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Morning tip: Making the most of a less efficient bench on the road

Morning tip: Making the most of a less efficient bench on the road

Scott Brooks went back to a common saying about the Wizards when they play lackluster on defense like they have for the last five games.

“At times,” the coach said after a 119-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, “we hoped that they missed instead of making them miss. When you do that you’re not going to have success in this league.”

And yet, the Wizards (41-25) still went 4-1.

While Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris didn’t always play their best, the reserves again were key in getting them the distance they needed to close games or getting them back in it as they did Monday in helping erase a 21-point deficit to Minnesota. They just couldn't finish off the last one.

“We dug ourselves a hole and a second unit came in and dig a great job of getting us back into the game,” Wall said.

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After Jason Smith didn’t play in 4 of 5 games, Brooks relied on him for 23 minutes in a comeback win over the Phoenix Suns.

Smith was 6 of 7 for 17 points in what was his best performance on the trip. He didn’t play in the next game, at the Denver Nuggets, but went 4 of 4 in 23 minutes, and then 0-for-1 and 2-for-3 in the last two in which he played 8-9 minutes. Smith made all three of his three-point attempts on the trip.

Ian Mahinmi shot a combined 14-for-19 (73.6%) and had seven more rebounds three times in averaging 20 minutes per game. His low-post defense and ability to defend away from rim was needed for versatile bigs like Karl-Anthony Towns.

Bojan Bogdanovic averaged 15.8 points but saw his efficiency shooting dip to 42% (23 of 55). From three-point range, he had two games where he shot 0-for-5 and 1-for-6. But he manufactured his offense from the foul line, going 16-for-16 in one game.

Brandon Jennings still hasn’t found his shot. He missed all eight of his three-point attempts and has yet to make one with the Wizards. He had 22 total assists, however, averaging 13.4 minutes behind Wall.

Tomas Satoransky has played spot duty. He didn't exceed eight minutes in any game but was a solid ballhandler and defensively which helped them get back into games. He only took four shots, making two.

The biggest dropoff came from Kelly Oubre, who played double-digit minutes just twice on the trip, ending with just 39 seconds of action in the final game. The last time he scored in double digits was Feb. 6 in the home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

RELATED: JOHN WALL THE EAST'S TOP PLAYER AGAIN

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: 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 Sunday night in Game 4 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:

GAME 4: TORONTO RAPTORS AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Series: Raptors lead 2-1
Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Time to get even

After a momentous Game 3 win, the Wizards have breathed some life back into their season. On Sunday, they can make this a brand new series.

With a win in Game 4 for the Wizards, they would tie the series and send it back to Toronto ensuring another home game in Washington. A loss would put them down 3-1, a deficit that has historically been hard to overcome.

Only 11 teams have accomplished the feat, most notably the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors did the same that year in the conference finals. It has only been done three times since 2006. 

How will Raptors respond?

Game 3 took on a much different tone and style than the previous two and it played into the Wizards' hands. It was much more physical and Washington did a good job of instigating contact and using it to their advanage. After the game, several players highlighted Markieff Morris shoving OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka as a turning point.

Just because it worked in Game 3 doesn't mean it will carry over successfully in Game 4. Not only could the Raptors respond with their own dose of brutality, but the referees may try to nip anything of the sort in the bud early on.

It would not be surprising if Game 4 was officiated very tightly and if a message was sent in the first quarter to the players. After seeing how well it worked in Game 3, the Wizards will likely try to test the limits.

Playoff Beal

The Raptors will also try to adjust their defense following Bradley Beal's 28-point outburst in Game 3. He wasn't much of a factor in the first two games of the series, but broke out in Game 3 to lead the Wizards to a win.

The Wizards did a good job of getting Beal involved early. He was found for open looks from three in the first half and had two three-pointers in each of the first two quarters. Beal also took it upon himself to attack the rim and force the issue.

The Raptors held Beal back in the first two games by being rough with him and in Game 2 they got him in foul trouble. Surely he will be a big emphasis of their gameplan on Sunday.

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

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making plays and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS