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Morning tip: A Wizards sweep will happen if ...


Morning tip: A Wizards sweep will happen if ...

Another win and the Wizards are in the second round of the playoffs for the second season in a row, but despite the 3-0 lead vs. the Toronto Raptors this hasn't been easy. So what has to happen in tonight's Game 4 from Verizon Center to complete the first sweep in a seven-game series in franchise history (CSN, CSNwashington.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6 p.m. ET)?

  • Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan keep taking first-side, contested shots. The starting backcourt for the Raptors accounted for 51 of 99 attempts in a 106-99 loss in Game 3 Friday. They only made 16. DeRozan said afterwards that he thinks they were mostly good shots.

Paul Pierce: "I had a chance to watch DeMar grow from college. I always liked him. A California kid. I always try to follow the southern Los Angeles natives from the area I'm from. I expected him to come out hard like he had in the last two games. ... The good thing is one guy is scoring, we're limiting the other guys. We feel like one guy can't beat us. It takes everybody else out the game. We didn't get our head down. We focused on locking all the other guys down. If you look up after the first quarter they were only up two. That wasn't really a big concern when he got hot because that's what scorers do some nights. I've had nights like that where I've been hot as a young player. If I'm hot, that means other guys aren't touching the ball." 

Drew Gooden: "You got to credit our wings, our perimeter players for containing those guys. That's a tough task. Brad (Beal) has done a phenomenal job. Otto Porter has done a phenomenal job. John Wall has done exceptionally well on Kyle Lowry."

  • Slow starts to the third quarter cease. Friday, 10 of their 17 turnovers in the second half which is what gave the Raptors life.

John Wall: "In the third quarter of the last two games we haven't had great pace. That's how we let them back in the game by not building on our leads throughout the third quarter. We're doing a great job of closing out quarters, just keep our turnovers down and we'll be fine."

Coach Randy Wittman: "Seventeen is too many. I feel like we lost our pace a little bit from an offensive standpoint in the third quarter there."

  • While the Raptors did a better job with rebounding with Amir Johnson in the starting lineup, they're still inadequate at minus-34 for the series.

Wall: "Guys are sacrificing, not complaining about calls, not worrying about who's getting the ball, everybody's rebounding as a group. That's the reason why we've won three games."

  • Otto Porter. 

Gooden: "I'm seeing him stepping up and that's what big-time players do in this atmosphere. They turn it up a notch in the playoffs. Otto has definitely done that for us. We're starting to see emotion from him. He's showing growth and we absolutely need that from a young player."

Wall: "I've seen Otto talk some junk in the first game. Surprising to see but I think he's getting into a comfort zone, getting out of his shell. ... When you play big minutes in the playoffs and you're playing well you want to keep it going."

  • Playing in flow, rather than always slowing down the ball to make play calls, fits the small-ball lineup with Otto Porter and Paul Pierce on the floor simultaneously.

Wall: "We just run pick-and-roll, spread the court and not run too many isos. Where guys help from we try to find the right person. ... We see opportunities when Drew is at the four, or Paul. The opportunity for March or Nene or whoever is playing at the center position is to set screens and roll to the basket. If guys don't help they're finishing at the rim. If they do, they're leaving three-point shooters open and guys have been knocking down shots with confidence. That's spacing the court more for us."

Gooden: "The way we're playing with the court spread, (Gortat) and Nene, if they set a middle pick-and-roll and roll hard to the basket it's tough for the Raptors to rotate and stop them at the rim. They have limited shot blockers on their team so he has free range for getting back-to-back layups, getting dunks at will whenever we get (Gortat) the ball."

MORE WIZARDS: How did NBA officials handle last 2 minutes of Wizards-Raptors?

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Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

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NBA MVP odds are out, with some names missing

Bovada's 2018-19 NBA MVP odds were released, and there's a few head-scratchers on the list. 

First, let's keep in mind that these odds are to get you to place a bet more than anything. They want you to see something, and tempt you to throw your money at it.

That being said, John Wall comes in tied for 14th, while Bradley Beal doesn't show up on the list.

Now, let's look at who else was on the list over Beal.

Lonzo Ball has 100/1 odds to win MVP, DeMarcus Cousins who is still recovering from a torn Achilles, and  Kristaps Porzingis, recovering from a torn ACL also appear over Beal.

Just thinking out loud here, but that seems like maybe a bit of a stretch right?

Porzingis may not play at all for the Knicks this coming season, and Cousins is expected to miss months before making his debut in Golden State. 

Cousins also plays on a team with Steph Curry (15/1) and Kevin Durant (9/1). 

Also missing from the odds was Klay Thompson. So, yeah. 

New Raptor Kawhi Leonard also comes in at 11/1. 

2018-2019 - NBA MVP - Odds to Win

LeBron James                        10/3
Anthony Davis                         4/1
Giannis Antetokounmpo        9/2
James Harden                         11/2
Kevin Durant                            9/1
Kawhi Leonard                        11/1
Russell Westbrook                  14/1
Stephen Curry                         15/1
Joel Embiid                              16/1
Kyrie Irving                               16/1
Ben Simmons                           35/1
Damian Lillard                          45/1
Karl-Anthony Towns                50/1
DeMar DeRozan                       80/1
John Wall                                  80/1
Donovan Mitchell                     85/1
Jimmy Butler                            100/1
Nikola Jokic                              100/1
Victor Oladipo                          100/1
Chris Paul                                 100/1
LaMarcus Aldridge                   125/1
Paul George                              125/1
DeMarcus Cousins                   150/1
Gordon Hayward                      150/1
Jayson Tatum                           175/1
Blake Griffin                              225/1
Devin Booker                            275/1
Kristaps Porzingis                    275/1
Kyle Lowry                                325/1
Lonzo Ball                                 450/1

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