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Wittman confronts difficult task piecing together Wizards

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Wittman confronts difficult task piecing together Wizards

Coach Randy Wittman has dealt with his share of injuries to the roster, going back to three years ago when John Wall wasn't ready to start because of a knee injury and Bradley Beal was so banged up that he had to be shut down at the end of his rookie season.

Friday, the Wizards (10-14) didn't even have enough live bodies to run 5-on-5 as John Wall (rest) was given off and Otto Porter (left thigh) tries to heal from a bruise that compounded a 1-3 road trip.

"Just precautionary, he and Otto both," Wittman said. "Otto is still pretty sore from the thigh bruise."

Nene (left calf) didn't practice and Alan Anderson (left ankle) still isn't ready to play. Drew Gooden (right calf) appeared to do some activity to break a sweat but he hasn't gone through a full practice. Beal (right leg) is out at least another week. 

The Wizards play the Charlotte Hornets at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6:30 p.m. ET). They lost 101-87 on Nov. 25 in a game the Wizards led going into the fourth when they scored just six points, including only one field goal.

MORE WIZARDS: DESPERATE TIMES FOR WASHINGTON

"We still got work done that we need to get done. A little different capacity. The defensive things that we need to cover we can get that done three-on-three, four-on-four," Wittman said. 

In Wednesday's 114-95 loss at the San Antonio Spurs, Kris Humphries and Gary Neal started over Jared Dudley and Garrett Temple. Expect a lot of switching lineups and rotations, including rookie Kelly Oubre getting more time, until they regain some health.

"We're going to have to do that here right now. It's going to probably change some depending on who we're playing," Wittman said. "It's like any team, Charlotte played without (Nic) Batum (Thursday) night and they started two point guards. I think that was more because of the matchup of what Toronto does."

Three years ago, Temple was starting for Wall and then filled Beal's role when he went down. Nene was shut down late that season, too. That produced a 29-win season. 

"It's the worst this quickly together," Wittman said of the current injury rash in comparison. "The number of guys that have strung together, there's not too many practices I've been as head coach where we had eight or nine guys and I've had to use a stand-in."

Wall has played through a right ankle sprain and a badly bruised right knee. He hasn't missed a game this season.

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 4: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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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