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Morning tip: No. 4 seed Wizards match up better with LeBron, Cavs than Celtics

Morning tip: No. 4 seed Wizards match up better with LeBron, Cavs than Celtics

A No. 4 seed isn’t bad at all, especially since hardly any objective person would’ve guessed that’s where the Wizards would land for the playoffs earlier this season.

After Saturday’s last-second home loss to the Miami Heat, and the Toronto Raptors’ win over the N.Y. Knicks on Sunday, that’s all set.

John Wall’s hope of staying at least a No. 3 seed is gone. So no matter the first-round opponent – the Wizards will hold home-court advantage for the first time since 1979 --- getting to the conference semifinals will likely mean a meeting with the No. 1 seed Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs have fallen into a first-place tie with the Boston Celtics but they do hold the tiebreaker.

Everyone should have a healthy fear of postseason LeBron James. There’s too much evidence that suggests it’s stupid to not beware no matter how badly his team has played since the All-Star break.

But this is probably the better path for the Wizards, who match  up well with the defensively challenged Cavs. They play an open-court style with high-volume three-point shooting, which is to their liking.

The type of teams that give the Wizards the most difficulty?

The Heat (0-3), Utah Jazz (0-2), Dallas Mavericks (0-2) and to a lesser extent the Celtics (2-2).

The Wizards failed to win the season series with any of them and looked their worst against teams that are physical and play with high IQs.

[RELATED: Should Wizards' starters play or rest before playoffs?]

The Heat and Jazz have erasers in the middle who make those finishes at the rim for Wall almost impossible. And they have rabid defensive guards who never die even when they appear out of a play. They don’t give up after being screened. They don’t concede transition baskets. The Mavs arent a good team and lack a true center, using Dirk Nowitzki as their five instead, and gave the Wizards all sorts of problems.

Aside from Rick Carlisle being a masterful defensive coach -- the only NBA coach to play a zone for four quarters in a game during preseason, perfecting a system that would ruin James' first championship run in Miami -- they have the interchangable parts to confuse the Wizards. Harrison Barnes, Dorian Finney-Smith and Wes Matthrews are good defenders who can switch and wreak havoc on the perimeter which provides the cover fire for the vulnerable Nowitzki in the low post.

The Wizards had trouble, or lacked the confidence, to figure it out. The grit that defined them during their two-year playoff run under previous coach Randy Wittman, who had them as a top 10 scoring defense, is gone. They lost it during Wittman's final season a year ago and haven't been able to get the mojo back. 

Part of the reason is because the personnel is much different and less experienced. Part is because this is Scott Brooks’ first year at the helm and he still has a ways to go into molding these Wizards into his vision. There was a lot to fix in a short time and that he's gotten this far alone is surprising.

The Celtics don’t have a dominant big like Rudy Gobert (Jazz) or Hassan Whiteside (Heat), but Al Horford sets the screens, makes the reads on the handoffs and gets them open shots. It’s why he averages 5.0 assists per game as a center.

[RELATED: Wizards' best defensive lineups involve Kelly Oubre]

But when Boston is shredding the Wizards, it’s because they're physical. Pending on how the game is being officiated, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Horford thrive while the Wizards tend to focus on calls they don't get and losing focus. They don't adjust. They continue to pick up fouls out of retaliation themselves. 

Just because the Wizards couldn’t get higher than a No. 4 seed, however, this isn’t a disaster. Maybe the Cavs do what the Cavs usually do with James in his second tour by advancing to the NBA Finals.

These Cavs, however, are very beatable. They’re not they type of truth machine that the Wizards should fear. 

Wall can exploit Kyrie Irving just as the score-first point guard does others. Iman Shumpert isn’t a Bradley Beal stopper. Richard Jefferson will draw assignments on both, but that leaves Otto Porter spotting up from the arc. Markieff Morris can match Kevin Love inside and out and if Marcin Gortat isn’t in a rhythm they can go to Ian Mahinmi vs. Tristan Thompson.

And they can throw multiple bodies at James by using length (Porter, Kelly Oubre) and size (Morris).

If it's Boston as the  No. 1 seed and possible second-round opponent, the matchup is vastly different. While Isaiah Thomas takes care of a lot of the scoring for Boston and he has shooters everywhere if he's taken away, coach Brad Stevens ultimately wants stops.

They're a more blue-collar group that can play on the Wizards’ psyche in ways that Cleveland cannot. In ways that the Toronto Raptors, who the Wizards swept in a first-round series in 2015 despite being a heavy favorite, do not.

Stylistically, the Wizards match up better with Cleveland.  And in the event they were to meet and get past them, it doesn’t mean they’ll get past the conference finals.

They’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for the postseason, and most of it will occur between the ears.

[RELATED: Whiteside accidentally earned Gortat career milestone]

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Tyler Perry surprises Wizards in their Chicago hotel to compare heights

Tyler Perry surprises Wizards in their Chicago hotel to compare heights

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put Tyler Perry in a room with a bunch of NBA players? If so, we have the answer. 

During the Wizards' road trip to Chicago in January, the famous actor/producer/writer surprised several players in their hotel room and compared heights with them the whole time. 

Perry, who's used to being the tallest in the room at 6'5", was dwarfed by the likes of Thomas Bryant and Johnathan Williams. 

"I ain't ever been in a room where I'm the short guy," Perry said as he greeted all the players. 

There were a couple of players who Perry had the height advantage on. Bradley Beal admitted he was shorter than Perry during the video, while Perry didn't have a doubt he was taller than Gary Payton II. 

"Oh, you're short," Perry joked after Payton revealed his height. 

You can find more of this kind of inside access into the Wizards' trip to Chicago, where the "Wire-to-Wire" special will air on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Ish Smith, Moe Wagner and Scott Brooks will be mic'd up and featured throughout a condensed version of the Wizards' loss to the Bulls in mid-January. 

"The thing is, you look at celebrities as celebrities, but they look at our players as celebrities," Brooks said. "But you could tell that [Perry], he had their attention. Not a lot of times our guys are willing to wait after our breakfast meeting. But they waited around for him so it was really cool to see that."

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How to watch Wizards vs. Bulls Wire to Wire broadcast

How to watch Wizards vs. Bulls Wire to Wire broadcast

The Wizards head to the Bay Area to take on the Golden State Warriors. Before that, fans can enjoy inside NBA access in the debut of 'NBC Sports Wire to Wire'.

'NBC Sports Wire to Wire' will debut Sunday, Mar. 1, at 6:30 p.m. and feature a one-hour condensed game of the Wizards matchup with the Bulls from mid-January. The twist is players and coaches on both sides were mic'd up during the game. 

Ish Smith, Moe Wagner, and Scott Brooks are featured from the Wizards side, while you'll be able to hear Coby White, coach Jim Boylen and former Wizard Tomas Satoransky as well. The broadcast will deliver a mix of on-court audio and sit-down interviews. 

The Wizards fell to the Bulls 115-106 in the game in question. In a head-to-head matchup between two eventual All-Star snubs, Zach LaVine got the best of Bradley Beal, scoring 30 points on 12-21 shooting to get his team the win. 

If you recall, Beal questioned the Wizards' culture after his team dropped what he called a 'winnable game.' Since then, the Wizards are 7-6 and before the All-Star break, were playing some of their best basketball.

Beal has also been exceptional since Washington's last loss in Chicago, so perhaps there's a bit more insight into what went on that game that one, caused Beal to call out his team after the game, and two, sparked one of the best runs of play for the Wizards all year. 

So remember 6:30 p.m. on Sunday before the Wizards-Warriors game. And if you aren't able to catch it the first time, the special will be re-air later Sunday evening at 11:30 p.m.

Here's everything you need to know to tune into the game Sunday and how to watch the Wire to Wire broadcast afterward. 

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors 

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA

When: Sunday, Mar. 1, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Warriors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Warriors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Wire to Wire: Wizards vs Bulls

7:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders

8:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live

8:30 PM: Washington Wizards vs. Golden State Warriors

11:00 PM: Wizards Postgame Live

11:30 PM: Wire to Wire: Wizards @ Bulls

WIZARDS vs. WARRIORS INJURY REPORT

Wizards: John Wall (OUT/Achilles), Thomas Bryant (OUT/foot)

Warriors: Marquese Chriss (Day-to-day/calf), Draymond Green (Day-to-day/hip), Steph Curry (Day-to-day/hand), Klay Thompson (OUT/knee)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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