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Don Newman steps into lead role from Wizards' bench

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Don Newman steps into lead role from Wizards' bench

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Don Newman is in a difficult position, having to take over the head coaching duties for the Wizards while Randy Wittman is on leave for two games because of the death of his older brother. He has to find a way to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that routed them by 24 points earlier this season, on their home floor.

"The thing I'm thinking about is coming out here and doing what we want to do. We want to fly around with our defense," Newman said. "The offense, we want to move the ball and get the best shots we can."

When the Thunder (36-13) toyed with the Wizards (21-24) on Nov. 10, they didn't even need Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to be at a peak level. They combined to shoot 11 of 25. Durant pulled a muscle and didn't even play in the second half. Westbrook had a triple-double (22-11-11) in just 28 minutes.

The hammer was dropped by the role players like Dion Waiters (25 points) and Serge Ibaka (23 points). Now they're playing this game at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where they're 22-5.

"They shoot the ball and when they miss they go get it," Newman said. "I feel our guys are up to the test. They understand we got to get back. We got to go at them."

That's what the Wizards did in Saturday's comeback 123-122 win at the Houston Rockets. They trailed by six points late but overcame 40 points from James Harden and a spirited crowd at Toyota Center. That came after a players-only meeting called by Jared Dudley on Thursday. 

"When you're on the road and you get a win it's always good. That feeds it. I think our guys have fed on that," Newman said. "They're feeling good about themselves and they should."

That loss to the Thunder dropped the Wizards to 3-4, the first time they dipped below .500. They've had trouble getting back above it ever since.

"You can't look back at that. You got to understand it. Now you have another chance at it," Newman said. "I think we're going to do well."

A win would make the Wizards 1-1 vs. the Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Rockets.

MORE WIZARDS: Rockets interim coach rips referees after loss to Wizards

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

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!