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Wizards wake up in time to knock off Sixers: Five takeaways

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Wizards wake up in time to knock off Sixers: Five takeaways

PHILADELPHIA -- Listless for most of three quarters, the Wizards avoided a near disaster Friday as they came back behind John Wall's effort to defeat the NBA's worst team at Wells Fargo Center 103-94.

Following a near lifeless performance in a 109-104 loss at the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, this was not only a must-win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers but with the Cleveland Cavaliers coming to D.C. for a game Sunday this easily could've turned into a three-game losing streak.

The Wizards trailed 72-66 after a jump shot by T.J. McConnell but ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run, with Wall scoring six of them, to regain the lead they'd never relinquish.

Wall (23 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds) led the Wizards (27-30), followed by Jared Dudley (14 points), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds), Ramon Sessions (12 points), Markieff Morris (10 points, seven rebounds) and Otto Porter (nine points, 10 rebounds, three steals). 

J.J. Hickson, who joined the team earlier in the day after being signed as a free agent, wasn't active.

Jahlil Okafor (21 points) led the Sixers (8-50).

  • The Sixers scored 52 first-half points and shot 46.5% from the field (20 of 43) but after the break they were kept to 42 points, shooting 15 of 39 (38.4%). They also were dominated on the boards with the Wizards having a 55-41 edge in rebounds (17-7 offensive).

  • Okafor got most of his offense in transition off of turnovers or botched plays by the Wizards. When he was in the half court, especially faced up with Nene, he couldn't get a clean look. For his size, Okafor isn't a good rebounder (six). Nene had two more in 10 fewer minutes. Morris had more (seven) in 13 fewer minutes.

  • The aggressive nature was evident in Porter early, who coach Randy Wittman said he'd talked to earlier in the day. Porter was 4 of 8 in the first half alone, five more shots than he took in 17 minutes of the previous game when he only was on the floor for four minutes in the second half. Porter missed all four shots he took in the third and had a miscommunication with Beal in transition that produced an uncontested layup for Jerami Grant. Porter kept at it but finished one point shy of his first double-double since Jan. 1.

  • Beal's shooting woes from deep continue. He'd been on a tear since returning from his leg injury but in his last four games he's 4 of 21 from three-point range, including just 1 of 6 Friday.

  • Morris was having such a better impact on the game that he started the third quarter over Dudley. Less than two minutes in, however, he picked up his fourth foul and had to go to the bench. Morris made 3 of 5 shots to start the game, and a miss included a three that rimmed out. Going forward, he should get more looks in the starting five. 

MORE WIZARDS: Anderson looks to have avoided any setbacks

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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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