Quick Links

John Wall thinks increase in national TV games for Wizards great for franchise and city of D.C.

USA Today Sports Images

John Wall thinks increase in national TV games for Wizards great for franchise and city of D.C.

Last August, when the NBA released its schedule for the 2016-17 regular season, the Wizards were only guaranteed five games on national television. Months later, on Dec. 28, the Wizards lost one of those games, as ESPN flexed their matchup against the Celtics on Jan. 11 out in favor of Grizzlies vs. Thunder.

Wizards guard John Wall retweeted the news with a simple 'Lol' and later discussed in more detail how the Wizards were overlooked by the league and networks when it comes to national television. He spoke about the matter numerous times, making it clear he cares about the attention his team receives.

Wall, naturally, is much happier with the slate for 2017-18, as the Wizards have been given 18 national TV games. They will play nearly 22 percent of their regular season on national television.

"It's great," Wall said. "I think we could have had that in the past. We had a heck of a season last year. We fell short of what we wanted to. It just means we're getting the recognition we wanted in the one of the most powerful cities in the world in basketball and sports, period. To have that, with them showing us love having our first game of the season on TV, then having a Christmas game and those types of things, that's what I think our city needs and what we want. It's big for us."


The fact the Wizards and Celtics had a game flexed out of national TV last season, but now have all four of their games in 2017-18 set for major networks, is not lost on Wall.

"When we got in that little altercation [with the Celtics], I said that every game from now on should be on [national] TV. It wasn't. Well, now every game this year is on [national] TV, so I'm fine with that," he said.

The Wizards will also play their season opener on Oct. 18 at home against the Sixers on national TV. Three of their four games against Philadelphia and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be nationally televised.

Getting this level of recognition is new for Wall and the Wizards. Wall is more used to being overlooked and drawing motivation from that.

Wall knows this is new territory for him and his teammates, and how things could change accordingly.

"I think that going into this season, our teammates have to understand what we have ahead of us. We're not going in as underdogs now. Now people to understand what we're capable of and what we have to do," he said.



Quick Links

Second-half eruption leads Wizards to pivotal Game 4 win over Raptors

Second-half eruption leads Wizards to pivotal Game 4 win over Raptors

The Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 106-98 in Game 4 of their first round playoff series on Sunday night.

Here's analysis of what went down...

Brand New Series: After going down 0-2, most may have written the Wizards off knowing the near-insurmountable odds of coming back not only from that deficit but as an eight-seed going up against the best team in the Eastern Conference. It would have been understandable to doubt these Wizards who have for so much of this season allowed teams to bully them to an uncharacteristic degree.

With another win in Game 4, however, the Wizards have recalibrated this series.. Not only did the Wizards even things up, they ensured at least one more home game where they have now won eight straight in the postseason.

Controversial Foul Out: The Wizards were dealt a tough blow with 4:58 left as Bradley Beal picked up his sixth foul and was bounced from the game. 

Not only was Beal dominating with a team-high 31 points, but the sixth foul was very questionable. He made contact with DeMar DeRozan inadvertently and it is tough to see how he could have avoided it.

Here is the play:

That should simply not be called in that moment. It was a crucial development and both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were understandably furious. If the Wizards had lost, that would have been a major reason why. There is no excuse for referees to impact a game like that.

Sluggish Start: Outside of John Wall (27 points, 14 assists, six rebounds) and Beal, who had 12 points and 11 points in the first half, the rest of the Wizards' team was slow-moving early on. The team shot just 34 percent in the first half, 16-for-47, and 1-for-7 from three. They even missed their free throws, going 7-for-13 in the first two quarters.

The Raptors did a good job putting pressure on the, but only Wall and Beal were able to break through. Otto Porter, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds, had one point in the first half. Markieff Morris (six points, five rebounds) had four points at the break.

Even Mike Scott, who has had a huge series, went scoreless in the first half. That was partly due to him getting in early foul trouble.

The Raptors were particularly good at stopping the Wizards in transition. Despite committing 11 turnovers in the first half, they won the fastbreak point advantage 17-4. That was a big point of emphasis coming out of Game 3 according to head coach Dwane Casey and his players followed the lead.

Big Third Quarter: The Wizards' offense was not held down for long as they came out of the gate on fire in the second half. Beal and Porter led the charge.

Porter erupted for 10 points in the frame. Beal got hot from three and scored 12. The only thing that stopped Beal was foul trouble, as he picked up his fourth personal with just under five minutes left in the quarter and later left with six.

The third quarter shooting numbers overall were impressive. The Wizards shot 15-for-23 (65.2%) from the field and 5-for-6 (83.3%) from three. That'll do.

The Wizards outscored the Raptors 40-29 in the third. It was their biggest postseason quarter since last year's Game 4 against the Celtics. That was when they went on an absured 26-0 run.

Hella Free Throws: Many people blamed the refs for the Wizards' loss in Game 1, though the numbers didn't back up that claim. If Wizards fans wanted to gripe about Game 4, they had a better case for a while in this one.

It was kind of ridiculous, especially early on. The Raptors shot 30 free throws in the game compared to 31 for the Wizards, so it evened out.  But Toronto shot 16 free throws in the first quarter alone and 12 of them were attempted by DeRozan. He is one of the best in the business at drawing fouls, but that a bit extreme.

DeRozan, in fact, finished the first quarter with nine points and all of them were at the free throw line. He was 0-for-5 from field goal range. 

When DeRozan is getting to the line, he can control games and early on that was the case in this one. He set a new playoff career high with 18 attempts and made 14 of them.

The refs called the game much tighter than they did previously in this series. Perhaps that was a response to the chippiness in Game 3.

Up Next: The series moves on to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington with pregame coverage beginning with Wizards HangTime at 6 p.m.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

John Wall puts 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas on a poster

WASHINGTON -- Things were not looking good for the Washington Wizards to start Game 4. Honestly, there were some flashes back to the team’s performance in the first two games of the series against the Toronto Raptors.

That all quickly changed when John Wall did what he does best: drive to the basket.

Not only did Wall drive to the basket, he went and put Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas on a poster.

Valanciunas is a 7-foot Lithuanian.

We get it John, it’s your city and we’re all your residents.