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Takeaways from Wizards' big win over Raptors

Takeaways from Wizards' big win over Raptors

TORONTO – Not only did the Wizards build onto what they accomplished the previous night in upsetting the Golden State Warriors, but they thoroughly dominated a conference foe in the Raptors to solidify their standing 105-96 on Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.

The Wizards (36-23) won their second game in a row since coming out of the All-Star break 0-2 and drew even in the season series 1-1 with Toronto (36-25). The winner of Friday’s rematch at Verizon Center will determine who has the tiebreaker should they have the same record after 82 games.

John Wall (12 points, 13 assists) posted his 39th double-double, and Bradley Beal (23 points) and Marcin Gortat (12 points, eight rebounds) were able to get what they wanted early. But it was the second unit, led by Bojan Bogdanovic (team-high 27 points), that sparked a 26-3 run to blow it open.

The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan (24 points) but didn’t have much help outside of Serge Ibaka (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Cory Joseph (11 points). Joseph is starting in place of Kyle Lowry who is out because of wrist surgery.

Jason Smith (eight points, five rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (seven points) contributed to the effort by the reserves.

The Wizards will be off Thursday and are expected to have new acquisition Brandon Jennings on Friday.

--Smith had played just four total minutes in the previous three games but when he was inserted with Tomas Satoransky, Oubre, Bogdanovic and Ian Mahinmi the tone of the game changed. The Raptors shot 9-for-27, or 33%, while the Wizards were 13-for-19 for 68.4%.

--The defense of Otto Porter, who failed to score in 19 minutes, and Oubre on DeRozan was exceptional. And when Morris had to switch onto the 6-6 scorer they went under the screens and forced him to take difficult jumpers over length. While DeRozan got his points, he shot just 7-for-20 from the field.  Porter's counterpart for Toronto, DeMarre Carroll, also failed to score. He played 30 minutes.

--Gortat was disciplined, too, against Jonas Valanciunas. He didn’t bite the pump fakes, similar to how the perimeter defense stayed grounded when DeRozan does it. It led to the Raptors’ big man shooting 3-for-12 from the field and only playing 21 minutes.

--Beal appeared in his 55th game. That matches his total games played for the 2015-16 season when he was plagued by stress reactions in his lower right leg.

--Mahinmi didn’t do much in terms of offense, but he was caught on a switch on Joseph and stayed on top of him to block his shot at the rim. It was another example of where he can be valuable when dribble penetration compromises the perimeter defense.

--Coming off 19 turnovers vs. Golden State, the Wizards were able to prevent the extra possessions for Toronto. They had 12 in this one. The Wizards only had five fast-break points but what made this performance so sound was that they had 32 assists on 40 field goals.  The Raptors had just 11 assists on 33 field goals. The franchise low was six. They only had half that total midway through the fourth quarter. 

[RELATED: Why Wizards chose to waive House and keep Burke]

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Bradley Beal still feels 'disrespected' by referees

Bradley Beal still feels 'disrespected' by referees

Back in December following a tough loss to the Clippers, Bradley Beal's frustration with the referees boiled over. 

"Honestly, [my frustration] is out the roof," Beal said that night. "It really is. It's really unfair and unacceptable that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and I do not calls. Period. It's just unacceptable."

Everything for the Wizards' offense this season starts and ends with Beal, and while he's averaging career-best scoring numbers, he remains frustrated at how he doesn't get to the foul line enough. 

In a 134-129 loss to the Heat Wednesday night, Beal went off for 38 points on 16-24 shooting to go with nine rebounds and four assists. He only had four free throw attempts, resulting in another postgame riff about how he and his team aren't officiated the same as others. 

“It’s kind of sad the way we get disrespected," he said. "Especially myself getting disrespected like I do because I attack the basket.”

Among 32 players who average at least 20 points, Beal ranks ninth in free throw attempts per game. The Wizards themselves are 14th in the NBA in free throw attempts per game. 

What had Beal particularly upset was not getting the whistle when he aggressively attacked the basket in the game's final moments.

"You can look at my last three drives and I got fouled on all three of them," he said. 

The NBA doesn't typically tolerate players and coaches openly criticizing referees after games. Beal knows he could be fined for his comments, so it shows just how frustrated the two-time All-Star is with how he's being called this season. 

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Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

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Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

One of the Washington Mystics' first stars is hanging up her shoes.

Alana Beard, who spent the first seven seasons of her professional career with the Mystics after Washington drafted her No. 2 overall in 2004, announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday.

During her time in Washington, Beard made the All-Star team four times. Her best season with the Mystics was in 2006, where she averaged a career-high 19.1 points per game and won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

After missing nearly two years with multiple injuries, Beard signed with the Los Angeles Sparks during free agency in 2012, and spent the rest of her career out west. She won her first WNBA championship in 2016 with the Sparks, highlighted by her game-winning three-pointer in Game 1 of the Finals.

Congratulations on a great career, Alana!

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