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Should Wizards have fouled LeBron James to prevent game-tying 3?

Should Wizards have fouled LeBron James to prevent game-tying 3?

The basic question has to be answered after a game like Monday's, when LeBron James buried a turnaround, falling-out-of-bounds three-pointer to send the Cleveland Cavaliers into overtime with the Wizards, is why not foul? Ask 100 different coaches and depending on the day or their most recent expereience the answer will change. 

Kevin Love inbounded the ball over Markieff Morris standing a few feet off the baseline and launched it over the 6-10 forward for a perfect catch by James. He drained it over Bradley Beal, who he's at least 3-4 inches taller than, to tie the score at 120 to force the extra period. 

The Cavs would win 140-135. But here are the issues to consider: When James caught the ball, he was inside the three-point arc. An immediate grasp and foul by Beal would've only resulted in a tie score if James had sank the shot while under wraps and made the foul shot.

Should Morris have been up closer on Love to create a more difficult? If Brooks had a chance to do it all over again, would he?

"We discussed that. At that moment he was catching an off-balance three that's tough," Brooks said about fouling to prevent the tying shot. "Guys are so good now with the long pass like that. They can catch and shoot at the same time they catch the ball. It's nobody's fault. You just witnessed a very good player make an incredible shot."

Beal couldn't foul before the ball was inbounded because it would result in free throws and the ball for Cleveland. In hindsight, he thought he should've done so.

Even the best of coaches have their decisions called into question when the result goes against them. In the 2013 NBA Finals and up 95-92, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulled Tim Duncan off the court and it led to an offensive rebound for the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh grabbed it from Boris Diaw, Duncan's replacement, and kicked it out to Ray Allen for a three-pointer that forced overtime in Game 6. 

The Heat would go on to win the series that the Spurs could've closed out that night. Popovich tried to match Miami's five smalls lineup by making the switch but didn't compensate for Bosh being re-inserted on the final possession.

Of course when you're playing poker with "play" money, the decision on whether or not to go all-in is so much easier. If Beal should foul (and I still think he should've), consider the Love-to-James inbound was a bang-bang play. It has to be an instant and definitive decision. If there is any hesitation, he can't commit to it. That's a lot of procesing of thought in a short time frame and the percentages say James probably misses that shot 9 out of 10 times. 

James was 6 of 8 from three in the game and Love shot 6-for-10 from deep. Kyle Korver made 4 of 8. Even though Kyrie Irving shot just 2-for-7, he's known for making the impossible shots possible. Threes are Channing Frye's speciality and he was 1-for-3. Anyone else on Clevleand's roster, they can have that shot. 

This, however, was the one time James makes it.  If the Wizards are in a similar position later on in the season, will they change up?

The right answer depends on the day and the personnel on the floor – for both teams. If you subscribe to the theory that James gets "superstar" calls, that makes it even more complex. 

MORE WIZARDS: Barkley and Shaq say John Wall is East's best point guard

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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.


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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has been all smiles in public when discussing his rehab from Achilles surgery. He has even remarked how smoothly this recovery has gone compared to others he's underwent in the past.

But his road back from a ruptured left Achilles has not been entirely free of obstacles. He revealed to NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast recently that he dealt with an infection that delayed him getting out of his walking boot.

That was already weeks after he first had surgery to remove bone spurs from his heel in January. He had a series of infections following that procedure, one of which helped doctors discover his Achilles had torn during a fall in his home.

Wall can admit now after the fact it was a difficult time for him.

"I've just put in a lot of hard work," he said. "For me to be where I'm at right now, with all the setbacks and infections and then finding out my Achilles was ruptured and then going through another infection, it was like 'man, when can I ever get past that point of just getting out of the boot and walking?'"

What made that last part particularly frustrating was where Wall makes his offseason home. He summers in Miami, a place notorious for its humidity.

"I was in Miami during the summertime in a boot. Like, man, I don't want to be in hot Miami in a boot, sweating," he said.

Nowadays, things are much better for Wall. He is doing on-court work at the Wizards' practice facility. He can shoot jumpers and do individual ball-handling and passing drills. He can jog and lift weights.

After months of waiting to just have his walking boot come off, Wall is very appreciative to simply be able to do anything on the basketball court.

"Just to do the ball-handling and be able to shoot and do the weight-lifting, that's a great aspect [of my progress]. It makes it easier for me because I'm in a great space where it's fun," he said. 

"I'm able to do what I'm able to do, even if I'm not playing at a high speed and running up and down, I'm able to shoot and do ball-handling. That's what I love to do."

Wall continues to make progress, now nine months removed from the Achilles surgery he had on Feb. 12. He is likely to be out at least three more months, and he could miss all of the 2019-20 season.

At some point, Wall may get restless, but he continues to preach patience towards his return. When asked by Chris Miller if he will start bothering the coaches soon to play, he said he's just happy to be back on the court in practice.