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Morning tip: Controversial ending in Portland goes in favor of Wizards this time

Morning tip: Controversial ending in Portland goes in favor of Wizards this time

Markieff Morris' foot was out of bounds. It was evident in real time, and didn't require slow-motion replays to determine that if it was orginally called that his pull-up jumper with 0.4 seconds left to beat the Portland Trail Blazers it would've been confirmed upon review and waved off.

But that's not what happened Saturday, and the Wizards won 125-124 in overtime instead to go 4-0 with one game remaining on this Western Conference road trip. 

A last two-minute report that'll be released by the league on Sunday will say Morris is out. That's because after the game, crew chief Rodney Mott answered questions from a pool reporter on whether or not Morris was out and why the basket still counted:

It was a crushing blow for the Blazers (28-36), who are fighting for their playoff lives. But this isn't the first time a game had a controversial end in Portland.

Last year, March 8, 2016, the Wizards lost 116-109 in overtime. It was a game they had won in regulation, but then-guard Gerald Henderson was allotted well over five seconds to inbound the ball to Damian Lillard who buried a three to force the extra period. 

That Wizards team didn't have the resolve of this one and wilted. The loss dropped them to 30-33 and they'd miss the playoffs at 41-41. Upon review, the league office determined that Lillard's basket shouldn't have been allowed because it was an "incorrect-no call" on the inbound play. 

One blown call doesn't justify another, but it speaks to it being a part of the NBA. Teams benefit from missed calls all the time, especially at the end of games where officials are more focused on the players with the ball. Beal had it for most of the possession.

Did anyone forget about Game 2 of the Western Conference playoffs between the Spurs and Thunder? The NBA conclude its officials missed five -- as in F.I.V.E. -- calls on the final play. The Thunder won in controversial fashion, stole home-court advantage and eventually the series.

It's not an isolated incident. It's not a conspiracy against the Blazers. But having a fourth official, who is in an elevated position and looks off the ball for infractions such as holding and fouling off the ball, would be help clean up the game. Given the explosion of rights fees, the NBA certainly can afford it. 

For now, it'll count as the Wizards' 41st win.

:I can't reallly tell but the refs didn’t call it," Morris said on whether or not he was out. "They didn’t call it, that’s all I know."


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Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle LeBron James, George Hill, Larry Nance, Jr. and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

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


Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT (pre- and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus)
Live stream: TNTdrama.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Back in action

The Wizards return to the court after a week-long layoff due to the All-Star break. Add in the fact that they had three days off before their last game and this will be just the second game for the Wizards in the last 12 days. What is this, football?

The Wizards will try to overcome the rust to keep their momentum going. They entered the All-Star break having won seven of their last nine games. Though the time off was needed due to a wide array of injuries, the Wizards had a good thing going and will aim to recapture that against a good Cavs team.


Tough stretch

The Wizards come back with a game against the Cavs, a difficult first assignment after such a long layoff. But this is just the beginning of what will be a very difficult part of their schedule. In their next 17 games, the Wizards will play 15 times against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs and Raptors.

The schedule is tough beyond their opponents. Four times in the next three weeks they will play back-to-back games and they have five games in the next seven nights. Hopefully the players recharged their batteries because it won't be easy.


New-look Cavs

The Wizards and Cavs have played twice this season already and Cleveland took both of those matchups. However, that was all before the trade deadline when the Cavs overhauled their roster. They have won all three of their games since and look rejuvenated with younger players.

Now surrounding LeBron James are a host of new faces like George HIll, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards match up with this new group.


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Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

As a member of the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal has had many battles with LeBron James over the years, first with the Miami Heat and now with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the weekend, Beal got to experience having James as a teammate for the first time at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

It was an eye-opening endeavor. Beal got to see up close and personal James' abilities and his routine to maximize them. In a group of the best players on the planet, James stood out.

"It was surreal at first, just being around all the guys," Beal said. "Even just being on his team for two days, that was an unbelievable experience."


Beal, 24, is six seasons in to his NBA career and from experience has learned how to train for the rigors of an 82-game regular season. What James does at 33 years old to stay in peak form, however, is next level.

"To see his preparation, his focus and his mentality and what he does to take care of his body before and after games," Beal said. "That's the true testament to a Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the game."

James actually assisted Beal's first points in the All-Star Game, a two-handed dunk in the first quarter. James attacked the rim on a fastbreak to draw attention, then found Beal with a dump-off pass for an easy bucket.


It was an example of James' tricks of the trade. He is not just the most athletic player on the court, he is also the smartest when it comes to the game of basketball.

"His approach and his leadership and everything, it's top notch. It's crazy because you always play against him and to play with him, you get experience the other side of it," Beal said.

Beal, however, did note that much of what he gleaned from James was by watching him. At the end of the day, they are competitors and James isn't going to give away all of his secrets.

"He's not disclosing that information," Beal joked.

The Wizards happen to play James and the Cavs in their first game back from the All-Star break on Thursday night. Once again, Beal will be on the other side.