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Film study: This is what defensive IQ and effort look like for Wizards

Film study: This is what defensive IQ and effort look like for Wizards

The three three-point shots from John Wall put the Philadelphia 76ers to bed in the third quarter before it was official 109-93 on Saturday. The type of defensive effort they lacked in the first half, however, was there and it's how the outcome turned. 

When teams such as the Chicago Bulls open a game making 8 of 10 threes, or the Boston Celtics 8 of 11, that second or third effort to recover to shooters is absent. But it was a different story in the second half last night.

These are all defensive plays to show the difference in how contesting shooters can/will alter the accuracy more often than not. It wasn't one player for the Wizards. It was Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat making the wise decisions on when to and when not to fight over screens, anticipate and contest. 

The Sixers shot 50% in the first half en route to 56 points. They shot 33% in the second half for 37 points. 


Make no mistake about Jahlil Okafor. He got his with 26 points on 16 shots. But the problem is he does it to the detriment of his own teammates, often becoming a black hole when he gets the ball anywhere near the paint and killing the ball movement. When the Sixers gave the Wizards difficulty, they were cutting, slicing and using weakside screen action to free scorers. Here, Gortat gets him taking the most difficult shot possible and forcing Okafor to step back:

This is a 2-for-1. Beal goes under Okafor's screen to free Nik Stauskas, taking away the paint for a drive but still being close enough to contest if he decides to pull up from three.

Wall plays soft on T.J. McConnell, who'd prefer to attack the rim rather than pull up. He makes him take the shot he'd least want to take (disregard the error in my tweet, there was no screen) and is able to contest like Beal in the previous example. 

The biggest weakness in Morris' game is his motor, being consistent in his second efforts to get through screens to contest. Ersan Ilyasova, who had 18 points in the first half, didn't score in the second half. He shot 0-for-4. Morris fought off a moving screen by Okafor that wasn't called to contest anyway.

This quick and simple contest by Porter doesn't seem like much but it is. He seeks out the shooter trailing in transtion, the most dangerous option when the rim is closed off. The Wizards did a poor job of this on Stauskas in the first meeting when he shot 6-for-8. He finished 1-for-9, including 0-for-7 from three. 

MORE WIZARDS: By the numbers: Wizards' home streak reaches 11

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Time to get even

After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.

With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.

Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006. 

How will Raptors respond?

Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.

Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.

It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.

Playoff Beal

The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.

The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.

The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.

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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making plays and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.