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Wall's double-double leads hot-shooting Wizards over Raptors

Wall's double-double leads hot-shooting Wizards over Raptors

The Wizards put forth an effort that looked like they were in regular-season form for their final exhibition and it produced a 119-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Both teams finish the preseason at 4-3.

Bradley Beal (19 points, nine assists) and John Wall (15 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds) led the way for five starters in double figures. It was the first time that the Wizards had their starting five together as Otto Porter returned from a rib injury that kept him out two games.

Porter (16 points, nine rebounds), Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) and Markieff Morris (15 points) were in perfect sync as the offense ran like a well-oiled machine. The Wizards finished the game shooting 49 of 85 from the field, or 57.6% and had 33 assists.

DeMar DeRozan (34 points) led Toronto and all scorers. No other Raptors player was in double figures after three quarters.

  • Beal took advantage of the ball-watching by Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet in the first half. Both were so consumed with the strongside of the floor, Beal slipped into the lane for passes that led to layups (one for Gortat on the putback of a miss). With Wall in particular, he commands so much attention from defenses loading up on him, Beal can benefit more this way than relying on skip passes over the length of the defense.
  • Andrew Nicholson’s first bucket was on a three-pointer as he popped to the top of the arc. He did it while playing as a spread five, a spot he’ll occupy on occasions with Ian Mahinmi out with a knee injury. He’s proving to be more versatile than expected and could be a steal for $26 million when the re-assessing the free-agent class.
  • DeRozan is a master at getting whistles, even in preseason. The Raptors’ guard was on a fast break and went up on Nicholson, who held his position, and missed. DeRozan grabbed his own rebound as he was off-balance and a foul was called on Trey Burke who didn’t touch him. DeRozan fell to the floor so a whistle was automatic. That’s why he shot 11 of 12 on free throws in the first half alone.
  • Back to Beal: Three of the Wizards’ four baskets to begin the third were off assists from Beal, who drew the defense, got into the lane and fed Gortat for chip shots. The third one came off an after-timeout play with Beal using his superior size to post Lowry, who required help as Beal moved the ball to Porter spotting up in the corner.
  • Free agents Jarell Eddie, Sheldon McClellan, Danuel House, Johnny O’Bryant and Casper Ware didn’t play, perhaps an indication that coach Scott Brooks has seen enough to make a decision and that he’s more focused on what will be his rotations to start the season. Daniel Ochefu did enter to play the final six minutes. Marcus Thornton (three points) was the first shooter off the bench behind Beal in the first quarter. Tomas Satoransky, expected to be a third point guard and possibly could slot above Burke at some point, entered with 6:26 left in the game. 

[RELATED: O'Bryant making roster trimming hard on Wizards]

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

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

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday 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: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 


Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.


Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.


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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.


The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.


Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one.