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John Wall organizing Wizards minicamp -- for this week


John Wall organizing Wizards minicamp -- for this week

At 25, John Wall remains a young man, chronologically speaking. Yet in terms of the NBA, the Washington Wizards point guard is no longer a kid. The first pick in the 2010 draft is now entering his sixth season. Growing up isn't just about the passage of time, but revealing maturity. That's why he's in the process of taking on more responsibility well before the upcoming campaign.

Speaking with CSNwashington.com Saturday, Wall revealed he organized a minicamp for his teammates that begins Sunday in Los Angeles. He expects the group together through Wednesday.

"All the guys are going to come out," Wall stated.

His organizational skills don't stop there. The two-time All-Star also said he's encouraging players to arrive "two weeks early" for the team's official training camp next month.

"Now is my time," Wall explained. "I’m setting up all these things. Making sure guys are getting to training camp two weeks early. Make sure we’re playing pickup, getting into shape, doing those types of things. That’s what I’m willing to do and have some fun with it."

Wall returned to the area after spending a few days earlier this week in Las Vegas for a USA Basketball summit one year ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. He spent a chunk of Saturday at the FBR Branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Washington for the John Wall Family Foundation's second annual Back 2 School #2SQUAD.

Though his offseason began nursing his fractured left wrist, Wall copped to a "Heck of a summer" with more to come. (He reminded the reporter his 25th birthday is Sept. 6.). Most of all, Wall said he dedicated plenty of time simply to getting ready physically for the NBA grind.

"Just trying to get my body all the way healthy," Wall said. "Doing a lot of my stuff to get my legs stronger. Just preparing myself to take on a bigger role. I think going into my sixth year, this is the time to really take the biggest leap."

He and Bradley Beal form one of the league's top backcourts. Though the Wizards added some key perimeter pieces and have the makings of a deep roster, they'll ultimately go as far as their starting guards and Team USA hopefuls take them.  The last two seasons that meant the Eastern Conference semifinals after the franchise missed the playoffs five straight years.

"Going into a season healthy, that’s the biggest key for me. I think the only time I was really healthy was my rookie year and the lockout year. I understand what it takes to take care of my body. My chef has been with me in the summer. Just trying to enjoy myself, but work on my game and get better every day," Wall said.

Other nuggets from Wall:

* There wasn't a roll call to confirm if indeed the other 14 players were indeed headed to Los Angeles, but during the conversation Wall inferred Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries and Nene are expected.

* Southern California native Jared Dudley, who is recovering from back surgery, certainly won't be playing even if he shows up. However it sounds like the Wizards will have other big men shooting from deep. Wall said he's heard that the big Brazilian has been working on his 3-point shot. CSNwashington.com learned from another source that Humphries is also putting in extra work this summer from beyond the arc.

* Wall also expects some of the coaching staff will show in Los Angeles, including player development assistant David Adkins.

* He declared his left wrist "perfectly fine now." Wall injured his hand and wrist on May 3 in Game 1 of the playoff series with Atlanta, missed the next three games and then returned for the final two. No surgery was required. Though he admitted to some "weak points at times," Wall said he could now dunk and handle all the standard point guard duties.

* As for USA Basketball, Wall said he appreciated the opportunity to remain part of the working roster. He recognizes the challenge with making the 2016 roster considering how many stars are contending for 12 spots. There's also the lingering disappointment after being cut last year before the 2014 World Cup. "Going into this year, it’s an opportunity," Wall said of Team USA, "but my main goal is focusing on the Washington Wizards." More on this later on CSNwashington.com.

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall hosts back to school giveaway for D.C. kids

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

The Wizards domianted 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 players 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.





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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.





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