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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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Scott Brooks outlines one area of Wizards' offense that can improve this offseason

Scott Brooks outlines one area of Wizards' offense that can improve this offseason

Improving on offense next season from the last will not be easy for the Washington Wizards after the strides they made during their 2016-17 campaign. They were just that good.

In their first season under head coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards put up some serious offensive numbers. Here is a sample of where they ranked in the NBA:

109.2 PPG, 5th
111.2 Off. Rtg., 7th
47.5 FG%, 3rd
52.8 eFG%, 6th
41.3 FG/G, 2nd
87 FGA/G, 10th
23.9 AST/G, 6th
37.2 3PT%, 8th

The Wizards scored more points per game than any of the teams Brooks previously coached in Oklahoma City. Consider some of the Thunder teams he had with Russell Westbrook, who was first in the NBA in scoring this season, James Harden (2nd) and Kevin Durant (12th), and that is quite impressive. The Wizards at one point this year scored 100 points or more in 23 straight games and none of his OKC teams did that, either.

[RELATED: Top free agent shooting guards who could help Wizards, Beal]

All but one of those above categories, assists per game, marked an improvement for Washington from the season before. Not listed, though, are two major outliers. Despite ranking eighth in three-point percentage, the Wizards were just 16th in three-point makes and 20th in attempts. Those are things Brooks would like to see change in 2017-18.

"Our three-point shooting, I would like to make a few more," Brooks said. "Those are things that [GM] Ernie [Grunfeld] and I will discuss this offseason continues. We will figure out ways to improve our team."

The Wizards could improve on those categories from within, if Otto Porter re-signs and shoots more often and others like Markieff Morris, John Wall, Jason Smith and Kelly Oubre, Jr. continue to become more accurate. If they bring back Bojan Bogdanovic, the potential will certainly be there to rain threes with the best of them.

But clearly the Wizards will make at least some changes to their roster.

"I know that we will add pieces. Like every team and every year, you try to get better. You try to figure out how you can get better," Brooks said.

The most likely spot to make a change is at backup guard where they could use help behind Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards had Brandon Jennings as their primary backup during the playoffs and he was not a threat from three.

If three-point shooting is a big priority as they search for reserve guards, that would help the cause for guys like Patty Mills, Ian Clark and J.J. Reddick in free agency. The Wizards do have one draft pick, the 52nd overall selection in the second round, but it's highly unlikely they find a readymade three-point threat that late in the draft.

The Wizards were good at shooting threes in 2016-17, but clearly Brooks would like to see them take another step.

[RELATED: Top free agent point guards who could help Wizards, Wall]

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Lonzo Ball turns down offer to work out for Celtics, signaling he only wants to play for the Lakers

Lonzo Ball turns down offer to work out for Celtics, signaling he only wants to play for the Lakers

As soon as the Lakers drew the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it was logical to connect the dots to Lonzo Ball, currently considered by most as the second-best prospect in this year's class. Add in the fact he's from Anaheim, went to UCLA and already had his father saying he wanted his son to play for the Lakers, and it seemed like fate.

Now Ball wants to ensure that even further. According to Celtics front office boss Danny Ainge, Ball will not work out for Boston, who hold the No. 1 pick. The Celtics are currently projected to take Markelle Fultz out of the University of Washington, but they would definitely like to get a look at Ball before making the decision. Ball, though, won't let that happen.

Ainge broke the news on the Toucher and Rich show in Boston:

Players turn down workouts relatively often. Victor Oladipo opted not to work out for the Wizards in 2013, knowing they were set at the guard position with John Wall and Bradley Beal. But who says no to the No. 1 pick? Clearly, Ball is serious about playing for the Lake Show.

For more on the offseason, listen to our latest episode of the Wizards tipoff podcast:

[RELATED: Kevin Durant's legacy won't be secured with just one NBA title]