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Bradley Beal blasts Wizards' effort after loss to Phoenix Suns, John Wall saw it coming

Bradley Beal blasts Wizards' effort after loss to Phoenix Suns, John Wall saw it coming

What John Wall and Bradley Beal openly warned their teammates about throughout the summer has proven to be true in their eyes, that after all the success they enjoyed last season, the Wizards are no longer a team that will surprise their opponents. Everyone knows they are among the upper-echelon teams in the NBA and with that status follows the best effort from the opposition each and every night.

That was the case in Wednesday's loss to the Phoenix Suns. After building a 22-point lead, the worst fears of Beal and Wall were realized. The Wizards let up defensively and fell into habits they may have gotten away with in years past. 

Now a team with 18 national TV games on their schedule, an All-NBA point guard and playoff success, the Wizards are a foe teams like the Suns come gunning for.

"That's how every game is going to be. Everybody is going to give us their best," Beal said. "For us to sit here and act like we're somebody; we're not jack-ish right now. We haven't proved nothing, we haven't done nothing. We've gotta stay aggressive at all times. We've gotta realize that we're a targeted team. Teams want to beat us. Until we get that into the back of our heads, we're going to continue to play this way."

"I think every game has been like that," Wall said. "We could easily say we're 7-0 or 4-3 like we are. We had leads in all these games and opportunities to close them out. We had leads, but we let those fall and collapsed. In the past we might have been able to get away with those, but now teams know what we're capable of. They know we're a good team. To take that next step and become an elite team, we've gotta close them out."

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Much like their defeat to the Lakers last week, the Wizards couldn't get defensive stops late and momentum evaded them. After the Wizards held the Suns to 15 points in the first quarter, they scored a combined 107 across the final three frames.

T.J. Warren had 40 points, exceeding his previous career-high by 10. Devin Booker had 22 points. The Suns knocked down 31-of-38 free throws. Phoenix committed just nine turnovers, half their season average.

The numbers are one thing. It was the effort the Wizards put forth that really sickened Beal.

"We're going to start holding guys accountable because this is unacceptable," Beal said. "We weren't undisciplined. We were too cool. We thought it was gonna be a cakewalk and they bust our ass, plain and simple. We can't let anyone come in here and score 40."

Head coach Scott Brooks took the podium visibly frustrated, though he kept his characteristic calm while answering questions. He harped over and over on the Wizards' defensive focus and effort.

Brooks sang a tune reminiscent of their lowest moments in the 2016-17 season. He wants his team to be hyper-aware on both ends of the floor. 

"If we don’t have the defensive urgency you’re not going to have success. We have to change the way we approach every possession. You can’t just pick and choose possessions," he said.

Veteran Wizards players like Wall and Beal knew things would be different this season and now they are feeling the correction made by their opponents. Now the Wizards must adjust, or they will be in danger of more losses like Wednesday night's.

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Will John Wall miss any games with his latest injury?

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USA Today Sports Images

Will John Wall miss any games with his latest injury?

With how poorly John Wall played on Friday night against the Miami Heat, it makes sense that there is a specific explanation why.

Wall, who went scoreless until 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, says he had little mobility in his left knee due to fluid buildup. It all stems from last weekend when he was administered two IVs by the Wizards' training staff so he could play against the Atlanta Hawks.

Wall was given the fluids to combat a bad cold that was compounded by a migraine headache. They didn't settle correctly and now the fluid has collected in his left knee.

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Now a week later, Wall is still feeling the effects.

"I could barely move out there," he said. "I was feeling like some s***."

Wall has been dealing with this for several days - he first mentioned it in an interview with NBC Sports Washington last weekend -  but said Friday was particularly bad due to it being chilly in Capital One Arena. The Wizards share a stadium with the NHL's Washington Capitals.

Wall was held to just eight points in the Wizards' 91-88 loss to Miami. He shot 3-for-12 from the field in 35 minutes.

Wall's eight points matched his lowest scoring output in a game since Dec. 12, 2014 when he had six. He has never been held scoreless in a game, but had zero points in the first 41:25 on Friday night.

With Wall admittedly not feeling well, the question now becomes whether he will miss any time. Fluid buildup isn't a serious injury, but the Wizards happen to have their first back-to-back games coming up on Sunday and Monday. They will play the Raptors and Bucks, two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

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Wall said he has full confidence in the Wizards' training staff and the team's doctors to decide whether he will be good to go on Sunday for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff. It will depend on how he feels on Saturday after getting a night's rest.

But given the fact it's a back-to-back set and given that it's so early in the season, it would not be surprising if Wall missed one of those games. The Wizards have already beaten Toronto, ironically without Wall. With one win under their belt, they would at worst be tied in the season series with a loss.

Against Milwaukee, Wall may have more incentive to play given the season series. Head-to-head records determine tiebreakers for playoff seeding.

Whether Wall misses a game or not, this is another obstacle in a season full of minor injuries for Wall. He missed the game against the Raptors because he sprained his left shoulder in the game before. He has had migraines, has been sick and now he can't shake this fluid buildup in his left knee. After a full offseason of being healthy, all of a sudden Wall is having some tough luck.

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John Wall said he could 'barely move' vs. Heat due to residual fluid buildup in his left knee

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John Wall said he could 'barely move' vs. Heat due to residual fluid buildup in his left knee

John Wall didn't score until there were five minutes left in the Wizards' narrow loss to the Heat. His lack of offensive production stood out as Washington struggled to catch up to Miami at Capital One Arena Friday. 

After the game, Wall blamed fluid buildup in his left knee for his inability to contribute. 

He told the assembled media that he could "barely move" at the beginning of the game. 

The knee ailment dates back to IVs he received this past weekend, Wall said. This isn't the first time he's mentioned the issue, either. 

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It first came up in a walkoff interview he did with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller after the Wizards' win over the Kings. 

With road games in Toronto, Milwaukee and Charlotte next on the schedule, it's possible the Wizards training staff could consider resting Wall as a precaution.