gave up a lot of easy shots that first quarter. Thirty-eight points. You can have a bad shooting start but you shouldn't be down nearly 20 points if you have the defensive mentality we have to have to win a playoff series."

Sunday, the Wizards didn't delve too deep into the film. After about 90 minutes of practice time, they sat down with the coaching staff to revisit what took place. The Hawks scored 60 points in the paint but didn't do anything special to knock them off their game. They missed open looks and allowed it to affect them on the other end. 

"We watched the first six or seven minutes of the game. There were no complaints about our offense," Brooks said. "We had a lot of pretty good looks. I can't complain about that. What I can complain about is the defense we had. We gave them a lot of opportunties in transition. We fouled. And ones, open threes, I think they got eight layups in that first quarter."

The Wizards weren't in the passing lanes. They didn't force the Hawks out of the operational zone in front of the basket, failing to deny passing lanes aggressively and disrupt the motion offense. They failed to cover the pick-and-roll properly, with Beal being among the biggest culprits when it comes to rotating to help stop Dwight Howard's dives. 

"We do want to do a better job of guarding the ball. Not just him," Brooks said of Wall's matchup with Schroder. "The ball was loose the entire first quarter with all of their players. It's not just John. The ball was very comfortable, let's just say that."

Otto Porter had to leave the game in the second half with a stinger in his neck that came after a collision. He should be OK to start tonight.

"It's just mind-set. Everybody has to be on the same string," Porter said. "Sticking to our game plan defensively, just coming out and playing hard."