The Wizards are just 5-28 on the season, but two of those five wins have come against the teams who met in the NBA Finals last June.
Washington already beat the Heat earlier this season, and thanks to Bradley Beal’s heroics with less than a second remaining on Monday, the Wizards were able to come away with the win over the Thunder, as well.
So, how does this happen? Russell Westbrook going 4-of-17 from the field certainly doesn’t help, but the biggest issue was the Thunder letting the Wizards hang around all game long and build enough confidence to maintain down the stretch when OKC finally decided to make its run.
The Wizards held the Thunder without a field goal from the 6:13 mark of the third until Serge Ibaka’s jumper with 7:33 to go in the game broke the spell. By that time, however, Washington was up double-digits, and OKC was forced to fight its way back the rest of the way.
The final shot by Beal was incredible, because it wasn’t your standard open look at a clean jumper or a legitimate drive to the basket. Instead, Beal was able to pump-fake his defender from 20 feet out, before leaning in with the one-handed shot that ultimately went down to seal it for the Wizards.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.