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Takeaways: Wizards let Hawks run away in 4th in opening loss

Takeaways: Wizards let Hawks run away in 4th in opening loss

​The roster has been overturned for the Wizards, but what took place in the regular-season opener Thursday is what has transpired a lot in the last few seasons at Philips Arena. They had the game in reach and let it go in the fourth quarter with error after error in a 114-99 loss.

Jason Smith made his only field goal to put the Wizards up 82-81 in the fourth with 11:18 left. Then everything went awry. A 23-5 run by the Hawks, eneregized by frequent giveaways and wide-open looks with Tim Hardaway (21 points) leading the way, and the game was effectively over.

Markieff Morris (22 points) led the way but after Bradley Beal (13 points) got into foul trouble and had to leave the floor in the third quarter the game got away. Paul Millsap (28 points, seven rebounds, six assists) led all scorers for Atlanta followed by Dwight Howard (11 points, 19 rebounds) who had a dominant first half. Dennis Schroder (14 points) and Thabo Sefolosha (13 points) were instrumental as well in the outcome.

  • Whether it was from a slippery floor or legs that were weary because he’s been recovering from a pair of knee surgeries, John Wall’s legs weren’t under him early. He was flat on an open jumper in the lane and short-armed a floater. He also hit the floor several times that caused turnovers. And he also fell once but was still able to find Morris for an assist. Wall missed 12 of 15 shots (12 points, 10 assists).
     
  • The determination for Beal to be more than just a shooter was there. He forced the action, played the two-man game beautifully with Marcin Gortat (four points, 11 rebounds) as he caused the Hawks to scramble on defense. Of his first nine shots, only one of them was a three-point attempt and he still had 11 points. But picked up his fourth foul with 9:22 left in the third quarter with his team up 65-61 and they were lost without him. 
     
  • Morris’ movement on the weakside killed Atlanta most of the way. Wall and Beal commanded so much attention, he popped off the weakside for open shots or had isolations with Millsap and Mike Muscala that he could exploit. There was no over-dribbling by the guards. The ball moved the way it was supposed to move. He needed a breather and by the time he returned the game was out of hand. 
     
  • The second unit of Trey Burke, Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre, Andrew Nicholson and Smith looked as disjointed as they did in the preseason. Burke couldn’t get them in the offense quickly enough and a pair baskets that almost broke the game wide open. The Wizards trailed by as many as nine points but were able to get back. Scott Brooks called a timeout and sent the same unit back onto the floor. Burke was short on a jumper and the entire group was beaten down the floor for a dunk by Sefolosha.
     
  • If this is the best Thornton can do, shooting guard will be the Wizards’ weakest spot off the bench. When Beal left, Thornton took some quick shots and wasn’t efficient. He’s the primary backup for Beal. On one sequence, he rushed up a shot for an airball that put the Hawks in transition. Thornton then committed a foul on Hardaway that put the Hawks back on top 54-53 and they went into halftime leading 57-56. Wall set up Thornton with a nifty behind-the-back pass for a three in the third and it was an airball. Thornton (five points) was 2 of 8.
     
  • Atlanta shot just 38.8% (19 of 49) in the first half but finished the game at 50% (44 of 88). A large part of that was because of the 19 turnovers that translated into 26 points, mostly chip shots at the rim. Wall and Smith combined for nine of the giveaways.

RELATED: Wall, Bazemore exchange words following flagrant

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

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