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On this date in Wizards history: Paul Pierce called 'Game'

On this date in Wizards history: Paul Pierce called 'Game'

It feels like eons have passed since the Wizards were considered amongst the Eastern Conference's elite teams and had a clear path toward contending for an NBA Title. 

One of the most iconic moments in the recent memory of D.C. sports happened on this day, May 9, just five years ago.

In Game 3, with the series tied 1-1, the Wizards were undermanned without John Wall in the lineup heading into the first game at home. But despite his absence, the Wizards were able to muster up a 21-point lead over the Hawks, outscoring them throughout the first three quarters of the game. But a spirited run got the contest within arm's reach for Mike Budenholzer's squad, and with just 14.1 seconds remaining, the game was tied.

Pierce checked in for Otto Porter Jr. for the final possession of regulation to go along with Bradley Beal, Will Bynum, Ramon Sessions, and Marcin Gortat.

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Sessions inbounded the ball to a young Bradley Beal who cut out toward the three-point arc defended closely by Kent Bazemore. As time began to tick away, Bynum, currently set at the free throw stripe, swung out left to set an off-ball screen for Pierce who was stationed in the corner defended tightly by Kyle Korver. After the switch, it was Dennis Schroeder tasked with defending the former Jayhawk, who had a clear height advantage over the Hawks' defender with a little over six seconds remaining in regulation. Pierce pivoted with his back to Schroder, squaring up with the rim from just inside the three-point arc. 

With just 1.3 remaining on the game clock, Pierce squared up for the shot, as Bazemore shifted over to give help to the undersized Schroeder. As he released the ball, Pierce fell onto his back as the ball went right off the glass and into the cylinder, as his teammates swarmed him on the hardwood. 

As confetti fell from the rafters, Pierce, still on his back with both arms raised diagonally, had single-handedly lifted the spirits of every single fan in attendance at the then-called Verizon Center, and to the day the loudest I have ever heard the arena. 

At the age of 37, Pierce walked up to then-ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard for the postgame interview where the latter proceeded to ask the future Hall of Famer if he "called bank" after the shot went off the glass of the backboard.

Pierce, catching his breath after the biggest shot of the Wizards' season then replied.

"Nah. I called game."

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Hollywood Brown and Lamar Jackson 'are going to set their own mark in history'

Hollywood Brown and Lamar Jackson 'are going to set their own mark in history'

The Ravens 2019 campaign came to an early end in the postseason when they were upset in the playoffs by the Tennessee Titans. But now that they're looking to run it back, one key player says he'll be back even stronger.

Marquise "Hollywood" Brown told Bleacher Report in an interview published this week that he was unable to perform at full capacity in his inaugural season due to a Lisfranc injury in his foot that he suffered during the 2018 Big 12 Championship.

"It was frustrating because I know what I can do and I'm making plays, but even when I'm making plays, it doesn't feel right," Brown said. "Everything. I had to try harder than I usually do. To run, for me, is easy. Last year, it wasn't easy. Every step was like, 'Ahhh...' I'm a rookie, so you don't want to think too much. And going out there, I was like, 'How am I going to react if I land on my foot? How am I going to get around him?' So there was a lot to think about."

Brown missed all of OTAs, minicamp, two weeks of training camp, and wasn't at 100 percent. He said that most players have the screws taken out after six months but since he didn't want to miss his rookie season, he found a middle ground by playing with them in for the full year.

"You watch my college film: Any time I caught any pass, I wanted to score," Brown said. "In the NFL, I catch a pass, and I went down on purpose. People always: 'Why are you going down? He's so scared.' I'm like, 'We'll see next year.' I just wanted to get to next year."

Despite the injury, Brown combined with Lamar Jackson to put up seven touchdowns in his rookie season. His teammates know that getting him back at full capacity will give the rest of the NFL more trouble stopping the Ravens' offense than normal.

"You can definitely compare them to Jerry Rice and (Joe) Montana or some of the other crazy combinations, QB-receiver duos," Ravens receiver Willie Snead IV told Bleacher Report. "I think these two are going to set their own mark in history."

Brown knows the team will have a chip on their shoulder in 2020.

"I'm going to make a statement this year," he says. "A big statement."

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2020 NFL Schedule: Redskins marking down Week 4 vs. Ravens

2020 NFL Schedule: Redskins marking down Week 4 vs. Ravens

The Redskins 2020 schedule was unveiled Thursday night and while the season is a long ways away, one game sticks out to several members of the Burgundy and Gold, and that would be Week 4 at home against Baltimore.

"I think I'm most excited about going against the MVP, Lamar Jackson," Chase Young told Fred Smoot during the Redskins Schedule Release show. "I feel like that's the MVP, that's the best, so I'm definitely looking forward to going against the best, and giving the best shot I can give."

The Redskins first-round pick from last month's draft had previously told media that he was looking forward to facing Jackson, and he will get his shot at the reigning MVP in Week 4.

Adrian Peterson knows that facing the AFC North is going to be a challenge this season and that all starts with No. 8.

"It's a strong division, Peterson said. "You got some talent over there, Lamar, obviously MVP of the league, and it shows, he's spectacular. I'm not going to lie, I'll be watching him. I won't be sitting down there on the bench. I'll be watching him, I'll see what he's got, up close and personal."

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When the Redskins host the visiting Ravens on October 4, Ryan Kerrigan also knows facing Jackson will be no easy task.

"We up front have to be on our "p"s and "q"s," Kerrigan told Larry Michael. "It's not just fly around and rush with no awareness, we got to rush but also keep in mind that we got to keep No. 8 in the pocket, because Lamar Jackson, as dangerous as he is with his arm, he's electric with his legs."

The Beltway Battle will be a fun one to watch.

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