Wizards

Wizards beat Heat 105-101 for 2nd win of season

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Wizards beat Heat 105-101 for 2nd win of season

WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Wizards can't beat many teams, but they beat the best: LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Perhaps inspired by the courtside presence of Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Wizards doubled their victory total this season with a 105-101 win over the Heat on Tuesday night, despite James' triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

Jordan Crawford led Washington with 22 points, including three free throws in the final 11 seconds, while James missed a potentially tying 3-pointer with 3.9 to go.

While the reigning NBA champion Heat's six-game winning streak ended, and they fell to 12-4, the Wizards improved to 2-13. They started the season 0-12, but have won two of their last three games.

The Wizards have won three consecutive regular-season games against the Heat, including two last season in April.

On Tuesday, with a crowd of 17,761 - not, incidentally, a sellout - standing and screaming down the stretch, relishing that rare chance to witness a compelling game involving the Wizards, Kevin Seraphin contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. He helped Washington outrebound Miami 44-43.

Dwyane Wade scored 24 for Miami, while Chris Bosh added 20 points and 12 rebounds. Miami made only 8 of 28 attempts on 3-pointers.

After trailing by as many as 12, Miami tied the game at 88 on Bosh's reverse layup with 6 minutes, 50 seconds left. But Crawford's 15-footer put Washington ahead 99-95 with a little more than 2 1/2 minutes remaining.

With 18 seconds left, James wasted a chance to give the Heat the lead, clanking a 3-point attempt. Crawford's free throw then made it 102-99, and he slapped his palms together vociferously. James made a shot in the lane to pull within 102-101, and Crawford added two free throws for a 104-101 edge with 6.9 seconds on the clock.

James then missed his last shot, another 3. Nene got the rebound, and tacked on a free throw.

For those, especially in the D.C. area, who believe Griffin is capable of sports miracles, perhaps his presence might have been taken as a sign that his city's NBA team could pull off the upset.

As Washington's Emeka Okafor stepped to the foul line a little less than 4 minutes into the game, the arena rumbled with some of the loudest, most enthusiastic cheers of the evening. For Okafor? Hardly. No, the buzz was because fans realized that Griffin was in the house, making his way to a front-row seat.

Griffin, who led the Redskins to a 17-16 victory over the New York Giants a night earlier, gave a little wave and big smile moments later when he was shown on the video screens above the court.

``Let's give a warm Wizards welcome to your Redskins quarterback, RG3!'' intoned the arena announcer, while the loudspeakers blared the local NFL team's fight song, ``Hail to the Redskins.''

In the first half, the Wizards led by as many as 10, going up 54-44 on Martell Webster's 3-pointer with about four minutes left in the second quarter. At halftime, Washington was ahead 60-54, led by Crawford's 12 points and A.J. Price's nine.

The Wizards have struggled to score, but they made 58 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first half Tuesday. The Wizards entered averaging an NBA-low 89.4 points, about 15 fewer than the Heat.

Unlike the James-Wade-Bosh Heat, the Wizards are mostly a collection of castoffs and high draft picks who never lived up to their billing - or have yet to, anyway. Their best player, 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall, has yet to participate in a practice, let alone play, this season because of a left knee cap injury.

Before the game, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he can't give an idea of when Wall will be available.

``I mean, right now, we're still progressing the way we are with his rehab. He's not been on the floor to practice. He's been on the floor to shoot some, but he's not progressed to the point that he can get out and practice,'' Wittman said. ``So obviously until that happens, I don't know what that timetable's going to be.''

Notes: Wizards F Trevor Ariza left in the third quarter with a strained left calf. ... Wittman went with his fifth different starting lineup of the season, inserting Singleton in place of forward Kevin Seraphin. ... The Heat were without Shane Battier, who is out with a sprained right knee, and Norris Cole, who has a strained groin. ``We just want to make sure that doesn't get worse,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about Cole. ``Give him a couple more days' rest.''

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Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- It might be quite a while before we see John Wall on the court playing for the Wizards again.

It was already well-known Wall will miss extended time as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon, a rehab that usually takes at least 11 months. But it is starting to sound more and more like he won't play in the 2019-20 season at all.

Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis shared that harsh reality on Monday during a press conference at Capital One Arena.

"Our highest-paid player, our five-time All-Star, may not play at all next year. He probably won't play at all next year," Leonsis said.

If Wall follows the general timeline for the surgery, he could come back sometime early in 2020. A 12-month recovery would have him return in early February.

If Wall missed all of next season, he would return to start the 2020-21 campaign after a 20-month recovery. That would be nearly double the rehab time many players have taken for the same injury over the years. He would be 30 years old by then.

But Wall and the Wizards have reason to be extra patient. He is entering the first season of a four-year, $170 million supermax contract. Punting the first year, even if he is making $38 million, could be worth it in the long run if it means he returns to his All-Star form.

The Wizards are also likely to have a gap year of sorts anyways. They retooled their roster with young, inexperienced players. The odds they make the playoffs this season are lower than they have been in years. The Wizards are taking the long view and they know getting Wall's rehab right is paramount.

Leonsis and team officials currently get daily reports on Wall's progress. After making the supermax investment, they are taking extra measures to ensure he is holding up his end of the bargain. The Wizards closely monitor his weight and have a rotation of physical therapists working with him every day.

If it were up to Wall, he would be more likely to return next season. The team is the side taking extra caution.

"Trust me, nobody wants to get back to the court more than John Wall," GM Tommy Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington. 

"But I've tried to manage this with him and say there is no calendar or clock that is going to tell you to come back. You're going to come back when you're 100 percent healthy. Anybody who has watched him in the playoffs play with broken hands and all of the aches and pains he's had over the years and he still showed up and played at a high, high level. You know you need to monitor him a little more than most. That's the kind of player that is going to try to sneak back on the court any time he can."

What Leonsis said publicly has been the belief behind the scenes in the Wizards organization for quite some time. They are preparing for next season as if he won't play, 

"We have to see if John Wall comes back and how he looks and how he plays," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington. "If John Wall can come back at 80 percent the year after [in 2020-21], I would be really happy because then we would have a great, great backcourt."

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Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season. In episode 1 titled "The Future Starts Now" the Redskins begin their journey toward improvement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

The episode begins immediately following the disappointing end to Washington's season as players participated in locker cleanout day. A somewhat somber atmosphere, the likes of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams reflect on the season and look ahead to 2019.

Following that, it's on to the additions and changes on the coaching staff. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on new defensive staff hirings Ray Horton and Rob Ryan as well as Kevin O'Connell's jump to offensive coordinator. Ryan and O'Connell also explain their excitement for next season in their respective roles.

With the coaching staff puzzle becoming clear, the episode transitions to the NFL Combine. Gruden along with Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, President Bruce Allen and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith take you through the Combine process. Discussions about the interview process and what the Redskins are looking for in players give insight into how evaluations are done. 

The Combine portion has a heavy focus on players Kyler Murray, D.K. Metcalf and Montez Sweat among others. Released on March 20, one can see and hear from Sweat before the idea of him becoming a Redskin came to fruition and listen to Metcalf's thoughts on Jay Gruden.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Englehart also makes an appearance, discussing his viral moment with Ed Oliver at the combine and the fraternity-type bond conditioning coaches in the NFL share.

Washington's journey toward success in 2019 began the moment the clock ran out on the 2018 season. Episode 1 of "Redskins365" picks up right in that preliminary stage.

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