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Grading John Wall's play for 2014-15 season

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Grading John Wall's play for 2014-15 season

After a fast start, John Wall slowed down by midseason as he persevered through soreness in his right knee and two bad ankles. He was arguably the best performer in the NBA in the postseason through the first round of the playoffs until he broke his left wrist in Game 1 of a second-round series with the Atlanta Hawks.

The stats: 17.6 points, 10.0 assists (career high), 4.6 rebounds (career high), 44.5% shooting (career high).

The accolades: An All-Star starter for the first time and second team All-NBA Defense.

The slights: Excluded from all three All-NBA teams for Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), who was his All-Star backup.

The improvements: Look no further than his pull-up jump shot which he made at a higher accuracy than LeBron James, Jeff Teague, DeMar DeRozan and Monta Ellis. And Wall has gotten more comfortable driving left and pulling up instead of just at the right elbow. Another area he vastly improved was using floaters (they didn’t look pretty early in the season) and posting up smaller guards. He got away from the latter after the All-Star break but as the stakes got higher with the playoffs Wall played even better. In the last two games vs. Atlanta, he averaged 17.5 points and 10.0 assists –- with one good hand.

The ranking: Among NBA point guards, there was none better in the postseason. Irving, Kyle Lowry, Teague and Derrick Rose all took a back seat. Only league MVP Stephen Curry was on par with Wall. Going into next season, there’s no one in the East who should be slotted ahead of him. The West, however, remains deep with Chris Paul, Curry and Russell Westbrook.  But Wall should be among the first names mentioned in that group and not just an afterthought. 

The next step: Wall’s defense was strong early but when his health waned so did his focus on this end. He pulled it back together in time for the postseason where he was phenomenal on both ends as he merged offensive pace with defensive ball pressure.  What separates Wall from the likes of Paul, Curry and Westbrook is three-point shooting. If he’s able to add this wrinkle to his game in a league that thrives on stretch shooting ability, he could rocket himself to the top of the class. Despite taking fewer attempts than the previous year, Wall regressed from 35% to 30%. 

2014-15 grade: A.

2015-16 outlook: A third consecutive All-Star appearance, an All-Defensive team and All-NBA team selection.

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

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USA Today Sports Images

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:

GAME 4: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS

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.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS