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Takeaways from Wizards' huge win over Warriors

Takeaways from Wizards' huge win over Warriors

The first two games out of the All-Star break, no matter how bad the Wizards looked vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, are bygones. That’s because Tuesday, they upset the Golden State Warriors at Verizon Center 112-108 in their fourth sellout of the season.

The Wizards (35-23) led most of the way and by as many as 19 points in the first half before Golden State made its run. But they had to overcome a pair of three-pointers from Draymond Green to tie the score at 106 and a missed three-pointer by Steph Curry that could've won it in the waning seconds.

John Wall had his 38th double-double and tied a career-high in assists (12 points, 19 assists, six rebounds) while Bradley Beal (25 points, three steals), Otto Porter (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists), Markieff Morris (22 points, six rebounds, four blocks), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points).

Curry (25 points), who was coming off 0-for-11 shooting from three-point range Monday in Philadelphia, didn’t make one until the third quarter. Klay Thompson (16 points) was their primary offense early but Zaza Pachulia (12 points, eight rebounds), Green (14 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) and Shaun Livingston (14 points) were factors, too.

The Warriors (50-10) took their first lead 80-79 after four consecutive free throws from Livingston late in the third, but Porter made a clutch three-pointer for a 102-100 lead, Beal made a floater for a 104-103 lead, Morris had a dunk on a lob and all three combined to shoot 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 1:18.

Patrick McCaw (eight points) replaced Kevin Durant in the lineup after he went down with an injury.

--It wasn’t a well-played game in terms of taking care of the ball. Both teams combined for 39 turnovers but both teams played well defensively. The Wizards and Warriors are tops in the league in deflections.

--Durant’s return home was anticlimactic again, similar to what happened last season when he played here for the only time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gortat maneuvered for position and it knocked Pachulia to the floor. He fell backwards onto Durant’s foot and forced his left knee backwards. His night ended after 1:33 as he went to the locker room and the team announced he had a hyperextension that would require an MRI. Durant only took one shot and didn’t score.

--Gortat was tentative getting the ball on the short rolls to the basket. He appeared to be predetermining that he wouldn’t shoot the ball and pass instead. That produced four turnovers for him in the first half alone when the Wizards could’ve had a lead larger than 61-49 at the break. Morris had difficulty finishing over smalls on switches as Golden State collapsed with active hands to bother him and relied on help to contest late, but he was able to make them pay when he scored 11 of his points in the fourth. 

--Ian Mahinmi (six points, six rebounds) had his best game in Washington, entering earlier than usual because of two first-quarter fouls on Gortat. He was the defensive presence that he needed to be against a team like Golden State that has so many shooters that bigs who can step out, help contain the ball and get back to his man is important. Mahinmi blocked a dunk attempt by Green at the rim and then went at Pachulia for a bucket on a counter move.  Mahinmi frustrated Pachuilia into a foul on the next offensive possession for the Warriors and forced JaVale McGee into a turnover when he recovered to stop him at the time.

--After 16 points in the first quarter, Beal went silent until a three-pointer just past the midway point of the third. Wall played the role of facilitator for most of three quarters until he grew more assertive as Golden State locked in on taking his shooters away. He had 17 assists – two short of tying a career-high – entering the fourth quarter. Both found ways to close as Curry and Thompson shot a combined 5-for-22 from three-point range.

[RELATED: Durant exits Wizards game with apparent knee injury (VIDEO)]

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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.