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Wall, Beal join forces to take control of Wizards' fate


Wall, Beal join forces to take control of Wizards' fate

ORLANDO -- There was a point in the fourth quarter, with about five minutes left, that John Wall went over to Bradley Beal and they shared a moment. It was time to take over a game they had no business losing to the Orlando Magic -- and they were correct.

"Me and John kind of looked at each other and was like it is time to take over the game," said Beal, who led all scorers with 24 points, with seven coming in the decisive fourth. "We were trying to make the right plays. We have to be a little bit more aggressive even if that means we have to take some tough shots or make tougher plays. We have to carry the team as best we can. We kind of felt the game was getting a little out of control and out of our hands a little bit so we just stepped up and did what we do."

Said Wall: "That's when we stepped up our defensive pressure and guys started to make some plays."

The Wizards had just regained a lead 80-78 on Wall's jumper but then they fell back 87-82 with two minutes left. After Marcin Gortat made two free throws, Wall blocked Tobias Harris, who stands 6-9, on his move to the basket and it produced a tip-in for Otto Porter on an offensive rebound on the other end. Then coming out of a timeout, Wall drained a floater with 13 seconds left for the winning bucket.

The Wizards' defense did the rest. Orlando shot 7 of 26 in the fourth, or 27%.

"His ability to read, anticipate is just tremendous," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Wall, who had three of his career-high five blocks in the fourth quarter when he also had 12 points and two steals. "Good anticipation."

Only two players in NBA since blocks and steals were recorded starting in 1973-74 have had better opening games than Wall, with at least 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals: David Robinson in 1990 and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1993.

"I knew we needed stops and I knew we had to play the right way. I just took some shots I had all game. I missed a couple but I wanted to be more aggressive," said Wall, who shot 5 of 7 in the fourth. "The most important thing was the way we locked down when we were down (five)."

Known as a chase-down block artist, Wall got his in various ways Wednesday. One came in the first half when he stopped 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon in the paint. Another came against another 7-footer, Nikola Vucevic, at the rim. 

"Since last year, the end of the season I got very comfortable," Wall said about being the closer now that Paul Pierce left after one season. "And I know these guys trust me with the ball. They look up to me. I got to be a leader. If it's me taking the last shot or me making the right play for somebody that's wide open, I can deal with it. That's the situation I'm in when you're a franchise guy. It's my time in my sixth season to step up and take the pressure."

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards benefit from NBA's replay center overturning late call

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch


Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.


Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:


Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.



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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:


2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:


4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection: