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Heat remain beast of the east


Heat remain beast of the east

With the pressure of winning his first NBA title off his back, Lebron James and the Miami Heat are looking to repeat next season and they wasted no time in the off-season adding more talent to the fold to strengthen their roster. Withthesignings of sharp-shooter Ray Allen and former Wizards' forward Rashard Lewis, the Heat brought on veteran scorers who can spread the floor with their ability to shoot the ball, especially from three-point range.

Allen, the NBA's all-time leader in three-point shots made, still has a lot of game left in his 37-year old legs, coming off a season in which he averaged 14 points a game in Boston. When in a zone, Allen is one of the most feared jump shooters in the game. Allen has shot an impressive 40 percent from beyond the arc for his career and he would likely come off the bench as the Heat's sixth man next season. James, last season's MVP of the league, and guard Dwyane Wade are two of the best in the league at breaking down defenders -- and with Allen perched on the wing waiting to stroke a three, the Heat's offense is vastly improved.

The Heat are takingmoreof a gamble with Lewis who is coming off an injury-plagued season in D.C. in which the 33-year old played in only 26 games because of sore knees and averaged just 8 points a game. Lewis is clearly on the down side of his career with father time catching up to the former all-star, but perhaps a winningenvironmentin Miami canre-energizethe 6'-10" small forward. Lewis is a career 39 percent three-point shooter, can play multiplepositions and can defend anyone from shooting guards to power forwards.

The big three of James, Wade and ChrisBoshcertainly are the straws that stir the drinks in South Beach but they didn't win the title without the help of role players who stepped in at critical times. Who can forget Mike Miller's 7 three-pointers made in the Game 5 clinching win over Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals?Miller returns along with Shane Battier who also stepped up his game in the post-season to help the Heat with his shooting and defense.

The Heat had a late first-round draft pick this summer but they traded it away for future considerations. The Heat are the clear-cut favorites to win the NBA title again next season as the start to something good got even better, specifically with the addition of Allen.

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Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- It might be quite a while before we see John Wall on the court playing for the Wizards again.

It was already well-known Wall will miss extended time as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon, a rehab that usually takes at least 11 months. But it is starting to sound more and more like he won't play in the 2019-20 season at all.

Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis shared that harsh reality on Monday during a press conference at Capital One Arena.

"Our highest-paid player, our five-time All-Star, may not play at all next year. He probably won't play at all next year," Leonsis said.

If Wall follows the general timeline for the surgery, he could come back sometime early in 2020. A 12-month recovery would have him return in early February.

If Wall missed all of next season, he would return to start the 2020-21 campaign after a 20-month recovery. That would be nearly double the rehab time many players have taken for the same injury over the years. He would be 30 years old by then.

But Wall and the Wizards have reason to be extra patient. He is entering the first season of a four-year, $170 million supermax contract. Punting the first year, even if he is making $38 million, could be worth it in the long run if it means he returns to his All-Star form.

The Wizards are also likely to have a gap year of sorts anyways. They retooled their roster with young, inexperienced players. The odds they make the playoffs this season are lower than they have been in years. The Wizards are taking the long view and they know getting Wall's rehab right is paramount.

Leonsis and team officials currently get daily reports on Wall's progress. After making the supermax investment, they are taking extra measures to ensure he is holding up his end of the bargain. The Wizards closely monitor his weight and have a rotation of physical therapists working with him every day.

If it were up to Wall, he would be more likely to return next season. The team is the side taking extra caution.

"Trust me, nobody wants to get back to the court more than John Wall," GM Tommy Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington. 

"But I've tried to manage this with him and say there is no calendar or clock that is going to tell you to come back. You're going to come back when you're 100 percent healthy. Anybody who has watched him in the playoffs play with broken hands and all of the aches and pains he's had over the years and he still showed up and played at a high, high level. You know you need to monitor him a little more than most. That's the kind of player that is going to try to sneak back on the court any time he can."

What Leonsis said publicly has been the belief behind the scenes in the Wizards organization for quite some time. They are preparing for next season as if he won't play, 

"We have to see if John Wall comes back and how he looks and how he plays," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington. "If John Wall can come back at 80 percent the year after [in 2020-21], I would be really happy because then we would have a great, great backcourt."


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SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

Fans of both crossword puzzles and the Washington Wizards had a leg-up when completing the New York Times crossword puzzle on Sunday. 

The clue: "Wizards, but not witches."

The answer: 7 letters, "NBATEAM." 

This isn't the first time famous crosswords have included sports-related clues. The Washington Post and LA Times have used Bobby Orr as an answer many of times (trust me, we always have a half-finished crossword puzzle hiding somewhere in our living room). 

But athletes aren't the only answers to clues. Remember when the Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan revealed the Washington Capitals' "cult of crossword men" back in 2016?

The New York Times even published a list of the top-10 sports names to know for crossword fanatics everywhere. 

Just further proof that sports continue to permeate every aspect of life.