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Carrick Felix earns Wizards' final roster spot after long journey back to NBA

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Carrick Felix earns Wizards' final roster spot after long journey back to NBA

Shooting guard Carrick Felix has plans to be a motivational speaker once he retires from the game of basketball and now he has quite the testimonial to tell.

After three long years, two rehabbing a devastating knee injury, Felix is officially back in the NBA. He was told on Sunday that he earned the final roster spot on the Washington Wizards.

Felix's story is as interesting as they get. He was a second round pick in 2013 and played seven games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2013-14 season. A broken left knee cap then took his career off track. 

Last season, Felix caught on with the Long Island Nets of the D-League. He played 34 games and did enough to earn a training camp invitation from the Wizards. Now at Age 27, he's back in the NBA and ready for his second season.

"It's just a blessing looking at the overall picture, where I've been to where I'm at today. I'm just glad to be here with a good organization," he said. 

"He earned his spot. He wasn't given it," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I'm happy for him. He's a player that you want him to have success because he's had a tough time with injuries throughout his career. He's fought back and stayed positive and he kept working."

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Felix knew it was possible he had made the team when the Wizards waived guard Donald Sloan on Saturday. He knew his chances had improved once Sheldon Mac went down with an Achilles tear last Sunday against the Cavs.

But Felix didn't know it was official until he entered the Wizards' locker room on Sunday at Capital One Arena and center Ian Mahinmi congratulated him. The comeback, as long as it took, was complete.

Felix hadn't been able to tell his friends or family by the time he met with the media after practice.

"I'll definitely call my mom first and tell her the news. She'll be very happy," he said.

[RELATED: PODCAST - GET TO KNOW CARRICK FELIX]

Felix, in fact, has some D.C. roots. He lived on Bolling Air Force Base (now known as Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling) for several years as a kid before moving to the West Coast. Felix's father was in the Air Force and he still has family in the Washington area: an uncle, several cousins and his godmother.

It was a long journey to this point and now that Felix has returned to the NBA, new goals will be set. It's not a dream anymore. He's here and ready to contribute to the Wizards.

Brooks said the Wizards were intrigued by Felix's ability to guard point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. He's a hard-nosed defender and, with an improving three-point shot, can play the two and the three on offense.

Brooks and the Wizards believe Felix can make an impact with his high-energy style of play. Ask anyone with the Wizards about Felix and the word 'hustle' is likely to come up.

"It's always been the case for me," Felix said of his relentless effort. "I don't really notice it much. I've just always been programmed like that, since I was little, to just run around crazy until somebody blows the whistle. I just see it as playing basketball."

Felix has only seven NBA games under his belt. Technically he's been here before, it's just been a while.

[RELATED: CARRICK FELIX IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE NBA PLAYER]

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Wizards' offense stumbles without John Wall in loss to Raptors

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Wizards' offense stumbles without John Wall in loss to Raptors

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 100-91 on Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre. Here's analysis of what went down...

Not enough: The Wizards pulled off the upset earlier this month in Toronto when they were without star guard John Wall. On Sunday, there weren't as fortunate.

This time Kyle Lowry didn't get ejected in the first half and this time DeMar DeRozan (33 points, 15-for-26 FG) had a good shooting night. Bradley Beal (27 points) stepped up, but had five turnovers and didn't get much help from his teammates.

Otto Porter was held to 15 points and six rebounds. Those are decent numbers, but they needed more with Wall out. Markieff Morris had only three points on 1-for-10 shooting. Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) played well, to be fair.

The Wizards have now lost two straight games and sit 9-7 on the season. Without Wall, the Wizards were the underdogs but they were only down three to begin the fourth quarter. They were outscored 21-15 in the final frame.

The Raptors snapped the Wizards' streak of holding opponents to under 100 points at five games on a DeRozan dunk with just 54.7 seconds left.

Wall out, may miss Monday: The Wizards held Wall out due his swollen left knee and it could keep him out against the Bucks on Monday. That's what head coach Scott Brooks told reporters in Toronto before the game. The Wizards proved on Sunday they can still compete against good teams without Wall, but the road won't get any easier. 

The Bucks have a very good backcourt with Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton. After dealing with Kyle Lowry in this one, Tim Frazier will have to keep up with Bledsoe if Wall isn't available.

Frazier and Tomas Satoransky filled the void on Sunday with Wall out and produced mixed results. Frazier put up some solid numbers with six rebounds and eight assists, but had four turnovers, including a badly timed one with 2:10 left when he dribbled off his knee and out of bounds. Satoransky also had three turnovers, but managed four points, three rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes. His best moments were on defense.

The Wizards' offense overall just couldn't get going without Wall running the show. They shot 42 percent despite going 11-for-19 (57.9%) from three. Their 11-for-19 (57.3%) mark from the free throw line didn't help.

[RELATED: TIMING IS RIGHT FOR NBA TO END ONE-AND-DONE RULE]

Perimeter defense: Here's a positive for the Wizards. The Raptors entered this game tied for 10th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (10.9) and they chucked up a lot of attempts from long range. The Raptors hit 10 threes, but the Wizards deserve credit for holding them to 26.3 percent at 10-for-38 overall.

Three-point defense has been a big point of emphasis for the Wizards since Brooks took over. Last year they were 20th in opponents three-point percentage. They were eighth in the NBA coming into Sunday's game, a major improvement. 

The personnel is there for them to defend the perimeter well, even without Wall. Beal, Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. are all young, quick and long. So far this season they have been putting those skills to good use.

Injury scare for Keef: Markieff Morris took a hard shot to his nose in the first quarter on a loose ball play. Morris dove to the ground trying to get possession and his face slammed straight into the leg of Jonas Valanciunas. Morris would return in the second quarter and quickly hit a three.

Here's the replay of Morris' collision:

Ouch.

Up next: The Wizards head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Monday night. It will be their first back-to-back set of the season. They are the last team to have one. Tipoff is a 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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John Wall out against Toronto Raptors with swollen knee

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John Wall out against Toronto Raptors with swollen knee

For the second time this season the Wizards will be playing at the Toronto Raptors without star point guard John Wall.

Wall is sitting out this time due to a swollen left knee, head coach Scott Brooks announced on Sunday afternoon. Wall was limited in the Wizards' loss to the Heat on Friday night and said fluid had built up in his knee after he received IVs the previous weekend. 

The Wizards were able to beat the Raptors on the road on Nov. 5 without Wall. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was ejected from that game in the second quarter.

Without Wall, the Wizards will rely on backup point guards Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky. They could also use shooting guard Bradley Beal and small forward Otto Porter to run the offense. Kelly Oubre, Jr. could be used on the defensive end to check Lowry.

The Wizards are 2-3 without Wall dating back to last season. This year he is averaging 19.9 points and 9.3 assists per game this season.

The Wizards play the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday in a back-to-back set. Wall could miss that game as well, according to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.

[RELATED: SHOULD THE NBA END THEIR ONE-AND-DONE RULE?]