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Isaiah Thomas believes Bradley Beal is one of most talented teammates he's ever had

Isaiah Thomas believes Bradley Beal is one of most talented teammates he's ever had

Isaiah Thomas has been part of seven different organizations now that he has joined the Wizards and has eight years of NBA experience under his belt, but he's never had a teammate quite like Bradley Beal.

The best player Thomas has ever been around is LeBron James. But after that? Beal might be the second-best teammate he's had, according to him.

"I mean, other than playing with LeBron James, I haven't played with an All-Star caliber guy like that, that's dynamic who can not just shoot at a high level but can make plays for himself and can make plays for his teammates. Also, he plays at the other end at a high level as well," Thomas told NBC Sports Washington.

Thomas, 30, has had a lot of good teammates over the years. In Sacramento, he played with DeMarcus Cousins, but before Boogie reached his peak powers. He had Goran Dragic in Phoenix, but Beal is better than he was at the time. 

Thomas also had Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Kevin Love in Cleveland, but Wade and Rose were well past their prime and Love was having a down year due to injuries. And though Thomas had All-NBA center Nikola Jokic as a teammate in Denver last season, Thomas barely played due to his own injury issues.

Consider the total package that Beal brings as a versatile two-way player, and it's hard to make a definitive argument against Thomas' claim. That goes to show just how good Beal has become at this stage of his career, to stand out like that to Thomas, who has been around the block.

"He's one of the best guards to play the game. He's very talented," Thomas said. "From afar I've always liked his game, other than when we was battling and talking trash."

Beal and Thomas, of course, went at it in some infamous battles between the Wizards and Celtics back when they were locked in a rivalry that culminated with a second-round playoff duel in 2017. They were once enemies, but now they are set to share the backcourt together and Thomas is looking forward to it.

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Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Spurs Game 12: TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards host the Spurs Wednesday at Capital One Arena with both teams looking to get back into the win column.

Scott Brooks' squad was unable to grab the victory on the road in Orlando Sunday as the Wizards (3-8) fell to Magic, 125-121. Bradley Beal put up 34 points and eight assists in the effort but that was not enough. C.J. Miles and Davis Bertans contributed 21 and 15, respectively.

The Spurs fell to the Mavericks on Monday night, 117-110. The Spurs have now lost eight of their last nine games and are sitting at 5-9 in the Western Conference. DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 36 in the losing effort. 

In their last matchup on Oct. 26, the Spurs came out on top of D.C. with a 124-122 victory. 

Here is everything you need to know: 

SPURS @ WIZARDS HOW TO WATCH

What: San Antonio Spurs @ Washington Wizards, Game 12

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Wednesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Spurs @ Wizards will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Spurs @ Wizards on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

SPURS @ WIZARDS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

7:00: Spurs @ Wizards (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE) [NBC Sports Washington Plus]

SPURS @ WIZARDS INJURY REPORT:

Spurs: Dejounte Murray (Day-to-day, illness)

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain)

SPURS @ WIZARDS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (30.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.9 apg): Over Beal's last three games, the star shooting guard is averaging 40.7 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds.

Rui Hachimura, PF, Wizards (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg): Hachimura struggled against the Magic, shooting 3-for-7 in the losing effort. 

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs (19.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.8 apg): DeRozan's season-high 36 points was not enough to put the Spurs ahead of the Mavericks on Monday night. Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. 

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Loss to Magic shows how Wizards have few ideal options on defense

Loss to Magic shows how Wizards have few ideal options on defense

Wizards assistant coach and defensive specialist Mike Longabardi referred to them as "dare shots" on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast. Head coach Scott Brooks said after the game the Wizards were "playing the percentages." Basically, they gave Markelle Fultz and the Magic distance when playing defense, asking them to earn respect for their range. Orlando, to be fair, entered the game shooting 29 percent from three, dead-last in the NBA, and Fultz is a career 20-percent three-point shooter.

But the whole plan backfired. The Wizards instead met an unintended consequence in their 125-121 loss to the Magic on Sunday night. Fultz and his teammates not only made threes early, they kept it up all night, apparently finding a rhythm as a result of taking what the defense was offering. 

Fultz, the former No. 1 pick maligned for his so-called broken shot, sank two from the perimeter to tie a career-high. The Magic as a team made 15 threes, tying a season-high, and shot 39.5 percent from long range.

The Wizards went under screens and played off of Magic players they felt were unlikely to beat them with outside shooting, and it cost them. On one hand, it is easy to kick the Wizards while they are down. They didn't properly respect an opponent that, after all, is still an NBA team. 

Even guys who supposedly can't shoot can make them if left open. Even non-shooters practice and make threes all the time outside of games. Show up early to any NBA game and watch warm-ups and you can see that for yourself. 

But in a sense, the Wizards' reasoning can be understood. Even against a team like the Magic, a team that entered Sunday night averaging only 100.3 points per game (29th in the NBA), they may have to get creative.

That is because the Wizards have been and likely will continue to be a bad defensive team. They currently rank 29th out of 30 teams in defensive rating (114.4) and are dead-last in points allowed (120.1/g.). 

Without prototypical defensive personnel, the Wizards will need to think outside the box to get stops. Overloading one way or the other based on percentages may be the answer on a given night. 

The problem is that the Wizards didn't do their job in other areas. In addition to giving up too many threes, they didn't shore up things on the backend, either. Even with their manpower shifted closer to the rim, they still couldn't protect it.

The Magic had 42 points in the paint and outrebounded the Wizards 52-38. That included Orlando center Nikola Vucevic pouring in 30 points to go along with 17 boards all by himself.

The early goings of this season have demonstrated how the Wizards have no easy answers on the defensive end. The good news is that they do have a high-powered offense. While their defensive rating ranks second-worst in the league, their offensive rating is the best of any team and they are third in points scored.

Right now, the only way the Wizards can win is if they score a ton of points, as even broken Metro cars make more stops than them.

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