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Morning tip: Bojan Bogdanovic jump-starts bench revival for Wizards

Morning tip: Bojan Bogdanovic jump-starts bench revival for Wizards

TORONTO -- The basket never has looked as wide open for Bojan Bogdanovic as it did Wednesday, when he drained a season-high six three-point shots. In a span of 89 seconds in the second quarter, he single-handedly floored the Toronto Raptors who never could recover.

John Wall had his 39th double-double with 12 points and 13 assists and Bradley Beal had 23 points despite shooting just 1-for-6 from three, but the second unit led by the Bogdanovic delivered the Wizards a 105-96 victory at Air Canada Centre.

"With John and Bradley sometimes they're trying to force them to take tough shots and sometimes they screw up on the switch," said Bogdanovic, who was 9-for-12 shooting overall for a game-high 27 points. "That allows me to be wide open like in the second quarter a couple times."

The Wizards (36-23) were intent on not having a lifeless performance after they squeaked out a 112-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday on the second game of a back-to-back. 

"I thought the guys did a good job of just taking care of business," coach Scott Brooks said. "We approached every possession right, with professionalism, moving the basketball, 30-something assists on 40 field goals is probably as good as we can play offensively."

Given that Bogdanovic hasn't had a lot of practice time, he has had to learn how to play with his new teammates on the fly. Since ball movement is the cornerstone of the offensive success of the Wizards this season, the transition has been relatively easy.

"We just had to simplify the game for him and coach did that perfectly," said forward Markieff Morris, who had five assists himself. "He made it real simple for him. He made a lot of wide-open shots. A lot of guys are capable of getting him the ball."

It wasn't just Bogdanovic. Jason Smith, who had played just four minutes in the previous three games, keyed the spurt. He made all four of his shots in 10 minutes to finish with eight points, five rebounds and two assists. 

The player who displaced Smith in the rotation, Ian Mahinmi, was an eraser inside as he played a season-high 21 minutes. Mahinmi was 0-for-3 shooting but had five rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocked shots. Kelly Oubre only shot 2-for-8 for his seven points, but his defense on DeMar DeRozan and hustle plays contributed to holding the Raptors to 33-for-90 shooting, or 36.7%. Tomas Satoransky only had one point but he ran the offense. He had five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 18 quality minutes. 

[RELATED: VIDEO: John Wall blocks Raptors big man Serge Ibaka]

"Bojan played great," Smith said. "Ian was defending, protecting the rim. Tomas was going out there he was working the ball left and right, running the plays and just getting guys open. We had a great second-unit effort. That's for sure."

Bogdanovic was one short of tying his career-high for made threes. He has appeared in four games with the Wizards since being acquired in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets last week, but in the last three he has shot a combined 12 of 19 from three-point range, or 63.1%. 

Leave Bogdanovic alone and he'll make defenses play. Try to close him out too strongly on the perimeter, Bogdanovic can beat defenders off the bounce and finish through contact at the rim.

"You never know who is going to be our leading scorer," said Wall. "He's a guy that can come off pindowns, shoot the ball very well. We do a great job of spacing floor and he's able to get wide-open looks. We have to be able to knock down shots. He also is able to make plays off the dribble. I think that's what's helping us out, having us a go-to guy we can go to a little bit in the second unit."

Brooks was in such good spirts he went out of his way to praise president Ernie Grunfeld for the move. 

"The staff did a good job of putting us in a position of getting a guy like Bojan," Brooks said. "Solidifies our scoring off our bench."

And a win over the Raptors on Friday at Verizon Center can create breathing room for the Wizards in the East. 

[RELATED: Brooks reacts to Wizards signing Jennings, cutting House]

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

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


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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