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Morning tip: Wall assists Trey Burke in Wizards' turnaround

Morning tip: Wall assists Trey Burke in Wizards' turnaround

The last time the Wizards were in Atlanta, it was Oct. 27 and they were a confused bunch. None was more out of sorts than backup point guard Trey Burke.

A game that was close and could've been a victory turned into a 114-99 loss and got the season started on the wrong foot. When they met the Hawks at Verizon Center the following week, Burke had lost his spot to Tomas Satoranksy and the Wizards would begin 2-8.

While the play of John Wall, Bradley Beal and the rest of the starters has been stellar, Burke has come around as a suitable ballhandler for the second unit which is why they're now 25-20.

"I've talked to him a lot," Wall said. "That's like my little brother. Just trying to help him out in every aspect of the game. Knowing he started off well in Utah then went downhill his last couple of years. Just trying to build his confidence back up. He works out with me. He's a different point guard than I am."

[RELATED: Bradley Beal still feels 'salty' every time Wizards come to play Hawks]

Burke has gone from being unsure of himself and running the offense, so much so that after the opener teammates spoke of not understanding his play-calls at Phillips Arena either because it was too loud or he didn't have a firm grasp of the plays himself . 

Now Burke not only is shooting the ball better, he's creating and running the pick-and-roll superbly with Markieff Morris who is beginning the second quarter with the reserves. 

Burke shoots 51%  in the Wizards' wins. When they lose, he's at 40.5%. In the Wizards' last three games, all wins, he's 9-for-13 shooting with nine assists vs. two turnovers. 

Coach Scott Brooks has gone away from his team running so much high pick-and-rolls early in possessions and instead has gotten more motion and off-ball action first. If they don't get a good look out of it, they'll flow into high or side pick-and-rolls run by Wall, Beal or Burke when the defense is more than likely on its heels trying to catch up off their switches.

Burke has flourished finding his own shot that way, and with moving the ball for someone else to get theirs. And in their last two games against their heated rival Boston Celtics, Burke held his own when having to defend Isaiah Thomas. 

"He's an aggressive scorer," Wall said. "When his shot is going, that makes him play a lot better."

Burke's season-high of 27 points came on Dec. 27 in a blowout of the low-rung Brooklyn Nets. Easily his best performance could be in the 12 minutes he played against a much better team in the Charlotte Hornets, making all three shots and getting four assists earlier this week.

The biggest difference in Burke comes when he plays at home, where the Wizards have won 14 in a row, compared to on the road. He shoots 51.7% from three at Verizon Center. That dips to 33.3%.

[RELATED: Wizards' Bradley Beal an NBA All-Star snub]

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Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

As a fellow NBA head coach, Scott Brooks understands what Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers is going through. As his former teammate, Ramon Sessions knows how tough Lue is.

Both members of the Wizards shared their reactions after Monday's practice to the news Lue is stepping away from the Cavs to deal with a health issue. Both expressed hope Lue will not be out long as the NBA continues its trek towards the playoffs.

"All of our thoughts are with him," Brooks said. "You hope that it's nothing serious. Health is the most important [thing]. The game is secondary."


"Prayers out to T-Lue," said Sessions, who played with Lue in Milwaukee. "It's one of those things where you've gotta take care of yourself at the end of the day. Him stepping away is the best thing."

Lue's illness has been a mystery to doctors, according to a statement he released on the Cavaliers' website. He has dealt with chest pains and other symptoms while also struggling to sleep. The hope is that having time off will allow him to get the rest he needs.


Brooks knows firsthand how difficult it is to get sleep during the regular season as a coach.

"You just have to figure out ways to get your rest. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you think after a good win you can have a good night's rest or sometimes it's the opposite. It's just hard to get rest. You're traveling in different timezones. You are emotional after games. You eat late. There are a lot of factors that go into it. We don't have a set schedule every night. I have a good staff and I rely on them," he said.

Lue, 40, will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim. The Cavs happen to be in a tight playoff race with the Wizards and other teams in the Eastern Conference battling for position.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

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!