No doubt a good chunk of the Wizards winning turnaroundwhile closing out the last campaign stemmed from the addition of Nene. Well, that and the subtraction of a few others. Still, much of the promise of a playoff push this season comes from having the Brazilian big man for a full season.Just don't assume he and his gimpy left foot will be ready for the start of training camp next week. "Well see. Were going to be very, very cautious with him," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said at his pre-training camp press conference on Tuesday. "Nene aggravated his plantar fasciitis situation during the Olympics, I think everybody knows that."Everybody also should remember that for all of Nene's value on and off the court for the chemistry-lacking Wizards last season, he missed 14 of 25 games including a stretch of 10 straight with foot issues. With the bruising 6-foot-11 presence locked in as the focal point for a deep frontcourt, the Wizards will practice patience at leastuntil the games turn real. Training camp starts Oct. 2 at George Mason University. After eight preseason games, the regular season tips off on Oct. 30 at Cleveland."He hasnt had much time to rest this summer because of the commitment that he had to his national team," Grunfeld noted. "Were going to be very cautious, and were going to take it very slow with him and make sure that hes 100 percent when we put him out there full time. But we expected him to be ready for the regular season for sure. We will be very cautious with him."The Wizards acquired Nene at the training deadline in mid-March, a move that sent JaVale McGee and Nick Young to Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers respectively. Washington won eight of its final 10 games last season, including the last six, to finish with a 20-46 record.The just-turned 30-year-old is the Wizards projected starting power forward or center, depending on how one viewsnewly acquired veteran Emeka Okafor and third-year player Kevin Seraphin. How Wizards coach Randy Wittman plans on using his interior trio is one of the key questions entering the season.The short-termissue is simply when Nene joins his fellow bigs on the Patriot Center court and for how long."Well just have to wait and see," Grunfeld said. "He probably wont go two-a-days and go full in practice early in season. It just depends on how he develops. He knows his body very well, and we have all the confidence in the world in him coming back and helping us, just like he did last year."
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.
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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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.
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.
This is how Bradley Beal felt about the Raptors tonight 🍿 pic.twitter.com/W2sYuNVVmt— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) April 21, 2018
So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.
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