Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

No surprise, the Wizards are open for firesale business. Everything but Wall must go.

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That the Wizards are terrible should not surprise you. A terrible team looking to change its personnel should not surprise you. But when any team declares itself completely open for business outside of one player, yeah, that’s worth at least a look. From the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:

 

So as bad as the Wizards are, there are players worth pursuing. JaVale McGee can be a blockhead, but he’s also an extremely talented athletic center with upside. Chris Singleton is a gifted wing defender. Jan Vesely is raw but shows a world of potential to make an impact all over the floor. Nick Young is a sharpshooter. And Trevor Booker is an extremely underrated big man who attacks the ball like a bulldog.

It’s good that the Wizards recognize the problem that Andray Blatche gives them considering his contract, and that they’re open for business. They’re not pursuing trades for everyone, they’re just making it known. Even if they take a loss on a deal, who cares? They need to clean house, by any means available, and being willing to take on a little blood loss to do so is worth it. They can’t squander John Wall’s career any more.

The Wizards do have to be careful, though. Moving Blatche and taking on more long-term contracts (for say, Stephen Jackson) only digs them a different kind of hole. Moving Blatche for nothing is fine. Moving Blatche for something worse is unacceptable.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.