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Takeaways from the Wizard's impressive road win over Bulls

Takeaways from the Wizard's impressive road win over Bulls

This time the Wizards had John Wall and Bradley Beal for their game at the Chicago Bulls, and while it didn’t seem to matter much early they woke up after a terrible first quarter to pull out a 107-97 win on Wednesday at United Center.

John Wall (23 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three steals) led the way as the Wizards (13-15) drew even in the season series 1-1.

Bradley Beal (21 points, five assists) contributed as well as Marcin Gortat (14 points, 11 rebounds) for the starters. Markieff Morris (eight points, 11 rebounds) helped close what had been a wide rebounding gap after the first quarter. 

The bench combined to score 32 points, led by Marcus Thornton (10 points), Sheldon McClellan (seven), Trey Burke (six) and Jason Smith (six). The Wizards have won six of their last eight games and have a chance for a winning road trip if they can beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

Chicago (14-14) led most of the first half. They jumped out to a 33-22 lead after the first quarter when it made 15 of 24 shots (62.5%).

Jimmy Butler (20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) led the Bulls along with Taj Gibson (17 points, 11 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (19 points) and Doug McDermott (10 points).

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--The bench, which has been under fire all season, came through again for the Wizards. Thornton hit a difficult corner jumper with the shot clock winding down, Burke finished drives to the basket vs. Gibson and Jerian Grant as the Wizards put together a 6-0 run for a 91-85 lead with 7:16 left. 

--The Wizards only had six transition points in the 106-95 loss to Chicago last month. With Wall, who revived a struggling offense by injecting pace into the game, they had a 32-16 edge on the fast break.

--Otto Porter (eight points) only played 12 minutes and couldn’t play in the second half because of back spasms. He was replaced by McClellan, who’d recently returned from a D-League stint.

-- McClellan played 19 minutes and played his most time on the court since Nov. 16 when he was on the court for 21 minutes in a loss at the Sixers. He hadn’t played in the Wizards’ last 11 games.

-- Morris hadn't been a factor since his 23 points and nine rebounds in the upset of the Clippers over the weekend. He was 2-for-9 in the loss to Indiana on Monday and picked up his third foul on a cheap reach-in in the last minute of the first half in this one. But he asserted himself late with a strong move and finish over Nikola Mirotic and the help of Gibson. Then Morris had the ball in transition and gave it up to Beal on a nice look that drew a foul for two made free throws. The Wizards took at 95-87 lead which was their largest at that time.

-- Rajon Rondo hasn’t fared well for Chicago in this matchup. Their starting point guard 0-for-6 when Wall didn’t play in the first meeting and failed to score. He had 10 assists but only had three  points on 1-for-10 shooting tonight.

-- The Wizards only had 10 turnovers, five fewer than the Bulls who allowed nine more points off of theirs (19).

-- Wall picked up his eighth technical foul of the season, putting him halfway to the threshold of a one-game suspension. Upset that he was assessed a blocking foul on Gibson that he thought should've been a charge, Wall jumped up and complained at 2:47 of the second quarter. Wall is now tied with DeMarcus Cousins, his teammmate at Kentucky, of the Sacramento Kings for most technicals in the league. Each technical Wall gets is $3,000 until he reaches 11. Then it increases to $4,000 each. So far, Wall has shelled out $19,000 in fines for the technicals. If he reaches 16, he'll be hit with an automatic one-game suspension by the league office. 

 

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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