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Morning tip: Without Beal, Wizards short on shot creators

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Morning tip: Without Beal, Wizards short on shot creators

The weakness in the Wizards when John Wall isn't on the floor, or even when he is, is that their shooters have difficult creating their own shots off the dribble minus Bradley Beal.

The L.A. Clippers had the personnel surround Wall in 108-91 in part because of an athletic, rim protection like DeAndre Jordan. They would sink in on his penetration to form a wall and dart out to the perimeter to run shooters off the arc. They also switched defensively to close the distance on shooters.

With Beal still weeks away from returning from the latest stress reaction in his lower right leg, the Wizards (14-15) just aren't as adept at hitting shots on the move.

Jarell Eddie, who made four consecutive three-point shots in a win over the weekend vs. the Brooklyn Nets, was 2-for-7 from deep; Garrett Temple 0-for-4; Kris Humphries 0-for-2; and Jared Dudley 0-for-1.

Tonight, the Wizards will have to contend with the Toronto Raptors who have Bismarck Biyombo policing the middle. When they lost 84-82 to them earlier this season on a buzzer-beater from Cory Joseph, Biyombo didn't score but had 16 rebounds, four blocks and altered countless shots inside the paint.

"We were moreso focused on defense," Eddie said about Tuesday's practice, before the Wizards left for Toronto. "(The Clippers) really hurt us in pick-and-roll. Not having our help man over on the weakside."

The coverage by the Wizards was inadequate for the first time in a while and it's why Chris Paul (23 points, 7 assists in 27 minutes) and Jordan (15 points, 13 rebounds in 28) had such an easy time. There was poor recognition of when to help and when not to help.

For instance, if Luc Mbah a Moute (0 points in 19 minutes) was spotting up on the weak side for the catch-and-shoot, the Wizards had to force the ball out of Paul's hands, collapse on Jordan and take their chances with Mbah a Moute. Instead, they stayed at home on him while allowing Jamal Crawford (21 points) to roam free. 

"Offensively we went over some plays of when teams start switching or teams start icing and different concepts," said Dudley, the latter part a reference to forcing the ball away from the screener who in most cases would be Marcin Gortat and allows the defense to momentarily defend two with one. "What it came down to for us is a little bit of communication and not knowing personnel out there."

Though the Raptors aren't as athletic in the middle so the Wizards won't have to worry as much about the ball going over the top, their backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have shredded the Wizards' pick-and-roll coverage in past seasons. 

This is why being better much defensively than they were vs. the Clippers is so important and both issues raised are connected. When the Wizards' defense leads to transition baskets and clean looks while the opponent is in scramble mode in the open court, it alleviates pressure from the offense and Wall having to create everything.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

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Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

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!