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Lineup shuffling Wizards win; Seraphin leaves with calf injury


Lineup shuffling Wizards win; Seraphin leaves with calf injury

Recapping the Wizards first preseason win of the year, a 99-95 victory at Cleveland...

The basics: Making his first start in three preseason games, Bradley Beal scored 14 points, tying Jordan Crawford and Brian Cook with team-high honors while Jan Vesely assertively added 13.

As promised, Wizards coach Randy Wittman shook up the starting lineup, inserting Beal, Martell Webster and Jannero Pargo while bringing Crawford, Trevor Ariza and A.J Price off the bench. Of the new starters, only the poised rookie seemed to maintain his level of play. Crazy to think the 19-year-old Beal has been the most consistent Wizard during the preseason - but it's true. Outside of the St. Louis native innocently tweaking some stunned D.C. sports fans by tweeting out some Cardinals joy following Game 5's epic comeback against the Nationals, the kid has been rather spot on. Meanwhile the two highest plus-minus lines on the team belonged to Crawford (+14), whose skill set and demeanor are ultimately best suited for a sixth-man role, and Price (+11). Once again, Washington fell behind early and trailed by eight points after the first quarter, but the margin never ballooned into double figures.

Bumps, bruises and then some: Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the victory is that it came with so many out of action, especially up front. For the third straight game no Emeka Okafor (food poisoning), no Trevor Booker (sore left hamstring) and yes, no Nene or John Wall. Chris Singleton (right shoulder contusion) joined that dinged up group pregame. Just five minutes in, center Kevin Seraphin did as well with a right calf strain. He never returned, leaving non-roster invitee Shavlik Randolph (nine rebounds) to start the second half at center. Remember when the question entering the camp was how would the Wizards find playing time for everyone up front...

The point guards: Pargo is the most experienced and the most offensively potent of the lead guard options, but over the last two games, he's also been the most turnover-prone. In just over 16 minutes against Cleveland, the 33-year-old committed six turnovers (with two assists), the same amount he coughed up against New York on Thursday. Meanwhile Shelvin Mack (nine points, three assists in 20 minutes) continues to value possession as the rising second-year guard has not committed a single turnover during the preseason. Mack, who sank 4 of 6 shots and continues performing at a higher level when not tasked with initiating the attack, also formed a nice duo with Crawford (seven assists, five turnovers), who has no issue with the attack initiating angle. Price finished with seven points and one assist in 11 minutes.

Kyrie Irving (nine points, seven assists) did play for the Cavaliers, but did not take over the game and missed 10 of 13 field goal attempts.

Jan Vesely: Here's a portion of what Wittman said Thursday after Vesely's tepid two points, four rebound performance against the Knicks.

"Jan’s got to be more aggressive. Right now, he’s  a little tentative when he’s rolling to the basket and finishing at the rim. It’s not with the authority that we’ve seen."

That was not the case for Vesely against Anderson Varejao and the Cavaliers other bigs. He made all five of his field goal attempts including two jumpers outside of 12 feet, but also stuck his nose into the fray on the boards and defensively with two blocks. Pulling down five rebounds in 32 minutes won't cut it on a regular basis and he's hardly got it all figured out offensively, but this level of effort should keep Vesely in the playing rotation on a regular basis even when all hands are on deck.

In the bonus...Ariza finished 2 of 6 from the field and is now shooting a brick-laying 23.8 percent during preseason...There might not be a roster spot available for Cook (3 of 6 from beyond the arc) when all the injured return, but the NBA veteran is reminding the coaches he can fill the stretch-four role if needed...The Wizards return to action Monday (7:30 p.m.; televised on Comcast SportsNet) against the Brooklyn Nets in the brand new Barclays Center.

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Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Hey Wizards - don't fall for this CJ McCollum crossover

Here's an important thing for the Wizards to avoid when facing off against Portland on Monday night: This CJ McCollum crossover.

As seen in this video by our friends at NBC Sports Northwest, the Trail Blazers' player sent a Spurs defender flying - much to the delight of the Portland bench - with the move.


"It wasn't even one of my better crossovers," he said after his team's win. "Honestly, he just reacted."


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By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

By the numbers: Bradley Beal on pace to become one of NBA history's best three-point shooters

Bradley Beal topped Gilbert Arenas for first place in career three-pointers in Wizards/Bullets franchise history on Saturday night in the Wizards' loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Beal, only 25, has put himself in some good company over the years with his outside shooting. Here are some numbers to put it all in perspective.

By The Numbers: Bradley Beal's historic shooting numbers

2,208: Beal made his record-breaking, 869th three on his 2,208th attempt. It took Arenas 2,430 attempts to get there in a Wizards uniform. Arenas, however, reached the mark in 357 games compared to Beal's 408. Beal, now at 2,209, is second on the franchise list for career three-pointers attempted. Based on his career attempts averages, he should get there this season.

100: Beal has made at least 100 three-pointers in five straight seasons entering 2018-19. That is a franchise record. The longest such active streak is held by Jamal Crawford at 14. The longest streak in NBA history is held by Ray Allen at 17.

39.4: Beal's career three-point percentage. He is one of only five players ever to shoot at least 39 percent from beyond the arc while making two or more threes per game in their careers. The others are Kyle Korver, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield, who has only played in 164 games compared to Beal's 408.

223: Beal set the franchise record for three-pointers made in a single season back in 2016-17. He passed Arenas, who twice got to 205, in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

41: Beal also passed Arenas for the most games in franchise history with five or more three-pointers made. Arenas is in second with 40, while Trevor Ariza is in a distant third with 15. Otto Porter Jr., for comparison, has done it nine times. Beal's 41 games with five threes or more rank 18th among active players. Curry is way ahead of everyone else with 183.

37: Beal is one of just eight players ever to begin his career with six straight seasons of 37 percent or better from three. The other seven is mostly a who's who of three-point specialists like Curry, Thompson, Korver and J.J. Redick.

20: Shooting 37 percent or better from three while also scoring 20 points or more is rarer than you may think. Beal has done it twice in his career, same as LeBron James, Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard. Only 11 players have accomplished the feat more often. Dirk Nowitzki has done that in nine seasons, most all-time, while Kevin Durant is second with eight.

872: Speaking of Durant, this isn't a historic number, it's just an interesting coincidence. Since Beal entered the league before the 2012-13 season, he and Durant have been nearly identical as three-point shooters. Beal has made 870 threes, while Durant has knocked down 872. Beal has shot 39.4 percent, while Durant has hit 39.6 of them. Another guy who has been extremely similar to Beal is Danny Green, who now plays for the Raptors. He has hit 858 threes during that span at a 39.2 percent rate.