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Top Stories of the Week: Wizards start long road trip, Oubre’s rise, and All-Star returns

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re now entering the second half of the regular season and the second half of January. So let’s get to it.

The Wizards are still 5th in the Eastern Conference

Last Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Wizards, like most seasons in recent memory, hosted a matinee. They got to host the Bucks and lost 104-95 after leading early in that one. It was a de ja vu of their January 6 match which made things even more disappointing.

Then on Wednesday, the Wizards started a five game road trip. They kicked it off with a big loss to the Hornets 133-109. They allowed Charlotte to score a franchise record 77 points in the first half. That’s ... bad.

Scott Brooks wasn’t happy at all, promising changes for the next game.

Most would expect a change in the starting lineup, but that didn’t happen when Washington played the Pistons on Friday. They beat them 122-112, but the Wizards started about as cold as they were in the Hornets game. But thanks to small ball and Kelly Oubre, things went the other way.

The Wizards are now 26-20 and are still fifth in the East. As of Saturday, they were two games ahead of the Bucks, and just half a game behind the Heat for the fourth seed.

Kelly Ooooooooooobre!

The Wizards’ 2015 first round pick (via the Atlanta Hawks) has blossomed into a very potent sixth man for the Wizards. The season has been disappointing given the preseason hype, but Kelly Oubre has been excellent. Osman Baig went into detail on that last Friday. Also, Oubre’s performance in the Detroit game was a career night as he scored 26 points and helped close the game out.

And that’s not all! Oubre, as you all are likely aware, is an artsy guy with his wardrobe. He also has a partnership with the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington. It’s not just a photo op. He even participates in music, art, and dance!

The All-Star voting results weren’t good

John Wall and Bradley Beal finished fifth and sixth in the final All-Star starting lineup voting, which includes a player vote (25 percent) and media vote (25 percent). Fan voting only counts for half of the weight, or score used to determine things. They finished worse in the fan voting than the media and player vote, but it wasn’t enough for either to start the game. We’ll find out whether Wall and/or Beal make the All-Star Game as reserves next Thursday.

No other Wizards player came close, so I’ll just leave it at that.

And more links

And that’s all I have for the week. If there’s another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so as a comment. And if you have a longer take, please feel welcome to write a FanPost.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!