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Morning tip: How John Wall benefits from kind NBA schedule

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Morning tip: How John Wall benefits from kind NBA schedule

Only having played nine games, the Wizards have had time to work out their problems on defense and just as crucial ample time to get acclimated to their fast-paced offense. By far they've played the fewest in the NBA.

"It's given us some time to clean some things up in practice time which is good," coach Randy Wittman said. 

His point guard, John Wall, especially feels good physically. So good, Wall has said, it's the best that he has felt in several years. The Wizards have played five fewer games than the Atlanta Hawks, four fewer than the Toronto Raptors and three fewer than six other teams in the East.

"Its taken him some time to get to where he needs to be conditioning-wise to then play with the explosion and the athletic ability for the minutes that he's going to be on the floor," Wittman said. "We've seen that. The last couple of games he's been better.

"Sometimes at the seven-minute mark, he's been exhausted. It takes your body a while to get used to playing the way that we're playing. We're seeing a lot of guys come into that fold a little bit."

MORE WIZARDS: POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR BRADLEY BEAL? 

Wall's overall averages have taken a dip at 17.6 points and 8.6 assists as the Wizards (5-4) have cast a wider net in spreading the wealth.  

Last season when Wall was an All-Star for the second time in a row, he sputtered around the break because of all the mileage he was putting on himself to get the Wizards out to a 22-8 start. He had knee and ankle soreness and the Wizards struggled.

Wall played 39, 34, 36 and 35 minutes in the first four games this season, in part because they all were close and competitive. Since then he has played 31 minutes or less three times with his team on the wrong end of three blowouts.

His backcourt mate Bradley Beal has missed three games (left shoulder contusion) in which they're 2-1 and could miss Saturday. But Garrett Temple and Kelly Oubre are getting more run, and playing well, than they probably would've if not for health issues on the roster. 

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Kelly Oubre turns into 'Spooky Papi' ahead of home-opener vs. Heat

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NBC Sports Washington

Kelly Oubre turns into 'Spooky Papi' ahead of home-opener vs. Heat

As the weather in Washington, D.C. drops below 60 degrees, most athletes typically arrive at their games in sweatsuits for comfort or suits for luxury. 

Kelly Oubre, on the other hand, is going full gothic for the Washington Wizards' home-opener against the Miami Heat. Oubre is the self-proclaimed "Wave Papi," but tonight he is giving off a vampire-slayer vibe.

Maybe he didn't get the memo that Halloween is roughly two weeks from now.

For the sake of it still being October, let's call him "Spooky Papi."

His black belts and buckles match his rockstar lifestyle, but the bloody, disfigured skull accessory is one of the most ridiculous things we've seen at Capital One Arena. Ever. 

Maybe there's a hidden meaning to it all, or maybe it's just yet another in a long line of Kelly Oubre fashion statements. 

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Dwight Howard ruled out for Wizards' season opener vs. Miami

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NBC Sports Washington

Dwight Howard ruled out for Wizards' season opener vs. Miami

Dwight Howard will not play in the Washington Wizards' season opener against the Miami Heat, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller has confirmed. The news was first reported by Chris Haynes.

Ian Mahinmi will start in his place as he did for a majority of the preseason. 

Howard, an eight-time All-Star, has been dealing with a butt-injury ever since joining Washington this summer. This resulted in him missing all of the team's preseason matchups. He only has practiced with the team for a couple of days this week

Earlier on Thursday morning, Howard was listed as questionable for this matchup.

Based on his absence during the preseason and limited work with the Wizards, Howard being out is not too surprising. If he would have played it likely would have been for limited minutes off of the bench. 

Best-case for the Wizards is to rest Howard who has only missed 20 regular season games in the previous three seasons. 

Howard is not that far off from starting his 15th season in the NBA. On Wednesday Scott Brooks said that Howard will travel on the first road trip with the team to the West Coast starting on Monday. 

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