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Takeaways from Wizards' win over Celtics, 14th straight home victory

Takeaways from Wizards' win over Celtics, 14th straight home victory

A “hostile act” between Markieff Morris and Jae Crowder had to be reviewed midway through the third quarter, but that was the extent of the physical play between the Wizards and Boston Celtics in a game defined by the wearing of black for a midseason game.

The Wizards (25-20) never trailed as they took a 2-1 season series lead to inch closer to the Celtics (26-18) in the East and won their 14th consecutive game at Verizon Center, 123-108 Tuesday night, in front of 16,387.

That’s six wins in the last seven games since a 117-108 defeat to the Celtics at TD Garden on Jan. 11 when tempers flared postgame between John Wall and Jae Crowder and both were assessed fines by the league. The 123 points are a season-high.

Wall (27 points, seven assists, seven rebounds) didn’t have an issue with his right pinkie or left wrist as he did in that game. He sparked five players in double figures, along with Bradley Beal (game-high 31 points, five assists), Morris (19 points, 11 rebounds), Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (11 points).

Isaiah Thomas, who is contending for an All-Star reserve spot with Wall, led Boston (25 points, 13 assists), followed by Al Horford (22 points), Crowder (17 points) and Marcus Smart (13 points).

Oubre had a three-pointer and Wall made consecutive jump shots to end the first quarter with a 33-24 lead. The second unit was shaky to start the fourth quarter with turnovers but coach Scott Brooks called a timeout with 10:43 left to right the ship.

Oubre’s three-pointer with 8:01 left put them up 101-89. Then Beal closed with three baskets. Two came off the dribble as he burned Smart and then Crowder for mid-range pull-ups. The last came off a drive for a 114-100 lead to put it away.

--Brooks went with Oubre defending Thomas in the fourth, and it paid dividends after the Wizards failed to give him a different look when he scored 20 points in the fourth quarter of a comeback Jan. 11. Oubre’s 7-2 wingspan coupled with his superior athleticism against the 5-9 point guard was a difference-maker. Thomas was held to four points in the final 12 minutes. He was 6 of 12 entering the fourth but finished just 7-for-19 shooting.

-- The Wizards immediately went inside to Gortat. On their first three possessions, Gortat got the ball on post-ups and made both shots. He turned it over on the third but taking advantage of Horford, who is undersized in the middle. When the Wizards went to Morris and Jason Smith to open the second quarter, they took advantage of Kelly Olynyk defensively. Horford only had four rebounds and the Wizards had a 42-32 edge.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 9:11 of the second quarter but Brooks stuck with him. He continued to get open looks, including on a pop to the short corner for a three-pointer behind a decoy floppy action for Beal. But where Morris has lapses defensively, contesting shots at the perimeter and taking charges, wasn’t an issue. He took a charge late in the third to negate a possession as ran out to contest a three-point shot from Thomas that hit the side of the backboard. Morris grabbed it and it led to a transition basket for Wall.

--In the last meeting, Brooks complained about game officials swallowing their whistles. A total of 38 fouls were called but this game wasn’t over-officiated. There were 15 more total fouls called with the Wizards taking 21 free throws. Boston took 24.

-- Morris was hit with a technical after getting tangled with Crowder with 7:55 left in the third. It was his sixth of the season which will cost him $3,000 but nothing more came of the confrontation that was minor. Smart, however, clashed with the Celtics' coaching staff late in the game when he was being pulled.

[RELATED: VIDEOS: Wizards arrive in all black for Celtics game]

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

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

The Wizards take to the court Thursday night for the 2018-19 NBA opener against the Miami Heat.

The Wizards made some major moves this offseason, with the organization looking to capitalize on the opening atop the Eastern Conference power structure. The Wizards used their first-round pick on Oregon wing Troy Brown jr., and acquired a talented backup guard in Austin Rivers. The cherry on the top of the Wizards offseason sundae was big-man Dwight Howard, who missed three weeks due to a strained piriformis muscle, but participated in his first full practice with his new team Monday.

While the season opener won't tell us who will win the NBA championship in 2019, it will give us a decent outline of what the Wizards look like and where they could be headed this season.

The Wizards-Heat season opener takes place on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be braodcast on NBC Sports Washington.

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 1
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
8:00 PM: Miami Heat @ Wizards (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
11:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
11:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)


Wizards: Dwight Howard (day-to-day)
Heat: Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Wayne Ellington (day-to-day)


John Wall, Wizards: After missing 41 games due to injuries, Wall is looking to recapture his form of two seasons ago, when he averaged a career high in points (23.1), assists (10.7), and field goal percentage (.451). 

Bradley Beal, Wizards: Beal and Wall are, and will always be the straw that stirs the drink in Washington. Beal is coming off a career year, where he was asked to do a lot more with Wall missing half the season. The hope this year is he can continue on last year's All-Star season while lowering his minutes per game as well (36.3).

Goran Dragic, Heat: Led Miami in scoring (17.3 points per game) and assists (4.8). 


Number of all-time Meetings: 121 games
Regular Season Record: Heat lead 81-40
Last Meeting: Heat won 129-102
Last 10: Heat lead 7-3


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Three things to watch for Wizards' regular season opener against the Heat

Three things to watch for Wizards' regular season opener against the Heat

The Washington Wizards open their regular season on Thursday night against the Miami Heat. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Just one week ago, it would have seemed near impossible that Dwight Howard, the Wizards' biggest offseason acquisition, would be ready to play in the season opener, but after three solid days of practice, it can't be ruled out. The Wizards plan to evaluate him throughout the day on Thursday to determine if he can take the court in what would be his first live game action with his new team.

Howard, 32, missed the entire preseason and nearly all of their practices leading up to the opener with a strained piriformis muscle. Though reports have been encouraging from his three practices, he is not yet in game shape. Even if he can play, expect him to be limited. If he can't play, Ian Mahinmi will get the start.

Heat are banged up

Miami is not only coming off a game the night before, as they lost in their season opener to the Orlando Magic, but they are missing some key guys. Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Justise Winslow are out due to injuries.

That will leave Miami perilously thin at the guard and small forward position. That happens to be an area of the roster where the Wizards are especially deep, now with Austin Rivers as the backup shooting guard behind Bradley Beal and with first round pick Troy Brown Jr. behind Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr.

That said, Waiters and Ellington being out means Dwyane Wade may get more run and, as we saw in the preseason, he is still very hard to stop. He is capable of a big night, especially given it's so early in the year and he doesn't yet have the wear-and-tear of a long season.

Can Beal reach the next level?

One of the most important indicators of how much better the Wizards will be this season is the continued improvement of their young players. John Wall, Porter and Oubre are included in that and particularly Oubre, who is entering an important season in the final year of his contract.

But the guy who improved more than anyone last year and has a chance to take another big leap this season is Beal. Now with one All-Star nod under his belt, what does he have for an encore? 

If Beal can get his scoring average up even higher from the 22.6 he put up last season, he could enter the All-NBA conversation. And he now has more help than ever with Rivers behind him. Beal should, in theory, be more fresh each night with Rivers taking away some of his workload. 

The Heat offer a good matchup defensively for Beal with Josh Richardson. He is one of the more underrated players in basketball and is a menace on the perimeter.

"I've been a fan of his since I played him in college at Tennessee," Beal said. "He's always been a pest. He's super athletic, sneaky athletic. And I feel like he developed his shot to where you have to respect it. If you go under [on screens], he's shooting it."