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Will Okafor and Seraphin team up against Jazz?

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Will Okafor and Seraphin team up against Jazz?

If the 0-7 Wizards hope to avoid matching their worst start in franchise history tonight against the Utah Jazz at Verizon Center [7 p.m., CSN] they might have to take a few bumps and bruises in the process.

“This is a huge team,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “This is going to be probably the most physical team in the league. That’s probably what we have to be focused on. It’s going to be a physical game.”

With Al Jefferson [6-foot-10, 289 pounds], Derrick Favors [6-10, 248] and Paul Millsap [6-8, 253] the Jazz are capable of throwing some weight under the basket. That could prompt Wittman to try something he hasn’t so far this season – playing Emeka Okafor and Kevin Seraphin at the same time.

One way or another the Wizards will need to find a way to contain Millsap, who is averaging 25.3 points and 9.3 rebounds on the Jazz’ current toad trip, and Jefferson, who leads the Jazz with 18.5 points a game and is averaging 9.2 rebounds a game.

Jefferson has scored 1,000 or more points in each of his last six seasons and has seven double-double this season. He’s reached double-doubles in each of his last three games against the Wizards, including a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds in a 114-100 win in Utah on Feb. 17.

 “He could score the ball coming out of the crib,” Wittman joked.

The Jazz are 3-0 at home this season but just 1-6 on the road. The Wizards are playing at Verizon Center for just the third time this season. Last season they were 11-22 on their home court.

“We haven’t been home since Oct. 2,” said Wittman, conveniently forgetting home losses to the Celtics and Bucks on Nov. 3 and Nov. 9. “That’s what it feels like. It’s always nice to get here and be in the city and be in your own bed a little bit. That’s always good.”

Wittman will be looking to create more offense from a team that is averaging just 88 points a game and is led by rookie Bradley Beal, who is averaging 11.6 points but has just 16 points in his last two games while shooting just 4-for-25.

The Wizards are hoping the arrival of free-agent point guard Shaun Livingston [6-foot-7, 175 pounds] will help spark an offense that has cracked 100 points just once this season.

“Shaun is very talented,” teammate Cartier Martin said. “He’s a bigger guard. He can handle the ball. He’ll allow us to put a bigger guard on a point guard to kind of scramble up the other team’s offense. He also knows the game. He’s been in a lot of different places and he knows the game well. I’m sure his presence will be a big help.”

Livingston, who averaged 9.3 points a game the season before dislocating his left kneecap midway through the 2007-08 season, is expected to rotate in and out with starter A.J. Price.

"He was all-world before his knee injury, to be honest with you,” Price said. “He’s a good point guard -- not one of those guys they try to turn into a point guard. I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time.”

 

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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