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What Wizards can build on despite a sloppy season-opening defeat

What Wizards can build on despite a sloppy season-opening defeat

ATLANTA -- There are so many ifs after Thursday’s season-opening loss for the Wizards. If Bradley Beal didn’t get into early foul trouble. If John Wall had made those easy shots to start to get off on the right track. If Marcus Thornton hadn’t missed so many shots when they needed him to fill the void.

Let’s look at what they can build on despite falling apart in the fourth quarter of a 114-99 defeat:

  • The Wizards stuck to their strategy of posting Wall and Beal on inbound plays. In the first half, both had Dennis Schroder under the rim, drew fouls and made it to the free-throw line as a result. That’s good for about four extra chances a game – possibly each – if they continue to look for it. Wall took seven foul shots in 30 minutes. Beal only had one but was restricted by foul trouble. He was on the floor for just 24.
  • Markieff Morris made two three-point shots. He attempted 155 last season and only made 30.3%, but he looks like he'll set a career-high in both regards this season. He was 2 of 3 from long range.
  • Otto Porter’s movement without the ball resulted in high-percentage looks in 26 minutes. He didn’t attempt a three, which isn’t the strength of his game. It’s the mid-range and moving off the ball (10 points, 5 of 7).
  • Beal stayed true to the attack-mode principles he displayed in the preseason. He shot 6 of 12 and only two of those were missed threes. He had four assists and easily could’ve had double that if not for picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. As Beal's shot chart shows at stats.nba.com, five of his six makes can within five feet of the rim. He kept his dribble alive and relied on hesitation moves to force the action closer to the basket. Beal had one basket denied because of an offensive goaltending call as the ball hung on the rim. 
  • Andrew Nicholson looks like a reliable, steady option at the four/five spot. In 19 minutes he had nine points (3 of 6), seven rebounds, a steal and a block despite the difficulty the second unit had running the offense. He also made a three. 

MORE WIZARDS: Brooks ponders fixes for Wizards' 2nd unit

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Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

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Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.

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

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USA Today Sports Images

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:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

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. 

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

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.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

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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