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Wizards smoke Heat 106-87: Five takeaways

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Wizards smoke Heat 106-87: Five takeaways

In a game that lacked the energy of the first two meetings, the more injured team (Wizards) dealt with the lesser injured team (Miami Heat) convincingly. It produced the most lopsided result 106-87 as Washington won for just the second time in the last six games at Verizon Center on Wednesday night in front of 17,008.

John Wall (18 points, 10 assists) and Bradley Beal (18 points) led six players scoring in double figures for Washington, including Nene (16 points, six rebounds, five steals), Marcin Gortat (15 points, 12 rebounds), Garrett Temple (11 points) and Jared Dudley (10 points). 

Just as important for the Wizards (20-21), they lead the season series 2-1 which could come into play with tiebreakers considering how close everyone in the East standings is below the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miami (23-20), which has lost three in a row and six of seven, were led by Chris Bosh (18 points) and Luol Deng (16).

  • Nene made the start for the first time at power forward instead of Dudley. The move made sense, even though pairing him in the last game vs. the Trail Blazers was disastrous because there was no spacing for the offense. The Heat had Hassan Whiteside, Bosh and Deng in the starting lineup so more size was needed. Nene and Gortat combined to score half of the Wizards' 26 first-quarter points to get them out to a good start. Nene's 26 minutes were one above his season high.

  • Whiteside went down without contact with 6:18 left in the second quarter and didn't return because of a left oblique muscle (on the side) strain. The Heat trailed 37-31 at the time but without his shot-blocking presence in the middle and Dwyane Wade (sore shoulders) already being out made this one a wrap early. The Heat lack scoring depth on the bench, especially shooting.

  • Wall stayed on on the floor with Gortat up almost 20 with less than four minutes left -- long after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra conceded the game with his reserves. Wall, who was given off practice and didn't shoot around with the team Wednesday morning, played 44 and 36 minutes in the previous two games. He logged 32 minutes but probably could've been kept to less than 30.  

  • Beal didn't settle for just jump shots. He kept his dribble alive, used lots of hesitation moves and was able to get into the paint to score. He made most of his shots at the rim, converting 4 of 6 in the paint (shot chart). 

  • The difference in this outcome was shooters. Despite both teams having a heavy dose of injuries, the Wizards have scorers off the bench like Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions and Dudley or Temple (both have been starters recently but actually are backups). Miami, though they got off to a good start, are struggling when players like Wade go down because Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson aren't reliable shooters. Winslow made half of his eight shots but those buckets game in garbage time. Richardson was 2 of 7. 

RELATED: Nene steals, scores coast-to-coast lay up

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Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

Swaggy Picasso's Sole Talk had the Wizards taking notice opening night

The connection between athletes and their fans is a powerful thing in sports. The NBA is one of the trendiest, fashion-forward leagues in the world. From shoe design to overall wardrobe to eccentric personalities...the Association has it all on display for fans across the globe to consume. 

Lloyd Ferguson, a fan himself and native of Silver Spring, Md., is bursting onto the customized sneakers scene as an up-and-coming artist. 

His Instagram (@SwaggyPicasso) serves as his personal laboratory and a platform to share his creations. 

Prior to the start of Thursday night's Wizards-Heat game, NBC Sports Washington invited Ferguson to Capital One Arena for what would become a memorable night for the 23-year-old. 

Chris Miller and Drew Gooden featured Swaggy Picasso on the pregame show for an interview and sneaker showcase.

"The inside of my body was jiggling and moving. I was like 'I gotta keep composed and stay cool. You're on national televison, Lloyd.'" 

You would have never known it. 

Ferguson, who was a basketball player himself locally, grew up a Wizards and D.C. sports fan all around. 

Little did he know several Wizards would take notice of his artwork. 

Kelly Oubre, Devin Robinson and John Wall - each known for their wardrobes and respective styles - stopped by to take a peek at Ferguson's kicks. 

"Their reactions to my art was all I needed, honestly. They see the potential and growth. It's very overwhelming." 

It was a groundbreaking night for a young talent with lofty dreams and aspirations. 

Swaggy Picasso has no plans of stopping anytime soon. 

"I've been busting out these shoes day and night. I don't sleep. My desire to paint shoes is ridiculous." 

 

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

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

The Wizards take to the court Saturday night looking for their first win of the season against the Toronto Raptors. 

In their first game of the season the Wizards laid an egg after the Miami Heat were missing three rotation players on the second end of a back-to-back. Similar problems emerged even with new offseason additions Jeff Green and Austin Rivers having stellar debuts. Dwight Howard did not play in the contest, still dealing with a butt injury. 

Now, the Wizards will go up against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, the Raptors. They also acquired a former All-Star in Kwahi Leonard this offseason, trading away DeMar DeRozan. Besides the switch, this is pretty much the same squad that knocked the Wizards out of the First Round of the playoffs last season.

On Saturday the Raptors will be coming off a back-to-back after hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Once again, another big opportunity for the Wizards against an Eastern Conference foe early in the season.

The Wizards-Raptors will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors, 2018 NBA regular season Game 2
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Raptors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Raptors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Toronto Raptors @ Wizards (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Redskins GameDay: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (questionable)
Raptors: Delon Wright (day-to-day), OG Anunoby (probable)

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Wall, Wizards: After speculation on if Wall would return to his peak form, he showed out on Thursday night. With 26 points, nine assists, and four blocks, the point guard was all around the court for the Wizards. 

Otto Porter Jr./ Jeff Green, Wizards: Covering Leonard is going to be a tall task. It is anticipated that the taller Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green to be the duo that will be covering the lengthy guard.  Neither guy are going to light-up the stat sheet on the offensive end, but after a nice showing by Green on Thursday look for them to split time defensively. 

Khawi Leonard: Leonard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut with the Raptors, picking up right where he left off before his injury. Will a back-to-back affect the star that hasn't played consistently since 2016? 

WIZARDS vs. RAPTORS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 95 games
Regular Season Record: Raptors lead 48-37
Postseason Record: Wizards lead 6-4
Last Meeting: Raptors won 102-92
Last 10: Raptors lead 6-4

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