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Wizards play a tribute video to Kristi Toliver in her first practice back with the team

Wizards play a tribute video to Kristi Toliver in her first practice back with the team

Kristi Toliver had a warm return to Wizards' practice for the first time since bringing a championship to Washington DC with the Mystics.

During Monday's practice, the Wizards played a tribute video with Jadakiss' "The Champ is Here" as the soundtrack to honor the crowned champ. 

In a typical Toliver-fashion, right when the music started you can see her kick away a ball

Toliver is an assistant coach for the Wizards and has been on a well-deserved vacation since her Mystics took home the WNBA title in early October. This was her first practice back with the team.

Winning with the Mystics was her second title in her 11-year career. She also won with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016. 

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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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Wizards vs. Grizzlies: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Wizards vs. Grizzlies: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Washington Wizards have lost eight of their last 10 games, and are currently riding a three-game losing streak, as they head to Memphis for a clash with the Grizzlies.

Memphis is looking to continue their recent momentum, as they've won two in a row. Previously, they had been colder than the Wizards, dropping nine of 10.

The matchup in the backcourt will be fascinating to watch, as potential Rookie of the Year Ja Morant squares off with Bradley Beal, who is playing the best basketball of his career.

Can the Wizards bounce back with a win before the road trip continues next week? Tune in to find out.

WIZARDS vs. GRIZZLIES HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Game 24

Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN

When: Saturday, December 14, 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Grizzlies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Grizzlies on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. GRIZZLIES TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards vs. Grizzlies (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

11:00 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. GRIZZLIES INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, left Achilles rehab), Thomas Bryant (OUT, foot), C.J. Miles (day-to-day, wrist), Isaiah Thomas (day-to-day, calf), Moe Wagner (day-to-day, ankle)

Grizzlies: Ja Morant (day-to-day, back), Brandon Clarke (day-to-day, oblique), Grayson Allen (day-to-day, ankle)

WIZARDS vs. GRIZZLIES PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (27.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 7.0 apg): Beal has enjoyed a sensational start to his season, averaging nearly twice as many points as any other player on the Wizards. As he goes, the team goes.

Davis Bertans, SF, Wizards (15.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg): Bertans has been one of the most successful acquisitions of the NBA offseason. The sharpshooter is averaging a whopping four made 3-pt field goals per game and has added a scoring punch alongside Beal.

Ja Morant, PG, Grizzlies (18.7 ppg, 6.4 apg, 1.3 spg): Morant leads the Grizzlies in points, assists and steals this season. The explosive rookie has shined when healthy, and with Zion Williamson out looks like the top player in the 2019 draft class. 

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