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Was Wizards-Warriors a good or bad loss for the Wizards? A debate of both sides

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Was Wizards-Warriors a good or bad loss for the Wizards? A debate of both sides

Let's set aside the fight between the Wizards and Warriors and discuss the aftermath of the game itself. Was it a loss the Wizards can feel good about, or a bad one they will look back on with regret? Keely Diven and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington debate...

Keely Diven: The Wizards' loss to the Warriors was a net win. It was positive column, if we’re making an Excel table out of this.  Entertain my logic for a hot second—you haven't said anything yet but I know you won't like this borderline 'moral victories' take.

The game was good for the Wizards because 1) It was fun as hell. Can I say that? That's why we’re all here and stuff. Toss out the NBA analyst pocket square for a second. Fight-hugs, wild shots, jawing, thunder jams—those are basketball fan gateway drugs. I want to watch the Wizards more and more and not stop watching them. 2) The Warriors are the best team to stalk the league since Jordan’s Bulls. The Wizards beating the snot out of them for the first 3.5 quarters felt so good, I was able to stomach the fact that they eventually allowed a run without Bradley Beal. Oh I have one more point. 

3) Beal is no punk. Everyone in the NBA will think twice before elbowing him in the stomach now. And let’s be honest: Everyone wants to smack Draymond. Beal just went and did the darn thing.

[RELATED: WIZARDS' TOUGH IDENTITY BACKFIRED VS. WARRIORS]

Chase Hughes: The Wizards measured up well against the Warriors, which many teams cannot do, but this is a loss that will stick with them because they know a win against the best team in the NBA slipped out of their hands. Plus, they lost an 18-point lead.

With Markieff Morris already out, they couldn’t afford also losing Beal. The fact they were close at the end will make Beal regret his actions even more. 

In the fourth quarter, too much of the onus was put on John Wall and Otto Porter. If Beal was on the court, maybe they win. Now the Wizards sit 3-2 on the year and 1-2 on their road trip. Even if they Beat the Kings on Sunday and split this road swing, they will head home knowing they should have beaten the Lakers and could have topped the defending champion Warriors. Calling it a ‘bad’ loss may be strong, but it’s not a good loss in my opinion.

KD: Yes. One-hundred percent, absolutely no wriggling out of this, the Wizards should have won. It was right there! And they did some bone-headed things on the way down, too, like reach-around smack Draymond in the face.

Then Wall took that a heat-check 3 at the top of the shot clock with only a few fuzzy seconds at the bottom of my pocket left in the game. Woof. That's Wizards-era Nick Young territory. BUT, we had fun didn't we? Admit it, that's the most fun 3-2 start ever. And the reasons they lost are fixable.

CH: It has definitely been a fun start and the positive to draw from this game is that the Wizards have a new rivalry. It's, like, the seventh they have brokered in the last calendar year but this is already up there with the best. It's just a shame they don't play each other more often as members of different conferences.

The month of February in D.C. is objectively the worst because of the brutal cold weather. Anyone who says August can't be trusted. But the rematch between these teams on Feb. 28 actually gives us reason to look forward to February. Imagine that.

[RELATED: WALL'S SHOT, FIGHT HIGHLIGHTED WIZARDS-WARRIORS]

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After getting little rest during All-Star break, Bradley Beal aims to be smart in second half

After getting little rest during All-Star break, Bradley Beal aims to be smart in second half

If anyone on the Wizards deserves some time off to rest it's Bradley Beal, who currently ranks fifth in the NBA in total minutes played. While his teammates were off on vacation, many of them at relaxing beaches far away, Beal was making appearance after appearance in Los Angeles as part of All-Star weekend.

The one drawback of Beal being selected as an All-Star and a contestant in the three-point contest was that he got little rest in the past week. He only made it one round in the three-point contest and played 16 minutes in the All-Star Game, but all of it was enough to soak up much of the free time he's used to getting this time of the year.

"Not as much as I needed to," Beal said when asked if he got any rest over the break. "I guess that's one of the downfalls of being an All-Star."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

The workload has really added up for Beal. He leads the Wizards in minutes (36.4/g) and is one of two players on the team who hasn't missed a game all season.

Beal did have Monday and Tuesday off, but that was after a crosscountry flight and a whirlwind of a weekend. He called the media and sponsorship appearances "overwhelming." Many All-Stars have been there before and know what to expect, but Beal was a first-time participant.

Beal and the Wizards will be given no breaks with their upcoming schedule. They have four back-to-back sets in the next three weeks and begin with a stretch of five games in seven days. Those games will feature the Cavs, Warriors, Bucks, Sixers and the Hornets. Charlotte is the only team of that bunch currently out of the playoff picture, but they have already beaten the Wizards twice this season.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

For Beal, it will be extra important to get any rest that he can.

"I will definitely be smart," he said. "I just gotta take care of my body. Listen to my body."

Beal says getting treatment from the Wizards' training staff in between games will be crucial. He also hopes to not over-exert himself in games by trusting his teammates and not trying to carry the load with John Wall out.

Though Beal may be tired from the weekend, he came out of it feeling pretty good about how he represented himself and the Wizards on the All-Star stage. He scored 14 points in 16 minutes in a game featuring the best players on the planet.

Beal now wants to make it an annual thing.

"I defintiely think it can push you more down the line. For me, it's just motivation to continue geting better," he said.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

 

 

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Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

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Scott Brooks preparing Wizards for much tougher road ahead

The Wizards entered the All-Star break having won seven of their previous nine games since John Wall went down with an injury, so a natural question to head coach Scott Brooks looking ahead to their first game back on Thursday was how he and his team can keep that momentum going in the second half.

Brooks immediately pointed to the Wizards' schedule, which gets notably more difficult in the coming weeks. They have a stretch of games over the next month-plus that features the best teams in basketball and Brooks knows that will be a big factor in whether they can sustain what they have going.

"Definitely the schedule gets tougher," Brooks said. "We've got a lot of good teams coming up starting with the first one in Cleveland. It's five games in seven nights against really good teams."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

In the next five weeks, the Wizards will play 15 of 17 games against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Cavaliers, Warriors, Celtics, Spurs (twice), Raptors and Timberwolves. 

That will represent a marked shift for the Wizards, who to this point have the weakest strength of schedule. Though they boast impressive wins over the Celtics, Rockets, Raptors and Timberwolves, they are about to play teams of that caliber more frequently with few nights off to rest. They have four back-to-back sets all in the next three weeks.

The upcoming stretch has been on the Wizards' minds for a while. Several players referenced their tough schedule before the All-Star break, knowing those wins leading up to the time off could prove extra important in hindsight.

The Wizards return to action on Thursday night against the Cavaliers, a team that has already beaten them twice. Both of those games were against the old version of the Cavs before they traded much of their roster at the deadline.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Gone are Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and Channing Frye. But they still have that guy LeBron James.

"Shoot, they looked good the other time, right? They beat us twice with the other group," Brooks noted. "LeBron is going to go down as one of the best ever. They are younger and more athletic. They're a good team and they still have an All-Star in [Kevin] Love who hasn't played because he's hurt."

The Cavs haven't lost in three games since the All-Star break and that includes road wins over the Celtics and Thunder. They look rejuvenated and, at least so far, improved from the aging, incongruent roster they had just weeks ago.

The Wizards have also been playing better lately, of course, and this upcoming stretch will be a major test for them. Wall has been out three weeks since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is likely to miss another three-to-five weeks. The Wizards will have to get through this without him.

If they can remain competitive and even beat some of these elite teams, they will only gain more confidence in their potential. That's the way Brooks plans to approach the schedule.

"We still want to be a better team when John comes back," Brooks said. "But the schedule definitely gets a lot tougher."

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS