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After keeping ankle injury quiet, John Wall is back

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After keeping ankle injury quiet, John Wall is back

NEW ORLEANS -- The numbers tell the story. John Wall has returned to All-Star form though it's difficult for the point guard to be celebratory about anything. Friday, they lost yet again and dropped to 9-12 despite him almost getting another triple-double.

"The effort we're giving, we're not coming out with a win," Wall said after falling 107-105 to the New Orleans Pelicans in a game they led by seven with six minutes left. "I don't care if I'm averaging 30 and 30. I'm not winning, it doesn't mean anything to me."

Wall was terrible during one stretch early in the season when he had eight turnovers twice. But in seven games in December, Wall is averaging 27.4 points on shooting 55% (73 of 133), 10.1 assists and 2.7 steals.

"Got a little healthy, that's the most important thing, being more aggressive. My ankle was pretty sore, my knee was pretty sore," Wall said before tipoff Friday.

The knee was known about. Wall had a collision a week ago when he ran into Jeremy Evans of the Dallas Mavericks. He already had a bruise on his right knee and that made it worse though he didn't miss a game. The ankle issue explains why he posted shooting performances like 6 of 17, 6 of 16, 4 of 13 and 5 of 14. 

In one of the Wizards' signature wins, a 102-99 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs, is when Wall hurt the right ankle. To his credit, at no point did he ever speak up for himself when the Wizards lost three consecutive games after that by an average of 21 points. And he didn't want anyone else to do it on his behalf, either.

"I play with injuries most of my career. ... I've sprained it about five straight times," said Wall, who now wears a compression sleeve on the ankle. "I'm not a guy that wants to make excuses. If I have a bad game, like I told you all, until I play better we won't do well. I'm not making excuses, if I'm playing like (expletive), I'm playing like (expletive)."

Wall assumed the responsibility and responded with a season-high 35 points in a win at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 1. 

"That's why I didn't have lift," Wall said about his lack of shooting accuracy. "If I'm going to bitch and complain, sit out."

If the situation with the ankle arises again, Wall won't be able to because backcourt mate Bradley Beal has a sore lower right leg which could keep him out extended time. The Wizards haven't won consecutive games in almost a month.

MORE WIZARDS: Pelicans clip Wizards with 107-105 victory: five takeaways

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4

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