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Wizards respond to Scott Brooks' 4th-quarter adjustments

Wizards respond to Scott Brooks' 4th-quarter adjustments

An 18-point lead had all but evaporated for the Wizards, but coach Scott Brooks made a small adjustment in the fourth quarter to get them rolling to win again on the road. 

He went to Bradley Beal to begin the fourth quarter with the New Orleans Pelicans, not Tomas Satoransky, as he had two starters with three reserves. The other starter was Markieff Morris.

Trey Burke and Jason Smith had buckets, but it was five points from Morris and a three-pointer by Beal that put up the Wizards 87-80 with 7:40 left, 

"I thought Keef was huge in that second half, especially in that fourth quarter when we were not playing well," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of what would become a 107-94 victory.  "He came in and gave us buckets, gave us rebounds, gave us a confidence we could get back to how we were playing."

The Wizards briefly lost the lead late in the third quarter on a jumper from Anthony Davis but regained it 74-73 for good. That's when Brooks broke from his routine and inserted Beal.

Less than three minutes after that three-pointer, the Wizards were back up double digits with a three each from Morris and Beal. While the reserves defended well, they only contributed 11 points.

"There’s going to be nights off the bench they score more. There are going to be nights that they don't," Brooks said. "I thought Brad came in, Keef came in that fourth quarter and gave us a lift. I put Brad in there a few minutes extra earlier. I felt our offense was stagnant and we needed a scorer like Brad. That gave us some stability going  into that fourth quarter."

In the previous game, on Friday at the Atlanta Hawks, Brooks went with just one starter (Otto Porter) to bein the fourth with the second unit. But that game was a blowout. 

In a win over the Charlotte Hornets, Brooks went with Beal to start the fourth with Morris because their lead was tenous at 80-74 entering the fourth. 

Morris routinely begins the second and fourth quarters to with the second unit. Beal played 39 minutes and Morris was at 37, but both played well under 30 in the blowout of Atlanta. 

[RELATED: Where Porter ranks among most improved]

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John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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