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Takeaways from Wizards' Game 3 blowout win over Boston Celtics

Takeaways from Wizards' Game 3 blowout win over Boston Celtics

The tone was set by John Wall in the opening minutes. He hit the floor against the odds for a loose ball and rescued it from the often tenacious hands of Avery Bradley and Al Horford to feed Bradley Beal spotting up from three.

The lead was just 7-2, but the hustle and grit showed in Game 3 on the defensive end launched the Wizards to a 116-89 blowout of the Boston Celtics to close the series to 2-1 on Thursday night at Verizon Center. Game 4 is Sunday in Washington.

Wall (24 points, eight assists) led Washington followed by Otto  Porter (19 points, eight rebounds), Bojan Bogdanovic (19 points), Marcin Gortat (13 points, 16 rebounds), Beal (11 points) and Markieff Morris (10 points).

After dropping 53 in Boston’s 13-point comeback to win in overtime Tuesday night at TD Garden, Isaiah Thomas (13 points) was kept under wraps as Wall blanketed him and the Wizards’ rotations were crisp on their switches. He shot just 3-for-8 which included misses on his only two shots from the three-point arc.

Horford (16 points) and Jae Crowder (14 points, seven rebounds) led an otherwise anemic offense for Boston.

The Wizards dominated the play inside by keeping Thomas out of the paint. They had a 56-28 edge on those points inside and thumped them on the boards with a 50-38 rebound edge.

[RELATED: Kelly Oubre gets ejected after shoving Kelly Olynyk]

-- Starts haven’t been a problem for the Wizards. They led 38-24 after the first quarter in Game 1, 42-29 in Game 2 and went on a 22-0 run in the first quarter to lead 39-17 going into the second quarter of this one. Unlike the first two when those leads were trimmed to five and three, the Wizards didn’t lose that cushion. They entered halftime up 63-40 and never were threatened.

--Porter asserted himself in the second quarter as the Celtics continued to tried to hide their biggest defensive liability, Thomas, on him. He had 15 points on 7 of 9 shooting by halftime as Porter kept getting the ball either on the catch or on the dribble going to the lane so he could knock down one-hand floaters or turnaround jumpers. At 5-9, Thomas is helpless to stop it.

--Ian Mahinmi (two points) made his first appearance in a game since April 10. He made what appeared to be a clean strip of Kelly Olynyk that was called a foul. Mahinmi tangled with Jonas Jerekbo and both were hit with double technical fouls. Mahinmi only played nine minutes but provided the rim protection if the guards were beaten off the dribble.

--After knocking down a pull-up jumper, Kelly Oubre (two points) lost his cool with Olynyk (one point) who flattened him with a screen that was called an offensive foul. Oubre bounced up quickly and charged Olynyk in front of the Wizards’ bench and slammed into him to knock him to the floor. Oubre was ejected with 9:12 left and the Wizards up 45-24. He played just five minutes.

--When Thomas leaves the floor, Marcus Smart (nine points) does a lot of the ballhandling and he was a disaster for Boston. He had six turnovers in his first 13 minutes because he tends to take steps or split his feet before his first dribble. It wasn’t allowed and with no pure point guard option behind Thomas, it’s a glaring weakness. Smart had two more to finish with a game-high eight.

--Brandon Jennings (four points) and Terry Rozier (two points) got into aggressive exchanges early in the fourth quarter. Rozier was called for two quick common fouls, then both players were assessed technical. Celtics coach Brad Stevens was given a technical and then when a timeout was called with 9:54 left Jennings and Rozier were hit with technical again. That resulted in both being ejected. Trey Burke made his first appearance for the Wizards since the playoffs began April 16.

--Jason Smith didn’t play until 7:20 remained with Mahinmi back in the lineup. He’s also been less than 100% since hyperextending his right knee in the first round. His three-point range is vital from the four or five spot but Mahinmi is the better defensive option vs. Horford and the better rebounder. Smith made his first shot with four minutes left in the game.

[RELATED: Ian Mahinmi makes debut, immediately gets in shoving match]

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John Wall and Bradley Beal named in Forbes top 100 highest-paid athletes

John Wall and Bradley Beal named in Forbes top 100 highest-paid athletes

Forbes released an article Friday morning detailing "The World's Highest-Paid Athletes in 2020," and the D.C. House of Guards, Bradley Beal and John Wall, both made appearances. 

Beal, who signed a heavily discussed two-year, $72 million contract extension last offseason (which doesn't kick in until the 2021 season), came in at No. 96 ($2 million in endorsements, $20.3 million in salary). Wall cracked the top 50 (42) with $2.5 million in endorsements and $28.5 million in salary.

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"Figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020," Forbes said. "With the delayed seasons due to the coronavirus, we reduced overall NBA salaries 25%, based on our estimate for the maximum salary cut."

For the football crowd, it's also worth noting that former Redskins QB Kirk Cousins ranked ninth on the list ($2.5 million in endorsements, $58 million in salary).

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NBA reportedly has targeted July 31 to return to play

NBA reportedly has targeted July 31 to return to play

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has told the NBA's Board of Governors that the league has set July 31 as a target date to resume the 2019-20 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The conversation was held on Friday during a conference call that was intended to discuss several return-to-play formats and a potential timeline for resumption of the season. 

Play has been suspended in the NBA since March 11 when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Teams were nearing the end of the regular season with 15-19 games remaining on their schedules. Only the Golden State Warriors were eliminated from the playoffs.

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It is not clear how the NBA plans on returning. Going straight into the playoffs like the NHL has chosen to do, finishing a condensed regular season for 72 games, a group stage World Cup format, or a play-in tournament are all options on the table.

Earlier in the week, general managers expressed their interest in expanding the playoff field from 16 to 20-24 teams. However, they appear to be split on several other key issues.

Currently, the league is in discussions to hold the rest of the season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It would be a central location for all the games in a "bubble-like" environment. 

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