Kelly Oubre

Rob Carr/Getty Images

John Wall: Bench was Wizards’ ‘downfall’


John Wall left the Wizards’ season-ending loss to the Celtics talking about how badly Washington’s bench got outscored.

Now that he has time to reflect and isn’t just speaking with raw emotion shortly after a devastating loss, how does he feel?

Wall, via CSN Mid-Atlantic

“We need to help our bench,” Wall told CSN’s Chris Miller. “Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played.”

It starts from upstairs – just building the right bench guys and building the chemistry. That’s all it is.

I think that’s where they won the game at. I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs. He’s basically right. I don’t make excuses. I’m going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I’ll live with it. I know people will say he finished oh for 11, but I play – I took everything I had in me to keep fighting.

It’s just that their bench guys came in and played well. I think Kelly Oubre could’ve played a little bit more. I wish he would’ve played a little more and Jason. But coach makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent. I feel like those two guys could have really helped us.

Wall – eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension but reportedly unsure about signing one – is clearly telling the Wizards what he wants. Marcin Gortat similarly criticized Washington’s bench earlier in the season, and he apologized. Wall has the leverage not to stand by his assessment.

Both Wall and Gortat were right. The Wizards’ bench was the source of much of their problems.

Washington’s starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Its bench (all other lineups) got outscored 15.5 points per 100 possessions.

Only the Thunder had a similar split in net rating:


The Wizards knew their flaw and tried to hide it. Washington’s starters played 34.2 minutes per game together in the postseason – second only to the Pacers (34.5). Wall’s heavy workload contributed to him running out of gas late in Game 7 against Boston, which Marcus Smart noted.

What can the Wizards do to upgrade their bench? Spend.

They sound committed to keeping Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this summer. But that would push them near the luxury tax – so they could scrimp on the bench in a variety of ways:

  • Don’t re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic, another restricted free agent. He’s in line for a raise.
  • Trade Marcin Gortat, elevating Ian Mahinmi into the starting lineup and therefore weakening the bench.
  • Trade Jason Smith, who might be expendable at his salary but at least still provides depth.
  • Don’t use the mid-level exception. That’s Washington’s best mechanism for adding outside help, but it’d be costly.

Will the Wizards take any of those cost-saving measures? Wall is certainly watching.

NBA: Celtics should have had another second on final play in Game 6


Would it have made a difference? We’ll never know.

But the NBA’s official Last Two Minute Report on the officiating from Game 6 confirmed what a lot of us saw — a full second ran off the clock before the final play and it was not noticed by the referees.

After John Wall‘s deep three that proved to be the game winner, the Celtics called a timeout to advance the ball and allow Brad Stevens to draw up a sideline out-of-bounds play. Boston’s Jae Crowder ran along the baseline toward inbounder Al Horford and got a screen from Kelly Olynyk, which the Wizards switched, leaving Kelly Oubre on Olynyk, a size and strength mismatch in Boston’s favor. Horford tried to inbound the ball deep to Olynyk and Oubre wisely fouled him. It was the Wizards foul to give (it did not put Boston in the penalty).

But watch the video of that play — the official calls the foul with 2.7 seconds left, but the clock runs another full second before it stops.

Here is what the NBA’s report said.

The foul is whistled with approximately 2.7 seconds on the clock, but the clock runs to 1.7 seconds before stopping. The clock should have been stopped earlier automatically on the whistle or by the neutral clock operator. Instant replay is not permitted in this situation.

Replay may not be allowed, but usually the referees notice, confer, and put some time back on the clock. They missed it on this play.

But before Boston fans try to say they were screwed by the officials, the report calls out one other missed call that went in the Celtics favor and led to a bucket.

With 41.2 seconds left and the score tied at 87-87, Boston runs a sidelines out-of-bounds play that has Avery Bradley starting on the left block area, run up and around a screen by Horford at the right elbow, then into the right corner where he got a pass and drained a long two. Except look at the screen by Horford on Bradley Beal — it was not legal. From the report:

Horford (BOS) establishes a wide screening position and extends his arms into Beal (WAS), delivering the contact.

So it all balances out in the end.

Game 7 between these teams is Monday night.

Kelly Oubre is ready to be booed in Boston

Getty Images
1 Comment

There are a lot of questions heading into Game 5 between the Wizards and Celtics Wednesday night, ones that could determine the fate of this series. Can Isaiah Thomas get back on track at home and lift his team up? Can the Wizards bench stop blowing leads? Can the Wizards slow the Celtics from three (Boston is +57)? Can the Celtics slow the Wizards in the paint (Washington is +56)?

We don’t know the answers to any of that.

We do know one thing for sure about Game 5 — Kelly Oubre is going to get booed. Mercilessly.

He was suspended for Game 4 after running from halfcourt to shove Kelly Olynyk to the ground after a hard screen by the Celtics big man, one of several Oubre thought was aimed above the neck. He’s back for Game 5 in Boston and we all know what’s coming. He told Candace Buckner of the Washington Post he was ready for it.

“I’m happy to be in the situation, honestly. I’m 21 years old and people are going to be — how many people fit in here?” Oubre inquired as he looked around the arena where green shirts covered 18,624 seats.

“A lot of people are going to be booing me tonight,” Oubre said, beaming. “They know who I am, so it’s definitely a blessing so we got to go out here and get this big win tonight.”

Oubre played his college ball at Kansas, and he said playing there taught him about being booed by opposing fans, via J. Michael of

“Kansas State is the worst,” said Oubre, who went to the University of Kansas before being drafted in the first round in 2015. “They got a whole student section that hates your guys. They want you dead.”

Oubre matters because he’s part of that Wizards bench that has been inconsistent this series, although most of that has been an issue in the backcourt. Brandon Jennings has been outplayed by the Celtics. That said, Oubre will draw some time on Isaiah Thomas as a defender — and that will mean some Olynyk picks in his path.

These teams dislike each other like few in the playoffs, which has made this series — and will make Game 5 — all the more fun.

Draymond Green on Kelly Olynyk: ‘Dirty player. Man, I don’t respect guys like that’

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, who set an infuriatingly high screen on Kelly Oubre and dislocated Kevin Love‘s elbow, said he’s not a dirty player.

Draymond Green disagrees.

Green on the Dray Day podcast:

Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player. You do little stuff dirty, and then you want to take a charge on something? Come on, man. Oubre ain’t hit him that hard. Nor should he have been suspended. Y’all already kicked him out of the game. So essentially he’s getting a game-and-a-half suspension for that?

Olynyk caught him in the face, in the neck, with a couple elbows. And that’s what I don’t understand. You let people get away with stuff and then finally when somebody reacts you penalize that guy. But you’re not going to penalize him for continuing to elbow this guy in the face? I don’t get that.

He’s dirty. Dirty player. Man, I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not like the greatest basketball player of all-time so maybe you feel like you’ve got to do that. But – just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He dirty.

There’s a big difference between knowing all the tricks because knowing all the tricks ain’t doing stuff to hurt people. Like, come on, you really yanked this dude’s shoulder out of place. I don’t roll with that. He just — dude’s dirty. Veteran tricks is grabbing an arm so a guy can’t get there to block the shot or passing the ball and cutting somebody off so they can’t get there to contest, just stuff like that. But you ain’t doing nothing to hurt nobody. This dude be out there trying to hurt people. I don’t rock with bruh like that.

I don’t know whether Olynyk is dirty or reckless, but at a certain point, what’s the difference? He doesn’t take the proper care to ensure he’s not injuring his opponents.

But Green isn’t sparking a deep discussion of whether Olynyk is dirty. The Warriors star is just generating a bunch of pot-calling-the-kettle-black retorts.

Kelly Oubre suspended for Game 4 after shoving Kelly Olynyk to ground


It was obvious this was coming.

Boston’s Kelly Olynyk has played hard, set illegal screens, and has even taken some cheap shots on Kelly Oubre and other Wizards all series long, but if you get up and sprint halfway across the court to shove a guy to the ground, you are going to get suspended in the NBA. That’s not really up for debate. And that’s what Oubre did in the second quarter of Game 3.

So the suspension is happening. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news.

The league has since confirmed it, saying the suspension was for “making forceful and unwarranted contact with Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk.” There was no fine for Olynyk for the screen he set that was the final straw for Oubre.

This is a blow to the Wizards bench, which has already been thin and inconsistent this series. Oubre gave the Wizards a long defender who could switch onto Isaiah Thomas and give the little guard trouble (as much as anyone is able to once he gets going). Expect more Tomas Satoransky and/or Sheldon McClellan off the bench, but the leash will be short for them and coach Scott Brooks may be forced to lean more heavily on his starters.

This has been a physical, chippy series between Boston and Washington teams that simply do not like each other — and that is good. Some real bad blood makes the playoffs far more entertaining to watch, and the last game had eight technicals and three ejections. That said, players cannot lose their cool — Oubre lost his head for a second and he will hurt his team in Game 4 by his absence. Players try to get under each other’s skin, Oubre lost when he let Olynyk in.