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Wizards start trip with overtime win as Dwight Howard hangs back East to shape up

Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 1 25-124 overtime win in Portland on Monday night. (Craig Mitchelldyer /…

Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards’ 1

25-124 overtime win in Portland on Monday night. (Craig Mitchelldyer / AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. – As the Washington Wizards move forward to the nonstop beat of an NBA schedule, Dwight Howard is still playing catch up.

Howard, 32, did not travel with the team for his longest road trip of the season and remained in Washington to continued his solo efforts in getting into playing shape after an injury the team described as “gluteal soreness.”

On Monday, ahead of the Wizards’ first of five road games against Western Conference opponents, Coach Scott Brooks did not completely rule out Howard for the whole trip, which ends Oct. 30 against the Memphis Grizzlies, but indicated that Howard would miss the majority of the upcoming games because he requires additional workouts.

“We made that decision, because he needs some better court time, better conditioning,” Brooks said. ‘re gaan in verschillende steden, ongeveer elke andere dag, op vliegtuigen en bussen. Og alle praksis er ikke til stede. Going to be a couple of optional practices. So we just feel that, at this point, we had a coach, had a medical staff member stay back with him to get a lot of good work in. “

Without Howard, the Wizards played in their third consecutive close game to start the season. This time, Washington survived to celebrate its first win, a thrilling 125-124 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

John Wall made only five shots in the game but banked in the difference-making jumper with 9.4 seconds remaining. Although Wall missed two late free throws that gave Portland one last opportunity, Otto Porter Jr. smacked away Damian Lillard’s final drive to the rim. Selv om du spilte uden en stor mand gennem meget af spillet, blev Wizards samlet syv blokke. Bradley Beal, who scored 25 points, saved regulation with a last-second block at the buzzer.

Markieff Morris, who filled in at the center in place of an ailing Ian Mahinmi, scored 28 points with a career-high six three pointers and also pulled down nine rebounds.

Before the trip, the team had planned for Howard to travel on the 10-day journey. The reverse decision reveals just how much Howard’s injury has affected his readiness for the season.

Howard entered training camp with the knowledge that he would put out some practices due to back soreness. Over time, a hip specialist in New York City specified the pain as an issue stemming from a piriformis muscle. Howard missed all five pre-season games.

Although Howard returned to the practice court during the week of the NBA season openers and Morris believed he would play at least some against the Miami Heat last Thursday, he was placed on the inactive list. On Saturday, Howard was once again subjected to the weight room while the Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors.

“More than likely, out of the next game or two. I do not know after that. Maybe the whole trip, “said Brooks, estimating how much longer Howard will sit out. “Everything’s up in the air. We’re going to obviously be in communication with Dwight and our coaches and staff member there. . . og vi kommer til å ta disse beslutene som denne road trip går sammen. Men akkurat nu, vi bare føler at det er best for ham å få mye godt arbeid der og konsekvent arbeid. “

Last week, Howard spent time practicing with the starters. But the lack of on-court bonding and missing a potentially pivotal road trip has impacted Howard’s attempt to fully integrate with his new teammates after signing in Washington in July.

“It’s like, yeah, it’s hard to miss it. I could speak for myself because I was hurt my first year here “Said Mahinmi, who left Monday’s game with back soreness, in describing how an extended absence can be problematic for a player new to a team.” It’s hard to miss the beginning when you’re just brand new to a team but at the same time, it’s 82 games. It’s plenty of time. Plenty of games to figure stuff out. So, can not really overthink that. “The absence affects more than just Howard’s chemistry with teammates, it also hinde rs the wizards from realizing their complete lineup amid a challenging stretch.

Washington improved to 1-2 after Monday’s matchup against the Trail Blazers, a playoff team last season, and will move on to face the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Still, Brooks believes Howard’s conditioning should take precedence over rushing him into the lineup.

Still, Brooks believes that Howard’s conditioning should take precedence over rushing him into the lineup.

The early season test continues with road games against the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and the Grizzlies. “There’s no pressure on us just because we’re starting the season 0-2,” Brooks sagde mandag eftermiddag før matchup. “We are a couple of plays from being 2-0 so it’s not like we need him right now. Det er sant for alle, for når han kommer tilbake, vi vil at han skal være på sitt beste og gi oss den beste effekten, og den beste verdien til vårt team er det han bringer. He’s an athletic big who can defend the paint and get rebounds. “

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