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Wizards notebook: Finding a third wind

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Wizards notebook: Finding a third wind

LAS VEGAS -- The truncated 2011-12 season led to circumstances where NBA teams played a grueling three games in three nights. The Wizards dealt with the unfortunate scheduling hat trick twice. With the leagues labor situation squared away, no more of that during the regular season. The summer league, thats a different story. Having already played twice during the first two days of the Las Vegas showcase, Washington closes out the Sunday night session inside the Cox Pavilion againsta NBA D-League Select team.Itll be tough for us, said Wizards summer league coach Sam Cassell following Saturdays 76-70 win over Houston. Three games in a row, these guys got to get their rest. At least its not until (7:00 PT).Cassell gave four of his five primary players rest in the second half after said players actively built up a 25-point second-half lead. Chris Singleton and Beal played 26 and 24 minutes respectively, but both had seats on the bench for the fourth quarter along with Jan Vesely and Shelvin Mack. Only Mack received fewer than 30 minutes in the opener against Atlanta. Tomas Satoransky played 22 minutes and directed traffic during the entire final quarter against Houston.On the flip side the D-League squad is making its 2012 debut on Sunday. Familiar names include former Wizards summer league player Mardy Collins, ex-Texas Tech guard Andre Emmett and Phil Hubbard, a one-time Wizards assistant coach in the same role with the D-League team.Against Houston, Washington'sstarters expended plenty of energy building up that lead, not wanting another lackluster startafter turning in oneon Friday, and kept it rolling into the second half. Beal produced as a rebounder, passer and scorer during the third quarter, coming up with nine of his team-best 14 points. Two came on a baseline jam, but the worn-out feeling almost prevented what proved to be an uplifting play."I almost missed because I was kind of tired and stuff, but yea that got me going a little bit," Beal said. Perhaps tired legs and a compacted schedule - the Wizards arrived later than expected Thursday night and then played the first game of Friday's session - explain the team'sfree throw woes. In two games, Washington is shooting 63.6 percent (42 of 66) from the line. Beal missed half of his 10 attempts against the Rockets and Singleton is 9 of 17 (53 percent) combined. All 14 players on the Wizards summer league roster have received playing time. Former Gonzaga star Steven Gray contributedduringa second quarter run playintg alongside the starters. Typically capable from distance, the guard finished with six points and four assists, but missed all five of his3-point attempts. The Wizards will have a day off Monday before playing consecutive games on Tuesday (Grizzlies, 6:00 pm ET) and Wednesday (Bucks, 4:00 pm ET). The final two games will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.

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Former Hoya great Jeff Green says slow your roll on Mac McClung

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Former Hoya great Jeff Green says slow your roll on Mac McClung

Through three games as a freshman for the Georgetown Hoyas, Mac McClung has lived up to his hype as a social media sensation, at least when it comes to his ability to wow crowds with high-flying dunks. 

McClung has a long way to go to become a true star in college basketball, but the kid can fly. Already, he has provided several viral highlights.

Wizards forward Jeff Green is one of the best players in Georgetown's decorated basketball history, and on Wednesday after shootaround, he weighed in on McClung's flashy start.

Green, now an 11-year NBA veteran, spoke from the perspective of a guy who's been around the block. He says people should calm down a bit and wait to see what McClung becomes.

"Yeah. I've seen a lot of him. The guy has been great, but it's not just him. I think because of the internet people have just focused on him," Green said. 

Green went on to reference McClung's famous YouTube mixtapes some more.

"It's just the way the world is. People are focused on the internet and he's all over the internet and that's all you think about. They have a good collection of guys," he said. "Georgetown is a team. It's not just one person," 

Now, just because Green was downplaying the hype for McClung, who last year set the Virginia state high school scoring record, and did so by passing former Hoya great Allen Iverson. Green thinks McClung has a chance to be really good and probably far surpass his three-star recruiting grade.

"It's not hype. The kid is good," Green said. "You can't put these expectations. What have people been calling him? White Iverson. There's no other player that's gonna be Allen Iverson. He's gonna be who he's gonna be."

Green gave a further explanation that seemed to suggest the word 'expectations' had struck a cord. Green himself was a three-star recruit and went on to exceed that grade by becoming the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

"People put expectations on other people and then when they don't grow into those expectations, in their eyes he's a bad player. You can't do that. Let him grow into what he's going to be and then you define him," Green said.

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3 things to watch for improved Wizards vs. Cavs

3 things to watch for improved Wizards vs. Cavs

The Washington Wizards still have John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. The Cleveland Cavaliers no longer employ LeBron James. That makes Wednesday’s first meeting of the season between the Eastern Conference foes curious. The radical change for the visitors also requires a preview. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

Here are three things to watch...

Sustaining the surge

Monday’s 117-109 victory over the Orlando Magic extended the Wizards’ winning streak to a season-high two. Don't knock the modest uptick after a 2-9 start. John Wall’s stat line took a big leap over the last three games: 24.0 points, 10.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 45.5 percent on 3-pointers. Beyond the numbers, the point guard appears to have knocked off the remaining rust physically. We’re used to his aggressive end-to-end pushes, but now Wall is firing up the court immediately after makes or misses, helping Washington quickly enter its offensive sets. Another strong outing from the five-time All-Star could propel the Wizards to their first three-game winning streak since Feb. 10-22.

Bench support

Starters Wall, Beal, Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris had solid games against the Magic, but it was the Wizards’ second unit playing above previous season norms. All five reserves finished with a plus-minus of plus-8 or better. Jeff Green continued his sizzling shooting, sinking 4 of 5 from beyond the arc en route to 18 points. The 6-foot-9 forward is 9 of 13 from beyond the arc overall during the last four games, and 21 of 28 overall. Backcourt partners Austin Rivers and Tomas Satoransky, slow to develop chemistry this season, showed increased comfort during the winning streak. Washington needs more from the pair to help keep minutes for Wall and Beal at reasonable levels. That Green and Rivers, in particular, have provided steady help has contributed to Porter sitting out the fourth quarter in three consecutive games.

Cleveland doesn’t rock

From four consecutive NBA Finals appearances to the NBA’s worst record (2-11, tied with Phoenix). Yeah, the Cavaliers miss LeBron James just a little. They also are down Kevin Love (toe surgery), leaving Jordan Clarkson (15.2) and Rodney Hood (12.9) as Cleveland’s top scorers. That’s not ideal. The Cavaliers are 27th in scoring (103.3) while giving up 113.1 points per game, which is better than Washington’s league-worst 118.5. Rookie point guard Collin Sexton, the No. 8 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, is filling in for the injured George Hill. Sexton is averaging 17.0 points over the last three games.

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