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Morning tip: Basic principles of defense elude Wizards in loss

Morning tip: Basic principles of defense elude Wizards in loss

This record is as old as it is broken: The Wizards can't cover the pick-and-roll properly, and an offensively challenged team such as the Miami Heat simply relies on that action or straight isolations to get buckets.

The Heat (8-17) have scored 114 and 112 points in two wins in both meetings this season. Goran Dragic had a season-high 34 points. James Johnson came off the bench for 14 points.

They did it by unconventional standards in today's NBA, which has gone away from isolations in favor of more motion and ball movement on offense. 

"James Johnson came in the game, he changed the game with his aggressive play on both ends of the floor," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "All they were doing was just isolate and attacking. Dragic did the same thing, isolate and attack."

The perimeter defense for the Wizards (9-14) has been so sub-par that there's no need to get too creative with the offensive schemes. Just go at them and high-percentage shots are likely to come open.  

Teams aren't forced to go to their second or third option. The first one usually is the charm pending who and how they attack. 

"He got a lot of easy looks," Bradley Beal said of Dragic. "We were trying to figure out what we want to do with him on pick-and-rolls, and James Johnson."

The Heat used a small lineup with Johnson at center. Instead of Dragic setting up the pick-and-roll, it was Johnson as the initator and it caught the Wizards on their heels.

Johnson shot 6-of-9 from the field and had three assists, a role he had for most of the fourth quarter to help Miami regain the lead. 

"Never really dealt with a four or a five playing pick-and-roll, handling the ball, playing small the way they were," Beal said. 

Dragic overcame four fouls early in the third quarter as coach Erik Spoelstra mixed and matched his lineups. Dragic was too much to handle. The fundamentals by the Wizards were lacking which is why they failed to establish their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Instead of being more physical with their defense, the Wizards allowed the offense for the Heat to bully them. They got to the spots they wanted on the floor. They created the contact. They had the game played on their terms which was how they overcame 59 combined points from Beal and John Wall.

"We tried to go small. We tried to go big. We switched a lot," Brooks said. "We were getting beat off the dribble too much."

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' letdown vs. Heat]

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Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Whether it's good or bad, nothing the Wizards do is subtle. 

They'll score a million points and give up two million points. They'll beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without Bradley Beal but also blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Bulls. 

The Wizards had some turnover issues Friday night, but again, they're never subtle. 

Washington committed 28 turnovers on the way to a 29-point loss. Following the first seven minutes of play, the Wizards had seven turnovers and seven points. 

The last time the Wizards turned the ball over that much was April 2, 1994, in a 104-96 win over the Bucks. The last time an NBA team turned it over 28 times? The 2010 Suns. 

Nine Wizards players had multiple turnovers, while five players had at least three. 

Following Bradley Beal's comments criticizing the team's culture and need to develop winning habits, the Wizards' response left more than enough to be desired. Credit the Raptors defense utilizing their length and ball pressure to take advantage of when the Wizards were loose with the ball, but it takes more than good defense to turn it over 28 times. 

The bright side is this was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wizards. They currently average the 10th-fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, so there's a good chance they clean things up on Monday against the Pistons. 

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Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 140-111 on Friday night on the road. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. In case anyone was wondering how the Wizards would respond to Bradley Beal's strong comments about the team's culture, the answer is not well.

The Wizards barely put up a fight against the Toronto Raptors in a lopsided loss. They lost by 29 and trailed by as many as 33.

One reason was they committed 28 turnovers. They also allowed the Raptors to make 22 threes. That's the third-most allowed in one game by the Wizards in franchise history.

This was the Wizards' 41st game of the season. With a 13-28 record, they are on pace to win 26 games.

2. The Wizards didn't just lose this game, they may have lost backup shooting guard Jordan McRae for an extended period of time.

McRae stepped on a shoe at midcourt and rolled his left ankle. He immediately went down in obvious pain and had to be carried off the floor and into the locker room. 

It was reminiscent of the ankle injury Garrison Mathews suffered nearly two weeks ago. That one fortunately did not result in a fracture or ligament damage. He just had a bad ankle sprain.

Just like Mathews, McRae suffered his injury at a time when he was playing well and really coming into his own. Tough timing.

3. There weren't many positives for the Wizards in this one, but Isaac Bonga certainly was one. The second-year wing dropped a career-high 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a steal. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive end.

Bonga shot 6-for-9 from the field and hit two threes. His continued development as a scorer has been impressive to watch this season.

4. Davis Bertans is such a good shooter that when he releases the ball, it is expected to go in. Even rarer, it seems, he misses two in a row.

Every once in a while, once in a blue moon, he has a legitimate off-shooting night. Friday was one of those nights. Bertans had 12 points and shot 3-for-11 from three.

Per usual of late, Bertans wasn't exactly open due to his place on the scouting report but he got decent looks. Many of his threes clanged off the front of the rim. 

Maybe he had tired legs. Whatever it was, the Latvian Laser didn't have it like he usually does.

5. The Isaiah Thomas experience has not been good as of late. The Wizards point guard at another bad game, this time with eight points in 16 minutes.

He just looked off; sluggish and making mental mistakes. That included two turnovers in the first quarter when he passed the ball as the shot clock expired.

Those decisions were inexcusable and in his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 8.5 points while shooting 34.4 percent. He has not been the same guy since coming back from his calf injury in mid-December. But it's been more than physical. His head hasn't seemed to be in the game like it was earlier this season.

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