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Morning tip: To get up to speed, Wizards must clear this hurdle


Morning tip: To get up to speed, Wizards must clear this hurdle

John Wall isn't in top shape, using camp and the preseason to get there by the time regular season tips Oct. 28 for the Wizards. With the style of play they're using, he may get there sooner than later.

He needed to catch his breath earlier than expected in the third quarter of Tuesday's 129-95 win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.  

"I asked for one at the six-minute mark of the third quarter but he act like he didn't hear for two plays. That's why I walked the ball up the court," Wall said of coach Randy Wittman granting his request. "Just ask. That means you're doing what you're supposed to do. It also means you have to get in better shape. Coming into training camp we didn't know what system we were getting into. Seven or eight days aren't going to help you get in the best shape you can."

The Wizards led 31-22 after the first quarter but were outscored 32-24 in the second. Gassed, the first unit slipped defensively before they were able to right the ship in the second half and pull away.

"You never know what to expect first game. I was pleasantly surprised on a couple fronts," Wittman said. "I thought our effort and our energy and commitment to try to do what we're trying to do was there. There has to be a commitment to do it because it's hard. I had to take John out early in the third quarter because he was exhausted. Sesh (Ramon Sessions) and the second group was really good. You play that way for 48 minutes and you wear opponents down -- if you're committed to doing that. 

"That's where we can't take a step back. That's going to be another challenge, too. More possessions per game. Are we going to stay committed to being that dirty team defensively. Those are things that I'm going to have to hold them accountable to because I think they like what they've seen and how we played thus far."

As Drew Gooden, 34, gets older he's running more and shooting more three-pointers. He came off the bench as the stretch power forward to help spark the second unit with eight points and seven rebounds. 

"I'm numb," Gooden said. "It is tough to go all-out 100 percent on the defensive end and (then) go into a 25-foot shot and make it. I think we want to get conditioned as a group on being able to go out defensively and hold your man and come out to knock long-range shots down."

[RELATED: Wall gets legendary praise for off-court charity work]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Last night's Washington Wizards comeback would not have happened had it not been for the team's blowout third quarter. 

Of course, you can say that literally about any quarter, but if you take away the third, the Toronto Raptors outscored Washington easily, 78-66.

The Wizards won by eight and this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a performance of this magnitude from this bunch.

In that frame alone in Game 4, the Wizards broke out to 40 points, the same amount they had in the first two quarters combined. As a team, they shot 65 percent and 83 percent from deep (5-for-6).

By far that was their best offensive quarter of this series.

Of course, Bradley Beal got his due, 12 points including three three-pointers, but for the first time this series, Otto Porter Jr. became a threat on the offensive end of the court.

The 6-8 forward scored 10 of his 12 points, all of which came in a 26-14 run. First, he started with back-to-back three-pointers, both in the tail end of a transition, both a feed from John Wall. One came from the corner and the other came off of a screen that ended up being a close contest from OG Anunoby.

That run resulted in the Wizards’ first lead of the game from a corner three courtesy of Beal.

Speaking of Anunoby, he was silent in that quarter for the Raptors. Granted in the first half he was taken off the court after getting pinned under Marcin Gortat, but the Raptors’ guard played for nine minutes and the only thing he recorded on the stat sheet was a foul.

Serge Ibaka, who has also been a pain in the Wizards’ side also disappeared. One rebound, two points from the free throw line, and one block was all that the 6-10 forward managed. With Porter on the court and producing, it pushed Ibaka to set up outside the paint, clearing the lane for Wall to generate movement on the offense.

All this being said, Toronto actually didn’t have a bad quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field and DeMar DeRozan had 14 points.

But the Wizards were simply better. They out-shot one of the best all-around offensive teams in the league.

Rolling with the punches in transition, not passing up open looks, Wall dealing out six assists; that is the Wizards’ team that knocked off some of the top teams in the NBA this year. No one shot more than five times in the quarter and the team combined for 10 assists on the 15 made baskets.

They erased a 14-point deficit and were tied at 80 heading into the fourth.

If you look back to the last 40-point playoff quarter for Washington, there are many parallels. It was another series where the Wizards were down 0-2 to the Celtics. They were dealing with an offensive driven team and the physicality became a prevalent story in the series.

Had it not been for those 12 minutes of basketball, the Wizards would be down 3-1 and face an insurmountable climb to get back into their First Round series. Now they are at a fresh slate in a best-of-3 series. With all the momentum, Washington is just two wins away from getting back to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, this time is a little different than the last.