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Schizophrenic Singleton turns sublime

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Schizophrenic Singleton turns sublime

LAS VEGAS -- Whatever the Wizards want to see out of Chris Singleton during the five-game summer league session, a split on-court personality isnt one of them. Thats what the second-year forward delivered performance-wise on Friday against the Hawks. At least the stronger version came last.Listless at times and ineffective often before halftime, Singleton came out for the second half with a heavy dose of aggression, tallying 17 of his 20 points after halftime. I see myself Shelvin and Jan as the leaders because weve been in the league. I just had to go out there and play more offensive minded, said Singleton, who gets another chance to make a better first half Saturday at 10pm ET against Houston.Versus Atlanta, he finished 7 of 13 from the field overall after missing his only two attempts in the first half. I just told him to take what they give you, Wizards summer league head coach Sam Cassell said. I had him playing the 4 some, I tried to create mismatches. Pick-and-pop, he wants to shoot the basketball. He should be putting the ball on the floor and trying to create some things. Second half, he picked-and-popped, and he made some easy shots, 15-foot jump shots.Singleton also led the Wizards with eight rebounds, four steals and five turnovers. The bulk of the miscues came early, the good numbers followed, including two blocks. Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 22 points.I was just being more aggressive, showing everyone what I worked on, said Singleton about his play after halftime before relieving the rough start for him and the team. It was tough out there, especially in the first half. Missed a lot of shots, lots of turnovers. There is stuff we can work on.The Wizards will need the good Singleton from the start on Saturday against the Rockets. Houston's small forward duo Chandler Parsons and first-round pick Terrence Jones combined for 33 points in a 93-81 win over Toronto on Friday. More from Day 1 of the Las Vegas Summer League...- Cassell praises Beal's unemotional debut- Wizards notebook: Point guards in training, Bizarro world Vesely- Wizards, Hawks instant analysis- ProBasketballTalk.com's recap of the young guns includes mentions of Beal, Singleton, Vesely

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John Wall isn't listening to Drake's trash talk and isn't listening to his music either

John Wall isn't listening to Drake's trash talk and isn't listening to his music either

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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