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Film study: How Wizards' starters and reserves overwhelm Raptors

Film study: How Wizards' starters and reserves overwhelm Raptors

The pounding that the Wizards gave the Toronto Raptors was reminiscent of some of their previous matchups, except it went the other way around. Tonight, the season series -- and crucial tiebreaker for playoff seeding, if necessary -- is on the line.

Let's take a quick look at what went so right for the Wizards and so wrong for the Raptors in Wednesday's 105-96 result at Air Canada Centre.

It was the Wizards' retooled second unit, led by Bojan Bogdanovic, Jason Smith, Kelly Oubre, Tomas Satoransky and Ian Mahinmi that inspired a 26-3 run in a game that never was close after the midway point of the second quarter.

Markieff Morris on both ends

I’ve addressed in detail how/why the Wizards have long solved their stretch four problem. Morris is back to his earlier season form, post foot and ankle injuries, where he’s not just holding his own but getting the edge. He's gotten the better of Serge Ibaka all season, including his three games with the Orlando Magic.

Mahinmi’s rim protection

“That’s why I’m here. That’s why they brought me here.” OK, that was Paul Pierce and Mahinmi isn’t Paul Pierce. But this rim protection and intimidation, a missing element because Marcin Gortat is a position defender rather than a shot-blocker, is what they had in mind when signing him this offseason. Mahinmi played a season-high 21 minutes vs. Toronto:

Perfect switches on DeMar DeRozan & company

He's an elite scorer despite not being a very good three-point shooter (25.3%), but he makes his living by getting defenders to bite on his variety of ball fakes. It requires discpline to not send DeRozan to the foul like 20 times a game. The Wizards switched on him constantly and kept tall and long defenders like Morris, Oubre and Otto Porter in his face constantly. DeRozan may still get his points (24) but if he's off he'll disrupt Toronto's offense with high volume shooting at lower percentages.

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards PG Jennings]

No idea how to cover Bradley Beal

From the get-go, Beal had too much space to operate. He was screened free and went unidentified in transition. The Raptors treated him like Satornasky. Beal was constantly moving and early on ran the offense while John Wall actually was off the ball.

Bogdanovic more than a three-point shooter

Don't be deceived by his 6-for-7 for a season-high 27 points. Bogdanovic is much more than that on the offensive end. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot forward, in the mold of Jared Dudley last year or Trevor Ariza before then. Bogdanovic has more variety offensively so if a defender doesn’t chop his steps and only sells out to take away the three-point look, he’ll be beaten. And he runs perfect routes that get him going full speed curling into the lane. He can finish at the rim and through contact. 

Satoransky running the offense

He doesn't have to score to be effective. With Bogdanovic and company making all the shots, it takes the pressure off Satoransky to try to do more than necessary. He just has to get the Wizards in their offense early, survey all of their options and make sure they exploit the best ones. He'll get easy shots to get up his confidence when others consistently make theirs.

[RELATED: Morris demands better focus from Wizards -- and himself]

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Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says


Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.




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John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy and so do Josh Norman and Wale

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John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy and so do Josh Norman and Wale

The 2018 MLB All-Star celebrity softball game produced an unlikely friendship, one between an NBA superstar and one of the world's most famous scientists.

Perhaps friendship is a strong word, but for whatever reason, Wizards All-Star guard John Wall loves him some Bill Nye the Science Guy.

During the game, Nye — who grew up in the D.C. area and is a Nationals fan — poked and infield single and Wall celebrated like Kelly Oubre, Jr. just threw down a windmill dunk. He ran out to first base to congratulate Nye, who, at 62 years old can apparently still swing a bat.

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and rapper Wale joined Wall to celebrate:

Perhaps Wall was caught up in the absurdity of the entire event, which is by all means absurd. Wall was on a team with Nye, Tim Kurkjian, Jennie Finch, Andre Dawson and many other celebrities. They were playing opposite a team with Jamie Foxx and Jess Mendoza.

The whole thing was bizarrely fun and Wall and Nye's moment certainly stood out.

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