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Morning tip: Lately, Wizards' bench ranks among top 10 in NBA

Morning tip: Lately, Wizards' bench ranks among top 10 in NBA

No matter how much the Wizards continue to win, this question -- "What about the bench?" -- will persist until the boxscore pops with gaudier numbers. But there's ample evidence beyond those raw numbers to suggest the bench is adequate if unspectacular.

Only 18 points were scored by the resereves in a 112-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday. Trey Burke had seven points and five assists in 14 minutes. Jason Smith had six points and two rebounds in 17. But the best player was Tomas Satoransky who produced less in terms of the stats with four points and one assist in 13 minutes. 

Satoransky didn't attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter but he played seven minutes. At 6-7, his length and ability to stay in front of Rodney Stuckey aided in keeping the Pacers' guards from getting clean looks at the rim. He deflected an entry pass from Stuckey and then forced him into a traveling violation because of his ball puressure midway through the fourth. 

Then Satoransky fought through Al Jefferson's screen and stayed on Monta Ellis' right hand to contest his errant jumper with 6:59 left. 

"I thought this was one of his best games," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Satoransky. "He played solid. ... He handled the ball under pressure which is something he's been working on. He's been improving defensively. He's getting better. 

[RELATED: Wizards stockpiling wins in East for tiebreaker edge]

Ian Mahinmi's second consecutive game he played 13 minutes and didn't score. But to start the fourth he created a turnover with his ball pressure on Al Jefferson leading to an errant pass and blocking his drive to the rim. Both plays put the Wizards in transition to and led to four free throw attempts. It's a sign of what his understated impact can be when he's at optimum health since his knee procedures.

The way to judge the second unit -- currently Trey Burke, Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Jason Smith and Mahinmi -- is how they play defensively first. Brooks will mix and match them with starters at times, too, but their offense will have to be jump-started on the other end of the floor.

Going into the Indiana game, the stats told a similar story about the reserves. And again, Mahinmi had only played once so the full impact of his presence still is to be determined. They could end up much better. 

The net rating is determined by subtracting the defensive points allowed per 100 possessions by the Wizards' reserves from offensive points scored per 100 by them.   

Previous 25 games (19-6):  Plus-1.2 points per 100 possessions. 9th best net rating in NBA

Previous 18 Games (15-3): Plus-3.7 per 100 possessions. 8th best net rating in NBA  

Previous 10 Games (8-2): Plus-9.3 per 100 possessions. 3rd best net rating in NBA

While there are benches in the NBA that play more minutes and score more points, they're not neessarily as responsible as this group on defense. Now that Brooks has developed one of the best starting fives in the league, he's figuring out how to get more out of his reserves. 

[RELATED: Markieff Morris taxes defenses that fail to account for him]

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 



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Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.


What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)


Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)


John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 


Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4