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Morning tip: Beal came up with Wizards' 'all-black' idea, and delivered

Morning tip: Beal came up with Wizards' 'all-black' idea, and delivered

The Wizards did something on Tuesday night that is rather remarkable for a regular season game. By announcing publicly they would wear all black before their matchup with the Celtics, then following through on that promise with a full and organized effort, they set an expectation for themselves that could have gone horribly wrong. After the message they sent, the potential for a massive embarrassment was there.

The all-black initiative made national news and if they had lost, there would have been many jokes at their expense. Yet, instead of succumbing to all of the pressure they laid forth by themselves, the Wizards answered the call. They walked the walk and came away with one of their more impressive wins of the season, a 123-108 beatdown of Boston.

Perhaps nobody had more on the line than Bradley Beal, who came up with the idea in the first place. When the Wizards needed him most, in the fourth quarter, he stepped up and rose to the challenge he and his teammate had set.

After the Celtics chopped the Wizards' lead to eight points in the fourth quarter, Beal scored 11 of their next 13 in just over three minutes. Included in that was an emphatic slam dunk on a fastbreak and a tough and-1 layup over Marcus Smart, the same player who broke Beal's nose almost a year prior to date.

Beal sized him up, conquered him, then directed a few words his way right after. It was a side rarely seen from the mostly stoic Beal.

"Everybody's different. I play with a lot of emotion," point guard John Wall said. "That's just how I play the game. Brad is more of a quiet guy who doesn't say too much. But he was into the game. You could tell it was a big game for him. He enjoyed it and played big for us in the fourth quarter."

[RELATED: 5 (10) must-see moments from Wizards' wild win over Celtics]

"We knew what this game was," Beal said. "We all had it circled last time we played them. Both teams. It was a competitive game, but I am glad we were able to dominate.”

Beal, who finished with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting, said there is a simple reason why he locked in for the fourth quarter.

"I wanted to win. I wanted this win bad especially to keep our home streak going," he said after the Wizards' 14th straight victory at the Verizon Center.

Beal has spoken often this season about the Wizards' home crowd. He insists it is a big reason why they are among the best home teams in basketball. 

“It was awesome, man. It was awesome," he said. "They have been terrific all year and they continue to support us, each and every game. I do not know if they know, but we constantly feed off their energy. Them being loud and kind of buzzing them on offense and when we get the ball, you can barely hear yourself think, so it is great to be able to get it going and emotions are high, man."

The Wizards swept their back-to-back set with their win over Boston and a victory the night before against the Hornets. It was in Charlotte that Beal broke out of what was the worst shooting slump of his career. He missed 20 straight threes for the first time as an NBA player and before the Hornets game had shot 28.6 percent from the field in his previous three games.

Now that seems like a distant memory. Beal hit the 30-mark in points on Tuesday for the seventh time this year after only getting there once last season. He went 2-for-5 from three and also added five assists and two steals. 

The NBA's All-Star team reserves are announced on Thursday and Beal's head coach thinks he should be included.

"You know what? He’s a good player. The other 14 coaches are going to have to make a tough decision on who makes the All-Star team, but he’s as good as any guard in the East and, hopefully, they see that like I get to see it every day in practice and every night we play," Scott Brooks said.

[RELATED: Wizards walk the walk: Is it a rivalry now?]

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Five observations from Wizards' 117-109 win over the Orlando Magic, including Jeff Green's takeover

Five observations from Wizards' 117-109 win over the Orlando Magic, including Jeff Green's takeover

The Washington Wizards beat the Orlando Magic 117-109 on Monday night. Here are five observations from the game...

Two in a row

The Wizards did something on Monday night they had yet to do this season. They won their second game in a row.

Now 4-9 on the season, the Wizards have some work remaining to regain respectability. But there were some encouraging signs. For instance, they won the rebounding margin for just the second time this season. They also made 13 threes.

This win, however, would have been a lot easier if they could lock down the three-point line. The Magic shot 15-for-30 from three. Perimeter defense continues to be a major blindspot for Washington.

Green dominated

Bradley Beal's comparison of Jeff Green to LeBron James all of a sudden doesn't sound so crazy.

Against the Magic, Green wasn't just good, he put the Wizards on his back and took over the game in the fourth quarter with a series of shots and defensive plays to keep Orlando at bay.

Green, who finished with 18 points in just 21 minutes, erupted for 10 points in the fourth quarter. He hit two threes in the frame and went 4-for-5 for the night. One of them bailed out Austin Rivers to beat the shot clock.

Green also had 19 points against the Heat on Friday. The veteran is playing well beyond expectations for the one-year contract he signed this summer. In the Wizards' past several games, he's given them starter production off the bench. 

Though Mike Scott was very good last season, Green is showing how he can do more because of how he can affect games defensively. It's no wonder why head coach Scott Brooks has relied on him in the fourth quarters of the last three games instead of starters.

Beal woke up late

With under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Beal was ice cold. He had nine points on 3-for-13 shooting from the field and 0-for-6 from three.

But out of a timeout, Beal woke up and, like a button was pushed, took over the game. He began by sinking a tough layup off the glass. Moments later, he got his first three to fall. 

After that, he fed Dwight Howard for an and-1 on a drive set up by a slick behind-the-back move. And seconds later, he stole an errant pass and finished with a rim-bending slam on the other end.

Beal scored seven points in a stretch of about three minutes and almost singlehandedly erased what was a 10-point deficit to take the lead. He did what we saw him do so often last year. Despite struggling for more than half the game, he never wavered and found a way to get the ball in the rim.

Beal made something of his uneven night to post 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. He proved once again that opposing teams can only keep him in check for so long.

Wall is heating up

Though John Wall has long been criticized for his outside shot, many forget he set a career-high last season by shooting 37.1 percent from three on 4.1 attempts per game. That wasn't bad at all and it looks like Wall may be finding that stroke once again.

After a slow start out of the gate, Wall has been on fire from three recently. He went 2-for-3 against the Magic and is now 16-for-37 in his last seven games. That's good for 43.2 percent.

Wall may never be a lights-out marksman from long range. But he is becoming more than respectable as a perimeter threat.

Mahinmi played again

It appears that Ian Mahinmi has earned his job back. He was benched for three straight games, but has now played in each of the past two. 

Similar to the win over the Heat on Friday, Mahinmi did his part with a minimal, but noticeable impact on the game. He had a nice weakside block in the first quarter. Jarell Martin drove left and got by his man and Mahinmi helped by stepping across the lane to swat it out of bounds.

That's what they need Mahinmi to do, play defense and not get in the way on offense. When he's not affecting games on the defensive end, his other shortcomings become magnified. Through two games, he's done enough to probably stay in the rotation for the time being.

While Mahinmi is back in the rotation, Otto Porter Jr. appears to be in the relative doghouse. This was the third straight game he has sat out the fourth quarter. Markieff Morris was in the same boat for two games, but got the nod against Orlando.

Some of it is simply Brooks rolling with the hot hand. But Brooks must not like something Porter has been doing lately. The best guess is his defense, as Jonathan Simmons, among others, was getting past Porter with regularity in this one.

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Wizards releasing Chasson Randle opens roster spot, possibilities

Wizards releasing Chasson Randle opens roster spot, possibilities

The Washington Wizards released guard Chasson Randle Monday. The additional space – the Wizards had one vacant roster slot even with Randle – brings up the question of what the team may do next. For now, don’t expect a blockbuster move.

Head coach Scott Brooks briefly addressed the move ahead of Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

“He’s a terrific young man, a very good player,” Brooks said of Randle. “Just gives us more flexibility. Who knows what we might do with it. He’s definitely an NBA player.”

Randle, who Washington signed to the active roster on Oct. 30, likely clears waivers, and then would rejoin the Capital City Go-Go, Brooks said. It’s been a back-and-forth scenario for Randle between the Wizards and their G-League squad this season. The 6-foot-2 guard was on the Go-Go roster when Washington’s season tipped off and assigned to the G-League squad at the time of Monday’s release. Randle scored 37 points in the Go-Go’s inaugural game. He did not enter a game for Washington.

The Wizards were forced to add a player by Oct. 30, a date that marked two weeks from the time Washington traded Jodie Meeks to Milwaukee. League rules require a minimum of 14 players on the roster.

That two week timeline applies to the current scenario. For now, the Wizards save a bit on the luxury tax payment by waiving Randle, who was signed to a $1.24 million non-guaranteed contract. Considering he'll likely be back in the building, Randle returning to the Wizards roster is a consideration.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, adding Randle cost the Wizards approximately $239,000 in luxury tax payments. Washington saved approximately $8 million by dealing Meeks.

As Brooks acknowledged, the open spots create greater flexibility.  In wake of the Timberwolves trading disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler to the 76ers, multiple reports at least tangentially mentioned the Wizards’ as part of the mix.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Washington balked at including Bradley Beal. SI.com’s Chris Mannix reported teams are keeping tabs on the 3-9 Wizards in case role players like Jeff Green, Markieff Morris or Kelly Oubre Jr. become available should the slow start continue.

Randle’s release limits Washington’s backcourt depth, but the top four options are healthy entering its five-game home-stand. In theory two-way contract player Jordan McRae could be recalled from Capital City, but the wing guard is dealing with a groin injury, according to a source. McRae should be available later in the week.

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