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Beal, Wizards leave Vegas winners

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Beal, Wizards leave Vegas winners

When it comes to Las Vegas, the Wizards are a rarity: they leave town as winners.Washington closed out its summer league sessionwith a 3-2 record following a78-75 comeback win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. For their third straight time the Wizards finished with a winning summer league record.Trailing throughout the game and by double figures for stretches, the Wizards took advantage of a spate of Bucks' turnovers in third and eventually moved ahead 77-75on a pair of Chris Singleton free throws with 2:49 left. For the fourth time in five games, rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring, tallying 18 points while Shelvin Mack and Shavlik Randolph each scored 11. Singleton had 10, though the Wizards forward struggled on the other end covering fellow 2011 first rounder Tobias Harris. Jan Vesely rolled his ankle driving to the basket less than two minutes into the first quarter and did not return. After an off game against the Grizzlies on Tuesday, Beal returned to his crafty offensive ways. The rookie guard scored on dribble drives, floaters in the paint with some perimeter shots mixed in,hitting 7 of 13 from the field. The 6-foot-4 Beal also finished with six rebounds and two blocks. Once again Beal looked rather comfortable running the offense if needed, setting up teammates for scoring chanceswhile finding space in the Bucks defense for his own opportunities. During the draft process so much was made of his perimeter shooting, but in Las Vegas much of his offense came off the dribble and drives toward the rim. Playing with a distributing point guard like John Wall and with heady veterans like Nene will help provide better looks. Still, very nice to see Beal can create his own chances - and do so with professional sensibilities - if needed. Maybe everyone knew it was the last game, maybe the Bucks second half turnovers led directly to scoring opportunities, but the Wizards starting five finished with only three assists. Harris, selected No. 19 last season, one slot behind Singleton, led the Bucks (1-1) with 24 points, causing the Wizards forward fits with power moves and mid-range jumpers whil yanking down 12 rebounds. Bucks 2012 first round pick John Henson scored 20 in his summer league debut.. Facing a legitimate NBA frontcourt including former VCU center Larry Sanders and doing so without Vesely for essentially theentire game, the Wizards narrowly lost the rebounding battle (35-33). With 10 rebounds, Randolph finished with his second straight double-double. Tomas Satoransky played only six minutes, finishing with two points and two assists.Washington's part of theVegas on-court experiencemay be over, but more analysis on Beal, Singleton and the othersummer league Wizards to follow.For now, let us know what you thought of the Wizards going out on a high note and their overall play...Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

You would not have known it by John Wall's towering poster-dunks over Jonas Valanciunas and Jakob Poeltl in Game 4, or his fourth quarter takeover after Bradley Beal fouled out, but Wall is still technically working his way into midseason form from the left knee surgery that kept him out more than two months down the stretch of the regular season. Add into the equation that he sprained his right ankle in Game 3, then resprained it in Game 4 right after Beal went out, and it's quite clear that what he is doing is simply not normal. 

Throughout Wall's recovery, his head coach Scott Brooks remarked how Wall can regain his form unusually quick following an injury absence. Game 4 was just his eighth game back, yet through four playoff games he is averaging an absurd 26.8 points, 13.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.

If that's what he's doing eight games removed from recovery, and against the top team in the Eastern Conference, what does peak playoff form look like? 

"I told y'all, I told all the media that I only need like three or four games. I really didn't need too many games," he said. "All the hard work that I did in those two months was to prepare myself to be ready for the playoffs."

Wall said he started feeling like himself in his final regular season game, his fourth outing following the injury rehab. It was against the Celtics and he scored 29 points to go along with 12 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

"I just started to see shots fall down that I was falling short with a couple games before that," Wall said of that night.

Brooks saw a change in Wall against the Cavaliers on April 5, in just his third game back. That game Wall put up 28 points, 14 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Most importantly, he logged 38 minutes.

"I knew I was going to challenge his body with extra minutes," Brooks said. "The way he responded to that, I knew he was back."

Whenever the turning point happened, there is no looking back. Wall has found his groove to not only impact, but at times dominate playoff games against one of the best defensive teams in basketball.

In Game 4 once Beal went down, Wall looked like the best player on the court. He scored eight of the Wizards' final 14 points to seal the victory and did so on a bum ankle. He outshined both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, two All-Star guards.

Wall even played sound defense on DeRozan in big moments. DeRozan shot 10-for-29 in the game.

"I think I did a good job of contesting him," Wall said. "Just do whatever it takes to help this team win."

What Brooks predicted would happen has indeed played out. He has been with Wall for about two years now and knows what the star point guard is made of.

"I've been with him two years, he loves to play," Brooks said, noting there have been some tough conversations to convince him to come out of games.

Consider this: Wall has scored 20 points or more in six straight games, his longest streak of the 2017-18 season. He has actually reached 23 points or more in those six games, which is tied for the longest such streak of his entire career.

Through eight games overall and four games in the playoffs, Wall has reminded everyone of what the Wizards missed. Yes, they went 10-3 when he first went down with the injury in late January, but that was not sustainable.

They need Wall to reach their full potential as a team and especially in the postseason. Late-game situations like in Game 4, when Beal exited and it was tied with 4:58 to play, are when the superstars separate themselves.

Wall did that and now the Wizards are in good shape with the series at 2-2 and having won two straight.

"Blame everything on him," Brooks joked of the Wizards' up-and-down regular season. "If he wasn't hurt, we'd be better, right?"

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