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Morning tip: Explaining John Wall's turnover rash


Morning tip: Explaining John Wall's turnover rash

The triple-doubles look good on the resume of John Wall, but the last two that he has had -- in back-to-back wins vs. the Chicago Bulls and at the Philadelphia 76ers -- come with troubling baggage: Turnovers.

Wall has a total of 17, and while it didn't hurt them Wednesday as they won by 21 points the mistakes did fuel a comeback from a 24-point deficit by the Sixers on Thursday.

"There are times I should just shoot the ball and not try to make extra passes to make plays and keep moving the ball like we did in the first half," Wall said. "Something easy I can fix."

To be a serious threat to make the playoffs, he'll have to follow through with that promise. The Wizards (33-35) are on a three-game winning streak and face the New York Knicks at Verizon Center tonight (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET).

When the Wizards returned from the All-Star break, Wall was more responsible with the ball. He had just 10 turnovers in the first five games. Now that his team is having some success after countless ups and downs, he has gotten sloppy with the ball again.

The win vs. the Sixers gave the Wizards the season series 4-0, but it took Wall going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 14.6 seconds to close out 99-94. They never should've been in that position.

Part of the credit goes to Philadelphia changing up coverages on Marcin Gortat, who was dominating in the middle as Wall racked up 12 first-half assists alone. Gortat largely was covered 1-on-1, including by the likes of Carl Landry and Jerami Grant. Neither are big enough nor are they actually centers and when he made his initial move there was no stopping him at the rim.

In the second half, Wall thought he'd have the same avenues to deliver the ball to his big man but did not.

"In the second half we tried to do the same thing," Wall said. "They did a better job of adjusting, trying to come over and double-teaming. We had some good looks out of the double-team. We just didn't make shots."

The Sixers fronted Gortat with a small to disrupt entry passes and relied on the long and super-athletic Nerlens Noel, who roamed like a free safety in football, to clean up the rest from behind. Noel finished with seven steals. 

Wall's eight turnovers against Chicago came with Bradley Beal as a starter. His nine turnovers in Philadelphia came with Garrett Temple, who filled in for Beal (pelvic soreness) because he wasn't available.

Clearly, his backcourt mate doesn't have much to do with this part of the equation. It's simple decision-making. Seven of Wall's turnovers Thursday came in the second half.

He tried a wraparound pass that hit Gortat in the shin for a turnover. Markieff Morris made a nifty drop step around the undersized Kendall Marshall, but Noel flew over top to help break up Wall's lob for the dunk. Wall drove too deep, didn't have an angle for a good shot and tried to find Gortat cutting but he was surrounded by three white jerseys.

Gortat was being forced to catch the ball farther from the basket and it resulted in desperation passes from him, too, that never reached the target. Morris was double-teamed by Noel and T.J. McConnell on the wing to prevent him from getting the pass into the middle. The Wizards were out of sync and confused.

Wall recognized the coverages had changed so he has to then figure out a different way to beat the system. Against better teams -- and there are 28 -- that running head-first into a brick wall strategy doesn't work.

RELATED: NBA: Wizards-Sixers finish full of incorrect no-calls on Gortat

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

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Bradley Beal on his struggles, getting an apology from Scott Brooks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks believes he is partly to blame for Bradley Beal's lackluster scoring output through two games in the team's 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series against Raptors.

The head coach said as much following the Wizards' disastrous Game 2 loss and stated it again for clarity at practice on Thursday.

They weren't just throwaway lines. No, Brooks truly meant what he said and followed up those comments with an apology face-to-face.

Brooks met with Beal and John Wall in between Games 2 and 3 to see how they can get Beal going and reiterated that some of it all was on the coach.

"He apologized to me, which was weird because he's somebody who always holds me accountable for stuff," Beal said after Friday's shootaround.

"I guess he figured I wasn't shooting the ball enough and he thought it was his fault. I don't know."

Beal, who is averaging 14.0 points in two games and scored only nine in Game 2, came away from the meeting with a good understanding of what he needs to do to get back on track. After apologizing, Brooks laid out a strategy in hopes that he, Wall and Beal can all be on the same page moving forward.

They need to get their All-Star shooting guard back to form on the offensive end.

"He just basically challenged me. He challenged me to be more aggressive on the offensive and defensive end," Beal said.

What has made Beal's scoring troubles through two games particularly surprising is how well he played against the Raptors during the regular season. He averaged 28.8 points in four games against Toronto and all were without Wall.

Beal shot 50 percent against the Raptors both from the field and from three. So far this series he's shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from long range.

Asked whether there is anything he can draw from the regular season to apply to the playoffs, Beal said it's not as easy as it may seem.

"Those games are different. The matchups are different to an extent. It's totally different in the playoffs because you have more time to prep and prepare and gameplan for us," he said. 

"I think the biggest thing is them being physical. They are real physical with me. Whenever I'm standing around on offense or moving around, they are grabbing me. I just need to be physical back with them. Keep moving off the ball and especially if Kyle [Lowry] is guarding me. Tire him out as much as possible. Continue to be aggressive."

Coaches use all sorts of leadership tactics to motivate players. Perhaps an apology will do the trick.





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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 3: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 3: 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 Friday night in Game 3 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:


Series: Raptors lead 2-0
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Do or die

If the Wizards lose on Friday night, the series will technically not be over. They will be down 0-3 with a home game up next and an opportunity to extend their season and send it all back to Toronto. That said, the odds would not be good. In fact, they would be pretty much as bad as they can be.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from down 0-3 in a series. So, unless the Wizards feel like they can make history, like UMBC over Virginia history, then they better win Game 3. 

Now, some teams have come close to making it happen. Three times before a team has gone down 0-3 and forced seven games. The last time was the 2003 Blazers, who fell in Game 7 to the Mavs. 

Recovering from an 0-3 deficit to win a seven-game series has happened in both baseball and hockey, most famously in 2004 when the Red Sox beat the Yankees to reach the World Series. At some point it will happen in basketball, but the chances are essentially next-to-none. The Wizards will be much better off by winning Game 3, just like they did last year when they went down 0-2 against the Celtics in the second round and forced a Game 7.

Beal and Otto

The Wizards are hoping to see more from both Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. It was a big topic of discussion at Thursday's practice how both guys need to be more aggressive in looking for their own shot. Beal was held to just nine points in Game 2 and Porter, the NBA's third-best three-point shooter, didn't even attempt one three.

Brooks held a meeting with Beal and John Wall to discuss how they can get Beal more opportunities, but ultimately it's up to him and Porter to force the issue for themselves. It would seem likely at least one of them breaks out in Game 3. They both were great against the Raptors during the regular season and both proved throughout the year that they can score against anybody.

Too many threes

The biggest reason the Wizards are down 0-2 in this series is the three-point shot. The Raptors have hit a ton of them and even though the Wizards have been intent on stopping them, they have had no such luck.

The Raptors hit 16 threes in the first game to set a playoff franchise record. They shot 51.7 percent from long range. In Game 2, they hit 13 and 11 were in the first half. They made seven of them in the first quarter alone to the tune of 44 points, the worst defensive quarter in the playoffs in Wizards franchise history since 1965.

This is how much the three-point shot matters: the Raptors' 11 first-half threes in Game 2 helped them outscore the Wizards by 18 points by halftime, but in the second half when they hit only two threes, the Wizards edged them by seven points. Washington has to stop the three-pointer, it's that simple.

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For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: