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Wall wants to see Wizards 'greedy, aggressive, grimy, dirty'


Wall wants to see Wizards 'greedy, aggressive, grimy, dirty'

The team that coach Randy Wittman wants back isn't thinking much about offense. When they weren't playing well in a recent game, he was perturbed to witness at halftime the conversations that had nothing to do with defense. When they beat Tuesday's opponent earlier this season, the Milwaukee Bucks, it was because the attention to that detail.

“Just being greedy, aggressive, grimy, dirty team. Not trying to injure anybody, but playing aggressive," said John Wall about how the Wizards have to play, which should be music to Wittman's ears after he called his team "soft" in the middle after a 24-point loss last week. "Hitting people when they’re coming to the basket.

"Not trying to give guys easy layups and stuff like that. That’s what got us over the hump. You got to play that playoff style now. Just be smart when you foul certain people at certain times. That’s big for us to get into the ball. When we average 25 or more deflections, we win. ... Ten or 11 deflections in a game, that’s not the type of defensive pressure we like to have."

RELATED: Morning tip: Wizards' trust factor with Otto Porter grows

In a win over the weekend vs. the Orlando Magic, the Wizards (4-4) went from allowing 60% accuracy in the first quarter to holding them to 37%. 36% and 44% in subsequent quarters.

The Bucks (5-5) are coming off a double overtime win vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Plus, they have Jabari Parker back who wasn't available in their 118-113 loss to the Wizards on Oct. 30 as he still was recovering from a knee injury that dated to last season.

There's a good chance that the Wizards won't have Bradley Beal, who hasn't practiced in more than a week because of a left shoulder contusion. He scored 14 of the Wizards' 36 fourth-quarter points in that 13-point comeback in Milwaukee.

“We just tightened up our defense. We played the defense that we usually played last year. When we added pressure to those guys they kind of folded and didn’t take good shots and gave us the opportunity to push the pace and get into transition," Wall said. "Guys just made big shots. We had the same kind of open threes that we had throughout the whole game. We just missed them. Then in the fourth quarter we made like seven of them."

It's far too early to say if the Wizards are cured. Their three-game losing streak in which they were blown out by double-digits still is fresh in their minds. They've shown that they can play pace-and-space offense without turning the ball over liberally. They've gone from 50 giveaways in losses at the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks to 19 total as they went 1-1 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and Magic. 

“It’s early but I think we’re starting to see we can’t win games with a lot of turnovers," Wizards forward Otto Porter said. "It’s making it harder on the defense. We jut got to buckle down, play defense and go from there."

The Bucks have length and athleticism all over the floor with their starting unit.

“This is where you’re really going to get the sense of us," Wall said. "We only showed one sense of us for a whole game. That was San Antonio. Orlando and Milwaukee, we showed glimpses in the fourth quarter when we wanted to play defense. ... I don’t think we put a full package together when we played defense for a whole game and move the ball the way we want it to offensively."

MORE WIZARDS: Shoulder keeps Bradley Beal from practicing with Wizards again

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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