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Wizards fall apart down the stretch - again

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Wizards fall apart down the stretch - again

Twice the Wizards stood at the foul line with the fans on their feet and the game in their hands.

The first time was with 17.1 seconds remaining in regulation and the Wizards trailing by a point. Martell Webster made the first, but missed the second.

The second time came with four-tenths of a second left in the first overtime and the Wizards trailing by two. Chris Singleton, fouled on a 3-point attempt, went to the line to shoot three.

He made the first, missed the second and made the third to send the game into a second overtime.

“We all live for that moment,” Webster said after the Wizards absorbed their 11th straight loss to start the season, a 108-106 double-overtime defeat at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats.

“Chris was up there. I was up there. It’s in and out, teetering on the rim and just falls out. Things happen. Everybody lives to be in that moment and everybody on this team is capable of making those free throws and winning the game for us.”

It just hasn’t happened. For the second straight game, victory was snatched from the Wizards, who are now 0-3 in overtime this season and are now the 12th team in NBA history to start a season 0-11.

Led by Singleton’s 12 rebounds, the Wizards outrebounded the Hornets 53-40 and, ironically, outperformed them at the foul line, making 32 of 39 attempts. But when the game was one the line, the Wizards couldn’t make the shot they needed, going 2-for-8 from the field in the first overtime and 2-for-9 in the second.

“This one probably hurts the most because we had the game won,” rookie Bradley Beal said after finishing 3-for-12 from the field and 3-for-9 from 3-point range, for 13 points. “I guess it’s just nerves down the stretch. We feel like we have to win and I think that’s what’s really killing us. We just need to relax and play ball.”

The road for the Wizards gets even steeper in the coming weeks. Beginning with Monday night’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs the Wizards next five components are a combined 42-19.

“I didn’t know it would be this difficult,” Beal said. “We’re 0-11 but we still have 71 more games. It’s still a long season and we still have an opportunity to get over .500.

“That’s our goal and we need to shoot for it. Just try to get in the playoffs. I mean, we’re going to make it. I have faith in this team and I think we’re more than capable of doing it.

“Everybody hates losing. You see the guys’ faces. It’s depression, because we haven’t won a game yet. But at the same time we play two days later. You have to just forget about it and just move on to the next game.”

 

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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