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Wizards officially 4th seed in East in NBA Playoffs with Raptors' win over Knicks

Wizards officially 4th seed in East in NBA Playoffs with Raptors' win over Knicks

The Wizards are officially locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference for the upcoming NBA Playoffs. That became set in stone with the Toronto Raptors' win over the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon. The Wizards can technically finish with the same record as Toronto, but the third-place Raptors own the tiebreaker based on their 3-1 head-to-head record.

Washington will have home court advantage in the first round, but they may still want some help in the standings before the postseason begins. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently the No. 1 seed and a half-game ahead of the Boston Celtics, who clinched a top three seed on Saturday night with their win over the Charlotte Hornets. If the playoffs began today, the Wizards would likely face the defending-champion Cavs in the second round, if both teams were to advance.

Arguments can be made either way on whether the Wizards should care if it is Cleveland or Boston in the top seed, but recent playoff results would suggest the Cavs are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James has been to six straight finals, while this current current Celtics' team as constructed as not won a playoff series yet under head coach Brad Stevens. Seeing the Celtics overtake the Cavs in the top spot would not be the worst thing for the Wizards.

The playoff seeding sorting out like this raises the question of whether the Wizards should rest their players in either of their final two games. They still would like to reach 50 wins and in order to do that, they will have to win each of their last two games.

But 50 wins is not an achievement that will come with any sort of help in the standings. The Wizards are locked into where they are and all they can do is watch the rest of the East shake out as they also wait to hear of their first round opponent.

[RELATED: Whiteside accidentally earned Gortat career milestone, offered congrats]

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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