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John Wall explains 'Wolf Season' and its connection to Michael Jackson

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NBC Sports Washington

John Wall explains 'Wolf Season' and its connection to Michael Jackson

Wizards star John Wall spent his offseason using the cryptic hashtag #wolfseason on workout photos posted to Instagram, leaving his fans and the media to fill in the blanks. Then, after helping the Wizards beat the Sixers on opening night last week, he proclaimed that it's 'Wolf Season' and only added "just keep watching" when asked for an explanation.

Well, now we have that explanation from the man himself and it has a connection to Michael Jackson. Wall appeared on the Wizards Tipoff podcast over the weekend and told the backstory. The name was created by his childhood friend and security guard Dave 'Flave' Best. 

"I'm in Wolf Mode. I'm on the attack," Wall said.

The whole idea revolves around his main purpose for ramping up his offseason workouts this summer. He wanted to get into better shape with the end of playoff games in mind.

"The beginning of games, that I'm great with. Sometimes coach might play me a full 24 or a full 12 minutes, whatever me might do. I've gotta prepare myself and I think that's what I trained this summer for, to do that," he said.

Wall, 27, went through the preseason and has now played two regular season games. The early returns, he said, are noticeable. 

RELATED: JOHN WALL ON LONZO BALL: 'IT'S NOT THE SON'S FAULT'

"I feel great, just being in better shape and being able to commit myself on both ends of the floor," he said. "I'm just trying to make it tough on defenders and making big stops."

Defense is a big part of it and it's clear Wall is focusing heavily on that area of his game. He couldn't help but bring up one specific play in the Wizards' second game against the Pistons where he wasn't happy with his performance.

"I think I played great defensively yesterday other than that one big three I gave up to Avery [Bradley] when we was up 113-108," he said.

So, how does this relate to the 'King of Pop?' Wall says part of Wolf Season is 'Thrilla Mode,' an ode to when Jackson turned into a wolf in the music video for the classic 'Thriller.'

"When I used the later picture, that was what it was for, to turn into a wolf," Wall said, referencing an Instagram post from September. 

Michael Jackson Thrilla Mode spilling sauce everywhere I go !! #WallWay #5Deep #BYB #WolfWall

A post shared by johnwall (@johnwall) on

"That's Wolf Season, just locked in," he said.

Between 'Death Row D.C.' and Wolf Season/Thrilla Mode, Wall and the Wizards have good taste in the music they draw inspiration from.

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

And for more on Wolf Season, check out Chris Miller's video on what it means for the rest of the NBA:

RELATED: WALL SAYS HE'S THE BEST SHOT-BLOCKING PG... EVER

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John Wall out against Toronto Raptors with swollen knee

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USA Today Sports

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?]

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Wizards at Raptors: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards at Raptors: 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 afternoon.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 3:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 3 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Will Wall play?

The Wizards could play at the Raptors without their star point guard for the second time this season. John Wall was limited against the Miami Heat on Friday night due to fluid buildup in his left knee and his status is up in the air. The Wizards have a back-to-back set with the Raptors on Sunday and the Bucks on Monday and it would not be a surprise if he missed one of those games.

If Wall can't go against the Raptors, the Wizards will again rely heavily on Tim Frazier. Tomas Satoransky should get some burn, but also look for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up. Head coach Scott Brooks had them generate the offense at times in the first meeting between the teams and it worked well enough to earn them a win. 

[RELATED: WAIT...WHAT'S 'WOLF SEASON?']

Defense will get a good test

The biggest reason the Wizards are 4-1 in their past five games is their defense. In each of those outings they have held their opponents to under 100 points. In Toronto, however, they will see a better offensive team than they did in any of their previous five games.

The Raptors can score with the best of them. They rank third in the NBA in points per game (111.1) and third in offensive rating (113.2). They have the second-best team field goal percentage (48.7) and are tied for 10th in three-pointers made per game (10.9). DeMar DeRozan leads the charge. He's averaging 24.7 points on 47.3 percent shooting. Last time these teams played, the Wizards held DeRozan to 8-for-21 from the field.

[RELATED: HOW MAHINMI LOST WEIGHT, WHY HE LOVES D.C.]

Raptors have some injuries

Toronto won't be feeling sorry for Wall and the Wizards. They have their own injuries to worry about, most notably with Serge Ibaka who like Wall has a swollen left knee. Ibaka missed Friday night's win over the Knicks and is questionable for Sunday's matchup.

Beyond Ibaka, the Raptors are also missing point guard Delon Wright, who is out with a dislocated shoulder. Shooting guard Norman Powell could also miss Sunday's game with a hip pointer. He has been out in three straight games.

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