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Takeaways from Wizards' thorough victory over Pacers

Takeaways from Wizards' thorough victory over Pacers

A 13-point lead had been reduced to 71-68, Bradley Beal was out and the Wizards were struggling to find points to fend off the Indiana Pacers.

John Wall (34 points, 9 assists, 11 rebounds) came to the rescue by taking over in the third quarter by scoring 12 consecutive points en route to a 111-105 victory Wednesday at Verizon Center in front of 16,172. It is the seventh win a row at home for Washington (15-16) which is now 12-6 here.

Marcin Gortat (13 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists), Otto Porter (22 points) and Beal (12) contributed along with 18 points from the bench. 

The Pacers (15-18) were led by Paul George (34 points) and Jeff Teague (19 points, 11 assists). George made it uncomfortable in the final minutes when his three-point shot cut the deficit to 96-94 but the Wizards held on. Porter’s three-pointer with 1:40 left pushed the lead to 103-98 to make it a two-possession game.

With the East loaded with teams at or just above and below .500, the Wizards are now 1-1 in their season series with the Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks; 2-1 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks and 1-0 vs. the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.

A win Friday vs. the Brooklyn Nets would put the Wizards at .500 to end the calendar year. They’re 9-5 in December and are tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the longest active home winning streak.

-- Though Myles Turner was matched up with Gortat, he’s no match for him in the low post. The last time these teams played, Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the defense focused more on the backcourt and allowed single coverage. The Wizards had a 54-34 edge in rebounding. Turner spends a lot of time on the perimeter and Pacers coach Nate McMillian even went to a big (slow) lineup of Al Jefferson and Kevin Seraphin on the floor at the same time when Wall made his 12-point run. Both are major liabilities in pick-and-roll coverage.

--Morris’ passing out of double teams has been an underrated part of his game. He accepts being trapped and is patient with how he finds the open man which usually results in the Wizards getting a quality look. Morris was stuck on the baseline and found Porter cutting, who drew a third foul on George with 3:47 left in the half. Morris (10 points, seven rebounds) was limited by foul trouble again himself.

--Beal rolled his right ankle in transition at 1:29 of the first quarter, when he made contact with Monta Ellis. Beal was able to shoot his foul shots but went to the locker room. Beal played six minutes of the second quarter and shot 1-for-3 but never looked comfortable. He had the ball in transition and had a chance to go in for a strong finish but deferred to Porter. When the Wizards came out of halftime, Sheldon McClellan started in his place. Beal was listed by the team as having a sprain with a questionable return.

--Jason Smith (seven points, seven rebounds) has continued to ride a hot streak. With Daniel Ochefu (illness) not available, Smith played 18 minutes and was vital in the pick-and-roll to help free Wall with screens. Marcus Thornton (seven points) also made key buckets to sustain them minus Beal. George, however, was able to exploit Thornton’s presence late when he ran screen-roll action with C.J. Miles, forced Porter to switch and get a matchup with the smaller guard. In the final two minutes, that advantage was taken away with Morris and Kelly Oubre.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Beal heads to locker room after rolling ankle]

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. Raptors: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4

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