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Wizards fall to Heat in Miami, lose for first time in preseason

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USA Today Sports

Wizards fall to Heat in Miami, lose for first time in preseason

The Washington Wizards lost to the Miami Heat 117-115 in NBA preseason action on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena.

How it happened:

On Wednesday night, the Heat sat Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside, giving the Wizards yet another matchup that felt even more meaningless than the average preseason game.

While the Heat held out their stars, the Wizards played their regulars. The Wizards, in fact, rode their main rotation guys for the entire game. Tomas Satoransky didn't play and neither did Carrick Felix or Donald Sloan, the two guys fighting for the final roster spot. That was surprising, given the Wizards have a tough decision to make.

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Jason Smith started at power forward and had his best game of the preseason. He finished with a ridiculous 20 points in 22 minutes on 7-of-8 shooting.

John Wall had 16 points (7-for-12 FG) to go along with eight assists in 26 minutes. Bradley Beal had 15 points and four assists in 27 minutes. Otto Porter had 11 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes despite an uncharacteristic three turnovers. Marcin Gortat had eight points with three rebounds. Oubre finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes.

What it means: 

Judging by Brooks' minutes distribution, the Wizards may have treated this game as their final preseason warmup.

It would not be a surprise if they rested some of their starters on Friday and instead let guys like Felix and Sloan get extended minutes. 

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Smith finds his stroke: 

Smith hadn't shot well before Wednesday night after breaking out last year as a three-point threat.

Before facing the Heat, Smith was shooting 35.7 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three. Immediately, it was clear things were different in this game. He knocked down his first two threes and was 3-for-4 at the end of the first quarter. By the third quarter he had four threes in his first 15 minutes of play.

Smith's ability to shoot from three allows the Wizards to space out their offense much like they do with Markieff Morris on the floor. There were times when Smith was on the perimeter, spreading out the options for Wall with Beal and Porter also hunting outside looks.

Frazier looks good:

This was the first time we got to see Frazier, who was sidelined from the first three games with a groin strain. He had a heck of a debut with nine assists in 21 minutes.

Frazier found a rhythm early, but was dishing out dimes left and right in the fourth quarter. He had a nice bounce pass to Oubre for a layup and a crisp pass to Mike Scott at the elbow. Frazier also hit a smooth fadeaway with 5:20 left and took a charge with 4:43 remaining. For a guy who has been injured, that was a good example of why Brooks calls him a "gritty" player.

Looking Ahead:

The Wizards head to New York for their fifth and final preseason game. It's set for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Madison Square Garden.

There's a good chance the Wizards rest some of their best players.

We'll see if the Knicks play Kristaps Porzingis.

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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.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]

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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?]