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Morning tip: Wall assists Trey Burke in Wizards' turnaround

Morning tip: Wall assists Trey Burke in Wizards' turnaround

The last time the Wizards were in Atlanta, it was Oct. 27 and they were a confused bunch. None was more out of sorts than backup point guard Trey Burke.

A game that was close and could've been a victory turned into a 114-99 loss and got the season started on the wrong foot. When they met the Hawks at Verizon Center the following week, Burke had lost his spot to Tomas Satoranksy and the Wizards would begin 2-8.

While the play of John Wall, Bradley Beal and the rest of the starters has been stellar, Burke has come around as a suitable ballhandler for the second unit which is why they're now 25-20.

"I've talked to him a lot," Wall said. "That's like my little brother. Just trying to help him out in every aspect of the game. Knowing he started off well in Utah then went downhill his last couple of years. Just trying to build his confidence back up. He works out with me. He's a different point guard than I am."

[RELATED: Bradley Beal still feels 'salty' every time Wizards come to play Hawks]

Burke has gone from being unsure of himself and running the offense, so much so that after the opener teammates spoke of not understanding his play-calls at Phillips Arena either because it was too loud or he didn't have a firm grasp of the plays himself . 

Now Burke not only is shooting the ball better, he's creating and running the pick-and-roll superbly with Markieff Morris who is beginning the second quarter with the reserves. 

Burke shoots 51%  in the Wizards' wins. When they lose, he's at 40.5%. In the Wizards' last three games, all wins, he's 9-for-13 shooting with nine assists vs. two turnovers. 

Coach Scott Brooks has gone away from his team running so much high pick-and-rolls early in possessions and instead has gotten more motion and off-ball action first. If they don't get a good look out of it, they'll flow into high or side pick-and-rolls run by Wall, Beal or Burke when the defense is more than likely on its heels trying to catch up off their switches.

Burke has flourished finding his own shot that way, and with moving the ball for someone else to get theirs. And in their last two games against their heated rival Boston Celtics, Burke held his own when having to defend Isaiah Thomas. 

"He's an aggressive scorer," Wall said. "When his shot is going, that makes him play a lot better."

Burke's season-high of 27 points came on Dec. 27 in a blowout of the low-rung Brooklyn Nets. Easily his best performance could be in the 12 minutes he played against a much better team in the Charlotte Hornets, making all three shots and getting four assists earlier this week.

The biggest difference in Burke comes when he plays at home, where the Wizards have won 14 in a row, compared to on the road. He shoots 51.7% from three at Verizon Center. That dips to 33.3%.

[RELATED: Wizards' Bradley Beal an NBA All-Star snub]

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Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans was on fire once again on Tuesday night in the Wizards' loss to the Charlotte Hornets, as the Latvian Laser continues his breakout season in Washington hitting threes at a historic rate. Here are some numbers to put what he is doing in perspective...


Bertans had 32 points in Tuesday's game, the ninth time he has scored 20 or more already this season. He had scored 20-plus points only three times previously in his career.


Bertans has made six or more threes in a game six times already this season, including four times this month. Before he joined the Wizards, he had done it twice as an NBA player.


Bertans is one of only seven players in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make eight threes or more in a game. The others are Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rex Chapman and DeShawn Stevenson. Only Beal (nine) and Ariza (10) have made more than eight.


Bertans has made 92 threes through 23 games this season. The ony players who have made more through this point in NBA history are James Harden and Stephen Curry. The previous high for a Wizards/Bullets player was 72 (Arenas).


The 92 threes in 23 games has Bertans averaging four per game and on pace to make 328 on the season. Only two players have ever made 300-plus threes; Harden and Curry. The record is 402, by Curry in 2015-16.


Bertans has made four threes or more in six straight games and five or more in four straight. Both are franchise records. During this six-game stretch, Bertans is 36-for-71 (50.7%) from long range.


Bertans is making most of his threes on catch-and-shoot plays and leads the league in most related categories. He is tops in the NBA in points off catch-and-shoot plays (9.6/g), field goals made (3.2/g) and three-pointers made (3.1).


A whopping 70.8 percent of Bertans' shot attempts this season have come from three-point range. The next highest percentage for a Wizards player is 34.6 percent, by Moe Wagner.

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Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

NBC Sports Washington

Ish Smith helps mop the court during a timeout

As a guard, Ish Smith is asked to do a lot on the court. Pass, shoot, and defend, the Wizards need him to do it all in order to succeed. On Tuesday, however, Smith demonstrated another on-court intangible that isn't always seen from NBA players: cleaning.

During the final moments of what would be a 114-107 loss to the Hornets, the game came to a halt in order to mop up a wet spot on the court. Smith happened to find himself near the large mop under the baseline, grabbed it and began helping out the worker. 

Overall, it's pretty good form here from Smith. He bent his knees, extended his arms and had a solid motion with the mop. Smith finished the night with 13 points and five assists in the boxscore, but this sixth assist was his most innovative.