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Taunt towards Wizards' bench fires up John Wall


Taunt towards Wizards' bench fires up John Wall

Watch the full exchange between Canaan and the Wizards' bench in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.

Isaiah Canaan, a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 2013, is in basketball purgatory, otherwise known as the Philadelphia 76ers. He led them back from a 12-point halftime deficit vs. the Wizards, but gave his foes motivation after his three-pointer swished in front of their bench.

Canaan, hyped about the surge and feeling good, stared them down for an unconscionable long period of time when Wizards coach Randy Wittman called a timeout. 

From that moment on, it was John Wall 21 points to 0 for Canaan as the Wizards pulled out a 116-108 victory on Monday. 

"I told him don't do that any more. He made me mad," said Wall, who finished with a game-high 37 points on 13 of 26 shooting, seven assists, four rebounds, three steals, a blocked shot and just two turnovers. "It sparked me. I don't know what he did. I just told him don't stare at my team like that again. He was backpedaling to his bench. He was smiling.

"We're good friends but that's like disrespect. You don't do that. He made me mad. When I'm mad I play better."


Everyone else in the Wizards' locker room brushed off the incident as minor. Wall had 16 points alone in the Wizards' 37-point fourth.

"I Just looked," said Canaan, a 36.6% shooter from three-point range for his career. "They said something. Before I shot it, they were just like, 'He ain't gonna make that. He missing.' When I made it I just turned around and just looked at them. I didn't even say nothing. I just stared at them."

Canaan, a spot starter on a historically bad team who finished with 13 points, scored as many points after his three-pointer with 6:36 left in the third as Kelly Oubre, Drew Gooden and Jarell Eddie for the Wizards who didn't play at all.

"He didn't say anything," said Wizards forward Markieff Morris, confirming Canaan's account. "He just looked. He felt hot. Made a big shot, I guess."

Canaan was 0-for-3 in the fourth as the Sixers (8-52) lost for the 13th time in 14 games. The Wizards (29-30) won their sixth in a row at home to move one game away from .500.

Wall looks for the slightest motivation as an excuse to put his foot on the gas pedal. That moment, no matter how small, was it. 

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.



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Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Once again, we await word from head coach Scott Brooks on the status of Dwight Howard. Howard, who missed all of the Wizards' preseason with a piriformis injury, was a gametime decision for the opener on Thursday. He ended up not playing, but appeared very close to finally making his debut.

Saturday night could be a different story, though we won't know until shortly before gametime. The Wizards' training staff will evaluate him pregame and make the call. If he can't go, Ian Mahinmi will get the nod as starter like he did against Miami.

Need more Otto

Though it wasn't the reason why the Wizards lost to the Heat, it certainly stood out in the box score how Otto Porter Jr. went without a three-point attempt in the opener. Porter finished third in three-point percentage last season with a 44.1 clip. He simply has to be more involved in the offense.

It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Wizards make to create more opportunities for Porter, and how Porter responds. All parties involved insist it is a mix of several factors, including a need for Porter to simply be more aggressive. That won't be easy against a tough Raptors defense, but expect Porter to get up plenty of threes in this one.

Leonard is out

This game was set to be the first matchup between the Wizards and the revamped Raptors, who added perennial All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard in the biggest trade of the offseason. But it turns out, Leonard will not play.

Toronto is resting Leonard, who played in only nine games all of last season due to a quadriceps injury. It's understandable, given the Raptors played the night before against the tough Boston Celtics.

With Leonard out, All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry will be a big focus. They also got guard Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to an excellent start. He's averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent from three so far. Getting him in the trade was a very underrated move by Toronto.