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Takeaways from Wizards' comeback win over Orlando Magic

Takeaways from Wizards' comeback win over Orlando Magic

The matchup with the Orlando Magic is a surprising trouble spot for the Wizards, especially after they’d beaten them 12 consecutive times coming into this season.

Sunday, they almost lost for the third time in four meetings but pulled out a 115-114 victory on 7-for-10 shooting from three-point range in the final 12 minutes to end the season series 2-2.

John Wall (19 points, 10 assists) had a career-high 52 points in the last meeting in a loss, which marked a turnaround for the Wizards who’d go on an 18-3 run into the All-Star break. Bradley Beal (32 points) broke out this time followed by Bojan Bogdanovic (27 points) off the bench. It was Wall's 40th double-double, Bodganovic tied his season high and Beal scored 30 or more for the 11th time. That's seven times more than in his previous four seasons combined.

Bogdanovic buried his sixth three-pointer with 1:06 left off an inbounds play to put the Wizards ahead 112-111.

Orlando (23-40) had a comprehensive effort from Aaron Gordon (15 points, 11 rebounds), Bismack Biyombo (14 points, 15 rebounds), Terrence Ross (20 points), Evan Fournier (18 points), Jeff Green and Mario Hezonja (12 points) and Elfrid Payton (15 points).

The size, defensive abilities and athleticism for Orlando poses matchup problems for Washington as it erased a 17-point deficit, took the lead in the fourth and traded big shots down the stretch.

Gordon can defend Otto Porter (11 points) or Markieff Morris (eight). Biyombo can defend Morris or Marcin Gortat (seven points, 11 rebounds).

Baskets weren’t easy to come by and a team that has had trouble finding offense in Orlando had plenty. They shot 44-for-89 (49.4%).

Fournier converted a three-point play for a 114-112 lead for Orlando until Bogdanovic knocked down yet another three -- on an assist from Wall again -- with 46.8 seconds left.

The Wizards avoided losing consecutive games at home for the first time this season where they’re now 26-9.

--No one player dominated for Orlando, which had seven players in double figures after three quarters as Payton had the most with 14. Their length and athleticism gave them a 22-6 edge in second-chance points entering the fourth. That’s how their role players who aren’t noted for shooting accuracy got their points.

--With 4:24: left in the first quarter, Beal made a stepback three-pointer on Ross, who appeared to take an extra (and unnecessary) step under him long after the ball was released. Beal landed on his foot and rolled his left ankle which caused him to miss one game already this season. Beal left the court but was able to return in the second quarter but his momentum was lost. He was 4 of 5 shooting for nine points until his injury and regained his groove in the second half where he scored 21 points.

--The first points for Brandon Jennings (two points) came in transition. He was drove the lane after the Magic committed a turnover for a layup that  cut the deficit to 96-91. Coach Scott Brooks stuck with a three-guard lineup of Jennings, Wall and Beal during the comeback. Mahinmi took advantage of being defended by the undersized Gordon on the low block for a jump hook. Jennings generated seven assists in 17 minutes.

--Tomas Satoransky (five points) did all of his scoring in the final quarter. Beal found him on a pick-and-roll with Mahinmi wide open and unlike earlier in the season he just took the shot and made a three-pointer. Next time down the floor, Hezonja closed out Satoransky on the three-point line and he beat him baseline for the floater.   

--Gortat played 8:09 in the third quarter but didn’t touch the floor again because of the smaller lineups.

--Bogdanovic made eight of 10 threes. He has made at least six in two of his last three games for Washington. He's 20-for-34 since joining the Wizards at the trade deadline. That's 59% accuracy.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Was play that hurt Beal's ankle dirty?]

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John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

As people around the country continue to protest police brutality and racial injustices against black people, athletes continue to add their powerful voices and experiences to the cause.

Wizards guard John Wall joined in the conversation, discussing the fear he continues to have about being pulled over by the police. For many black Americans, the reality of racial discrimination makes the mere thought of being pulled over more daunting than it should be. Apparently that anxiety doesn’t dissipate just because you’re a star athlete.

“If I get pulled over right now, I’m terrified,” Wall said on Thursday’s episode of The Athletic’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “To be realistic. If I’m in a dark area, or a back street, I’m not stopping. I’ll go to a high-speed chase to get to a spot where it’s a grocery store, or somewhere where there’s a lot of lights at, because that’s how terrifying it is.”

To some, it may be jarring to hear a recognizable, millionaire athlete discuss his fear of the police, but the money and acclaim don't provide a shield from racism. And for many black people, the fear is instilled at a young age, either through personal experiences or those of people with the same skin color. In the age of camera phones, more and more incidents are being recorded for the world to see.

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George Floyd was suffocated and killed by a white police officer in Minnesota who put a knee to his neck for over eight minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times and killed in her own home by police in Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death by a white father and son while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood.

“You’re telling me if I want to be a black kid to jog in a neighborhood, and I say, ‘Ok, I want to cut through this white neighborhood, this rich neighborhood,’ and then all of a sudden, I’m targeted to get killed?” Wall continued. “Because I don’t belong there? Those are the kind of things I grew up with, like you wouldn’t go to this side of town where you wasn’t allowed. Why? We breathe the same air.”

Wall, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C., said the constant acts of racial discrimination have been frustrating and that all people want to see is justice. 

“I feel like this has been going on for decades, been going on for so much longer than the time I’ve been on this earth,” he said. “But if we didn’t have social media or camera phones right now, we wouldn’t be able to see this act going on.”

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

The NBA now has a concrete plan to return to action, but there are still obstacles that will need solving when play resumes. One of the most important will be the health and safety of players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the league will need to know how to handle the possibility of a positive COVID-19 virus diagnosis. With a large number of individuals destined to be in close proximity in Orlando, could one player testing positive derail the entire plan? Would that team then have to be eliminated due to the potential risk they carry?

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that will not be the case.

“The answer is we don’t believe we would need to," Silver told Charles Barkley on TNT's Inside the NBA, referring to the idea of having to eliminate a team due to a positive coronavirus result.

Silver's confidence stems from the vast amount of research and preparation the league has done to get to this stage in the return process. Not only have NBA officials detailed plans of action, but SIlver and others are working closely with health experts in Florida to make sure things go smoothly.

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Based on what they've heard so far, one positive test won't be the end-all for the NBA. If a player were to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the league knows the exact procedure to keep others safe.

“The view is that if we are testing every day and we are able to trace, in essence, the contacts the player has had," Silver said. "We are able to, in essence, contain that player and separate that from his team.”

The commissioner explained that the NBA is continuing to test on a daily basis, and that won't change anytime soon. The threat of coronavirus impacting the league's return is strong, but Silver and the NBA are confident that they'll be able to overcome any issues and have the season play out in a safe manner.

"The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive," Silver said. 

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