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Bradley Beal goes off, but Wizards fall to Suns in tough loss

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Bradley Beal goes off, but Wizards fall to Suns in tough loss

The Washington Wizards lost to the Phoenix Suns 122-116 on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. Here is analysis of what went down...

Another tough loss: Despite the benefit of two consecutive off days while their opponent was coming off a road game the night before, the Wizards couldn't keep pace with a young Suns team that made a late push to win their fourth game in their last five. The Wizards have now lost three of four with two of those coming against teams unlikely to make the playoffs. 

The Suns would be included in that category, though their growing collection of young talent was on display Wednesday night. T.J. Warren was unstoppable with 40 points and Devin Booker had 22. The Wizards dropped to 4-3 on the season and can't get Markieff Morris back soon enough.

The Wizards blew out the Kings on Sunday and this one looked headed in that direction when Washington led 32-15 after the first quarter, but the Suns dropped 37 in the second, cut the lead to three at the end of the third and took the lead at 10:44 in the fourth. The Wizards at one point held a 22-point advantage. They have led by double digits in all three of their losses this season.

Panda went off: Bradley Beal had himself a game and it was clear early he was in for a big night. Beal erupted for 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first quarter, including a perfect 2-for-2 from three. By the end of the third quarter he had 30 points and when it was over he had 40.

Beal again used the free throw line to rack up points, something we have seen more of from him this season. He started being more aggressive attacking the rim last year, but now he's even more confident drawing contact and the refs are rewarding him with foul calls. He got to the line 11 times and dropped in 10 of them. Beyond Beal, only two other Wizards players reached double figures: John Wall (21 points, six assists) and Mike Scott (12 points).

The Dundie goes to...: Just like he did in the previous two games, Scott made an instant and noticeable impact off the Wizards' bench. He got hot immediately in the first quarter with seven points in four minutes including a sweet stepback fadeaway. He also knocked down a three. Scott scored all of his 12 points in his first 11 minutes.

The Wizards bought low on Scott, but through seven games appear to be getting a version of him much closer to the guy who was a rotation mainstay in Atlanta a few years ago. He is looking to regain his form and so far, so good. The problem, though, is that his minutes are likely to dry up and quickly with Morris coming back. Head coach Scott Brooks will have to figure out what to do with him and Jason Smith and it may be a night-to-night thing based on matchups.

Booker is a bad dude: Booker is quickly developing into one of the league's best shooting guards. He held his own against Beal and the Wizards to help his team get the win. By now everyone knows he can shoot, but he can also throw down some nasty dunks.

Check this one he finished after driving by Wall:

Porter out: The Wizards were without two starters on Wednesday night, not just Morris who was serving out his one-game suspension from Friday night's fight against the Golden State Warriors. Otto Porter was also out due to a stomach virus. He was nowhere to be seen pregame or on the bench, meaning the Wizards are quarantining him to make sure whatever he has doesn't spread around the locker room. They obviously want to avoid that.

Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The game isn't on NBC Sports Washington, but we will have you covered with pregame shows starting at 6 p.m.


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

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

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters and the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wizards are heating up

The Wizards have won a season-high four straight games as they enter Friday night's matchup with the Heat. In all four of those games they have held opponents to under 100 points. Only the Celtics have had a longer such streak this season, they got to eight. If the Wizards make it one more game, they will push to five for the first time since 2015.

Five straight wins for the Wizards would also get them closer to some franchise history. The longest win streak in Wizards/Bullets history is just nine games. That's tied with the Orlando Magic for the shortest-longest win streak in franchise history for an NBA team. Five wins would put them more than halfway there.


Will Gortat bounce back?

Marcin Gortat has had some honest analysis of himself and the Wizards recently and he couldn't have been happy with his outing on Wednesday night. Gortat was held to just two points on 0-for-6 shooting and five rebounds. Meanwhile, his Heat counterpart Hassan Whiteside had 15 points and 21 rebounds.

Gortat is having a solid year overall, but consistency on the boards has eluded him. He hasn't reached double figures in rebounds in five straight games. In two of his last three games, he has topped out at two points. Look for Gortat to be extra-motivated against Miami.


How will the Heat respond?

After a close game in Miami on Wednesday, the Wizards and Heat will run it back on Friday night. Given the Heat lost the first meeting in this home-and-home set, they likely value this opportunity to get even. Add into the equation that the Heat thought the officiating favored the Wizards on Wednesday and they might be pretty fired up.

It's very difficult to sweep a good team like the Heat in a home-and-home series, so the Wizards will have their work cut out for them. If they can hold them off again and swing a win, the Wizards will be sitting pretty at 10-5 just in time for their road trip.


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LeBron James admits he's playing too many minutes after Draymond Green pointed it out

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LeBron James admits he's playing too many minutes after Draymond Green pointed it out

With Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson and Derrick Rose currently injured, LeBron James has had to take on a bigger workload with the Cavaliers. He's leading the NBA in minutes per game (38.1) and that's despite being 32 with his 33rd birthday coming up next month.

The minutes are so high for LeBron that Draymond Green of the Warriors is talking about it to the media. He was interviewed by USA Today recently and said: 

"My concern would be that LeBron is playing so many minutes right now... Yeah, he’s super human but eventually his super human powers go away."


Green is known for speaking his mind and LeBron doesn't always agree with him, but in this case he does. Here is what LeBron told Cleveland.com when he heard Green's comments:

“Draymond’s right... We want to get those minutes down for sure. But as of right now, we’ve had two point guards out and we’ve had some different lineup changes, so, I’ve had to play more minutes than I would like, and more minutes than my teammates would like me to have.”

Meanwhile, LeBron is showing no signs of slowing down. He's averaging 28.3 points, 8.7 assists, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks, all while shooting a career-best 57.9 percent from the field. 

Almost 40 minutes per night, however, is way too much and it comes into question how long LeBron can keep this up. Believe it or not, LeBron will slow down at some point and heavy minutes is one way to accelerate that process.

Now that LeBron has acknowledged he's playing too much, it will be interesting to see if Cavs coach Tyronn Lue makes an adjustment. It's not an easy call because the Cavs aren't playing very well right now.