Washington Wizards’ 2017-2018 Regular Season Schedule Released

The Washington Wizards are coming off a 49-33 season, and a second-round playoff exit against the Boston Celtics that went to seven games. During the offseason, the front office did what it promised to do when they retained restricted free agent Otto Porter, as well as resign John Wall to the designated player veteran exception.

With a core of Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter in place the Wizards present and future looks as bright as its ever been. Not to mention the sudden dissension going on in Cleaveland, the Wizards are primed to advance further than they have in recent memory. After a strong first year with Scott Brooks at the helm, expectations of the first 50 win season since 1978-1979 campaign and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance are widespread.

National Exposure:

In a show of good faith, the  NBA schedule makers have finally rewarded the Washington Wizard with the gift of seventeen nationally televised games. Out of those seventeen games, all four matchups with the Boston Celtics will be on TV for everyone to see. The two franchises had one of the most physical playoff series last season, and its easy to see why the NBA would want to capatalize on the purest rivalry in the sport right now. Fans will be pleased to see that three out of the four games against the Cleaveland Cavaliers will be on that national schedule as well. After the overtime thriller they had last season, any regular season contest between the conference foes is potential must-see tv.

Predictions:

For 2017-2018 the Wizards are essentially running it back with the same core group of guys in Wall, Beal, Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The starting lineup played a league leading 1,347 minutes together. With that type of continiuty and chemistry coming back, the starters must have even more confidence in each other on both sides of the court.

The bench mob was also upgraded with some solid talent in Tim Frazier and Jodie Meeks. The two guards have the offensive chops to really be able to give Wall and Beal a chance to rest. Kelly Oubre Jr is now in that pivotal third year, Ian Mahinmi is coming back injury free, and the ever solid Josh Smith to hit feathery jumpers. The hope is that after averaging only 27 PPG as a unit last season, the Wizards bench mob can only improve from here. Scott Brooks needs this unit to really step up and play consistently solid minutes in order to get over that hump. Being the weak link once again is a non-option.

Record Prediction: 52-30

Along with the Wizards schedule, the Association released the regular season schedules of the 29 other franchises this past Monday, including its nationally televised games. In one of the more intriguing developments of the offseason, the Association has no teams playing four games in five nights. This was all because a plethora of star players sat out marquee games, as well as critical comments by Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. 

Wizards Win In Overtime vs Kings Behind Bradley Beal’s 31 points.

It took a little longer than expected but the Washington Wizards won their sixth game of the season in overtime. DeMarcus Cousins nearly won the game with his spectacular 36 points and 20(!) rebounds. He was able to take the game over late in the 4th quarter hitting a variety of turnaround jump shots, layups, and dominating the boards. The Wizards dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 10 points in the overtime session and helped deliver a much needed W after a disappointing loss against the San Antonio.

Tensions were high once again as Scott Brooks, John Wall, and Marcin Gortat all picked up technical could in the first half. This is Wall’s fourth tech of season, which puts him behind former college teammate DeMarcus Cousin. For the night the rest of the starters played well, in particular ever-improving glue guy Otto Porter  had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and played the passing lanes well gathering 3 steals. Porter also continued to do the dirty work on the unsung glue guy, holding Rudy Gay to just 18 points, including forcing him into six turnovers and 1-4 performance from the 3-point line. Kelly Oubre notched his first career double picking up 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points. .

The Wizards Commit 24 turnovers, Including a career-high 11 from John Wall

24 times the Wizards turned the ball over. 24 times! Nine of those turnovers were unforced. What’s worse is John Wall, the All-Star and leader of this team, had 11 of his own. Now more so than ever Wall has been throwing ill timed passes and dancing around the ball like it’s no ones business. Not sure what needs to be done but Wall, who previously has been a strong decision maker, has to find his groove back in that department

Wizards Finally Defend the 3-point Line

The Wizards have routinely allowed teams to make double digit 3-pointers but tonight only allowed three to fall. That maybe due to the fact that along with the Wizards, the Kings are one of the worse 3-point shooting teams.

 

 

Bradley Beal explosive 42 Points Leads the Way Against Phoenix Suns

The Hop – Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards agreed to an enormous $128 million contract last offseason. Now in the most important season to date for not only Beal, but for the Wizards as well, the highest paid player in franchise had the best scoring game of his career just as his team needed it. Since he’s gotten into the NBA, Beal has been working on expanding his game beyond his lauded shooters label and so far his hard work has paid off. In his last three games he’s scored 94 points, good for 31.3 points per game. So far his career has been marred by inconsistency and injuries but it seems like he’s currently on a tear, if he continues to play like he has he will be on the way to his first All-Star berth. With the victory against the youth-filled Phoenix Suns the Wizards improved to 4-10.

In a game that featured a primetime matchup between the stud backcourts of the Suns and Wizards, it was John Wall and Bradley Beal whom came out victorious. Along with Beal’s career-high 42 points, Wall added 18 of his own points along with 15 dimes. On a night where he struggled with his own shot (6-24) Wall did what great players do and found other ways to contribute. The bench also had a solid night. Tomas Satoransky and Marcus Thornton are developing into a strong duo and they have a done a good job of facilitating and scoring when on the court together.

3-Point Defense Still Needs Work

The Wizards again allowed another team to make double digit 3-pointers. Over the last three games they have allowed 12 3-pointers a game.

Bradley Beal Building Confidence and Tougher Mentality

Courtesy of NBA.com After the game Beal was quoted as saying he was allowing himself to not worry so much about his shots falling, just realizing that no matter what happened there was always a next play, ”Not thinking, not worrying about if I miss or if I make it. I just have the same mentality that it’s on to the next shot. That shot’s over,” Beal said.

 

 

 

Wizards Snap 3-Game Losing Streak Against Knicks 119-112

The Hop – After inexcusably losing to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers the Wizards were able to exercise their frustration on the New York Knicks. John Wall dropped 23 points to go along with his 11 assists, and Bradley Beal added 18 points in his return after a 3-game absence due to injury. On a night where everything clicked for the struggling Wizards, they dominated in a second half and led by as many as 27. Of course the Wizards had to make it look respectable and give their fans a scare when they let the Knicks get to within 9 points of a seemingly insurmountable lead. John Wall came to the rescue and closed the game with a pull-up jumper and free throws.

The Wizards started off slowly going 1-6 out the gate until John Wall took control of the offense and was dolling out dimes like usual. All it took was consecutive 3-pointers from Beal and Otto Porter for the flood gates to open. Holding Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in check was one of the biggest factors in the win. Otto Porter and Markieff Morris both did splendid jobs being physical and not allowing either Porzingis or Anthony to get comfortable. Otto Porter in particular actually had probably the best game out of the all Wizards player. He was constantly battling and playing with intensity all over the field. He fits the role of a glue guy perfectly. The bench also bucked their trend of uneven play with strong nights from players like Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre, and Tomas Satoransky. When the bench is clicking and playing well in conjunction with the starters the Wizards are even scarier. Although they did allow the Knicks to get back in the game they more than held their own and weren’t a liability.

3-Pointers Galore:

The Wizards entered this game only averaging six made 3’s game. With the return of Bradley Beal the Wiz enjoyed an amazing performance from beyond the arc. Going 15/25 will be a huge confidence boot and will hopefully hold over to the Saturday night game against the Miami Heat.

Bradley Beal’s Hamstring

Hamstring injuries are never the easiest injuries to recover from. It’s even harder the older you get. During the game he did beat Courtney Lee and Carmelo Anthony for a fast break layup, but also got beat for a fast break layup after missing a corner 3. He went on to acknowledge that playing with a gimpy hamstring was a challenge but left room for optimism.” “It’s tough with a hamstring because it’s not going to all the way clear up on you. You’re not going to go back to 100 percent; you’re going to have to work through some things. I was able to tolerate some soreness and stiffness, and it actually feels a little bit better, too.”

 

 

Butler’s 37 drops Wizards in 2nd straight loss

With the the starting  backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal absent due to surgery rehab, and injury respectively, the Wizards had a tough game ahead of them. The rookie backcourt of the Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan played well and fearlessly together. In fact on multiple possessions Satoransky and Marcin Gortat displayed a unique chemistry together. ” A eastern European thing” as Gortat called it at halftime. The Wizards, in the first quarter, started off well grabbing 21-12 before Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Cannon took over and sparked a 10-run and took the lead 22-21. They ended up winning the 1st quarter 28-27. The second quarter was a back and forth affair. Late in the quarter the Wizards went on their own run, an 11-0 one to be exact. With the lengthy scoring and strong defense they took a 56-53 lead into  half time.

The second half was a complete disaster for the Wiz and company. The Bulls defense dominated, holding the Wizards to only 14 points. Combine their smoothering defense with a balanced attack and you have the recipe for a hard earned lead going into the 4th quarter  81-70. In the final frame the Wizards played with more passion and played like they knew what was at stake. The closest they pulled to was seven points, but from then on Butler took over and the Bulls defense played better and pulled out 106-95 victory.

Satoransky and McClellan Proving To Be Hidden Gems:

With their first career starts, Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan became the first rookie starting backcourt for the Wizards since John Wall and Jordan Crawford did in 2010-2011. The two young guns had pretty solid games, Satoransky dropped 12 points along with 9 spectacular dimes. Meanwhile McClellan had 15 points, attacking when he had the opportunity and not allowing himself to make silly mistakes. Their development and confidence will be pivotal for nights when John Wall and/or Bradley Beal are out.

Bench Struggles Again:

In what has become a recurring storyline for the Wizards the bench struggled mightily. Trey Burke, in particular, was having a hard time running the offense and it created problems for the rest of the bench. Only producing 18 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists exasperated the issue. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Marcin Gortat’s comments about ” being the worse bench in the NBA”.

Wizards Blow Out Celtics Behind Otto Porter’s 34 points

The Hop-Even with Bradley Beal getting hurt(again) , the Wizards gained their second win of the season behind Otto Porters big time 34 points and the team hitting 10 3-pointers. John Wall chipped in 19 with 7 assists and pulled his weight, and Marcus Thornton filled in admirably after Bradley Beal got hurt late in the 1st quarter.

The Wizards seemingly channeled all their frustrations over the loss to the Rockets and the results of the election and unleashed the might of God onto the Boston Celtics. Playing quite possibly their best first quarter on both sides of the ball as they thrashed the Celtics 34-8. In the second quarter they were outscored 35-24 but the game was never in doubt.

The second half was more of the same as the Wiz just continued to play with never before seen emotion and togetherness on a night where a win would seemingly soothe the angst of the DMV. For the game the Wizards outpaced the Celtics in every stat. They out rebounded 54-31, including 19 on the offensive side. They also assisted on 29 of 46 made baskets. On the defensive side they stole the ball 10 times and blocked seven shots.

This will hopefully be the confidence booster the struggling Wizards need against the defending champion Cavaliers. Stay tuned here to The Hop to get a recap of that game.

 

Otto Porter Headed For a Breakout Season?

Otto Porter has emerged as the key glue guy and a good 3rd option for the Wizards offense. He’s been able to score in double digits in all but one game. He’s been cutting to the basket and hitting more spot-up jumpers has opened up the floor for his teammates. Doing the things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score and making winning plays. Porter in his three prior seasons had difficulty finding his role and confidence but now in his fourth year seems to have things clicking for him.

Will Bradley Beal Be Available to Play Against the Cavaliers?

The injury-prone Bradley Beal has once again gone down. This time suffering from hamstring tightness. The Wizards announced that he would be a game time decision but hamstring injuries don’t go away in two days. My personal optimism as far as his availability goes isn’t very high.

What’s Going on With John Wall?

For the second time in as many games John Wall was ejected. This time it was for a flagrant 2 foul late in the 4th quarter with the game basically sealed up? Wall has to be incredibly frustrated with not only the teams slow start, but things off the court. Even though he said he wasn’t ” worried about other players pockets” and claimed he wasn’t upset about the massive shoe deal James Harden it’s clear the perceived slights of his career are getting to him. He has to figure out how to channel that anger and use it on the court.

Wizards Drop Tough Loss To Rockets 114-108

The Hop – Despite John Wall breaking the franchise record for assists and leading the Rockets by 11, the Wizards dropped a game to the Rockets. The Rockets won behind another outstanding performance from James Harden, who scored 32 points and passed out 15 assists. The Rockets also made 17 3-pointers, with Ryan Anderson  and Trevor Ariza leading the way with five and four 3-pointers respectively.

In the first half the Wizards raced out to a quick 6-0 lead again gave up a big run after grabbing a 11 point lead early in the 2nd quarter. Once James Harden came back in the Rockets offense started clicking immediately going on a 16-0 run before Otto Porter scored to end the Wizards drought.

In a highly competitive and entertaining second half the Wizards and Rockets went back and forth for some hard earned buckets. Unfortualty for the Wiz, James Harden forced his will in the second half, looking to score more than he did than in the previous half. In fact he scored 22 smooth points while also continuing to make his teammates better with his incredible playmaking.

It seems as tho head coach Mike D’antoni has found the perfect role for the bearded left-hander as the Rockets permanent point guard.

 

Defending the 3-point Line:

The Wizards again gave up way to many 3-pointers. In all the painful losses of the young season the Wizards have given up an average of 11.4 3-pointers. Most of these plays result based off the Wizards pick and roll coverage. In the instance of the Rockets, sharpshooter Ryan Anderson popped to the 3-point line knowing  that the Wizards big men were uncomfortable playing defense that far from the basket. The Wizards must find a new resolve to run guys off the 3-point line otherwise they will continue to get punished from beyond the arc.

The Bench Rises to the Occassion:

Way to often in the Wizards prior losses the bench was the weakest links. This time around Kelly Oubre led the way off the bench with 10 points, while Marcus Thornton chipped in 8 of his own. Combined that with stronger defense and the emergence of Tomas Satoransky as the best option for 6th man and playing at least one starter and it seems that the Wizards are figuring out their bench woes.

 

The Wizards Squander Opportunity Against Raptors

The Hop- Despite holding a 12-point lead and John Wall dropping 33 points and dishing 11 cool dimes, and the team shooting 58.3% from the field, it just wasn’t enough to counter  40 points from DeMar DeRozan.

In a game full of runs the Wizards struck first with a 13-2 run, fueled with four of the Wizards stars scoring. From the opening tip the Wizards played with a heightened energy on both ends of the court, playing with a urgency that had many thinking tonight would be the night the Wizards would get their first victory of the season. Then it was the Raptors responded with their own run and closing the gap with a 13-2 run and closing the 1st qtr down 29-27. The second quarter was more of a back and forth, as the offenses were both clicking. The Raptors had another monumental run and surged for a 13-5 run, taking a 50-42. Otto Porter and John Wall teamed up to close the gap, leading the way for a 14-4 run and a  56-54 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the third quarter was competitive intially but the Raptors went on another lengthy run, this time 15-0 run and taking 75-64 lead before Head Coach Scott Brooks called timeout. After the timeout the Raptors and Wizards scored nine and eleven points respectively, with the Raptors going into the fourth leading 84-75. In the entertaining fourth quarter, the Wizards ended up tying the game after John Wall scored on back to back steals-layups, igniting the restless Verizon Center crowd with a 10-2 run. Unfortunalty that would be as close as the Wizards would get for the rest of the game. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors on a decisive 13-5 run and sealed the game with a 3 pointer to secure the 113-102 lead.

In a game of runs the Wizards bench woes, combined with their 21 turnovers and DeMar DeRozan dominating once again were all to much for the Wizards to handle and they were handed their third loss in a row to start the young season. Stay tuned here to see if the Wiz can get it together at home against the Atlanta Hawks.

 

Bench Struggles:

The Wizards bench continued its disturbing trend of lackluster play and almost immediately gave up a 12 point lead. Free-agent acquisitions like Trey Burke and Andrew Nicholson along with Kelly Oubre and Marcus Thornton must find their missing chemistry otherwise they will force Scott Brooks to play the starters more minutes and run them ragged before the playoffs start.

Turnovers Issue:

The Wizards turned the ball over 21 times, with All-Star John Wall having coughing the ball up nine times. Those 21 turnovers lead to 29 easy points for the visiting Raptors. If it weren’t for these 21 turnovers the Wizards would’ve played at a much higher level offensively.

Can Beal Get it Turned Around:

Bradley Beal came out the gates scorching 10 points in the first half, but scored only five points the rest of the way. For a player who just signed the 6th-richest contract in NBA history Beal must remain consistent and aggressive in order to truly the money he signed for. The Wizards are going nowhere if Beal can’t begin to score efficiently and remain aggressive. For better or worse he’s essentially the number 1 option in the Wizards attack.

Beal’s 28 points lead to Wizards Earn First Win Against Hawks

The Hop- Led by Bradley Beal’s 28 points and John Wall’s 21/10/6 line the Wizards earned their first victory of the season against the Hawks. The Wiz finally put a full 48 minutes together that showcased their potential. They played tough physical defense, attacked the boards, and shot well from the free throw line. This is exactly the type of identity building game that the Wizards needed.

The first time the Wizards played the Hawks, the frontline of Dwight Howard of Paul Millsap dominated, combining for 39 points, 26 rebounds, and 4 blocks. This time around the Wizards did a collective job of boxing out both Millsap and Howard, they even won the rebound battle and playing physical defense against Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. On the perimeter instead of allowing 12 3-pointers, the Wizards only allowed two 3-pointer in the first half, and four for the game. Even when the Hawks responded from being 9-0 to momentarily taking the lead 18-17 off a Dwight Howard lob, the Wizards didn’t falter under the pressure. The bench even played well, although they didn’t score much, they meshed well when playing with at least one starter and didn’t cost the team as much as they did in prior games.

In the second half it was Bradley Beal turn to wake the monster inside of him. In the final 24 minutes Beal scored 20 points. On a variety of 3-pointers, free throws, and drives Beal dominated and broke out of his slump. The Wizards continued to lockdown the Hawks perimeter attack and controlled the glass and neutralized the threat of Dwight Howard.

The formula of physical defense, collective rebounding/boxing out, and getting Bradley Beal allowed will be the formula that will Wizards win games and allow them to advance in the playoffs. They must be able to put together more games like this one in order to climb the Eastern Conference heirarchy to even have a chance against teams like the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Can Beal Finally String Along Some Strong Games:

If you asked anyone pregame how they were expecting Bradley Beal to preform, most would tell you that he was due for a breakout game. Beal met those expectations with his 28 points, staying aggressive hitting 13-15 free throws to make up for inefficiency with his jumper. Combined with the Wizards playing with a sense of urgency and playing harder than they have all season.

Turnover Woes:

The Wizards committed  19 inexcusable turnovers. Most of those came from players attempting to do much with the ball or going for big plays instead of just simple passes. Turnovers have recently have become such a bad issue that Scott Brooks has to be more than concerned. Turning the ball over that frequently against the teams like the Cavs will be a death sentence. Scott Brooks has to do a better job of preaching patience and ball security to his team.

Washington Wizards vs Memphis Grizzlies Recap

After dropping the season opener and 2 days of rest got off to another slow start, shooting 5/20 out the gates. Missing easy lay ups and open jumpers has been plaguing this teams efficiency, as well as the middling defense. In fact the Wizards in the 1st half alone allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 51% from the field including 9/18 from beyond the arc. On the positive side is that the Wizards did continue to play with active steals forcing 9 turnovers, 5 of which where steals. They also continue to push the pace when possible, as John Wall was a freight train in transition attacking the basket and at one point converting two and 1 opportunities twice in a row. Bradley Beal had a strong first half scoring inside and out to the tone of 10 points.

In the second half it was a lot more back and forth, as both benches provided strong play and the offenses were clicking. John Wall continued attacking the paint and drawing in defenders as he is so apt to do, as everyone did their part on both ends mostly to contain the Grizzlies offense. The Wizards split the scoring pretty evenly, as their starters all scored in the double digits and the bench scored 26 points. They mostly turned the tide as they only allowed 5 more triples, and began to even out the rebounding battle. The Wizards grabbed an 8 point late in the 4th quarter but the Big 3 from Memphis started making plays. Mike Conley hit a fast break layup, Marc Gasol hit timely 3s and played great defense and Zach Randolph provided his usual toughness. Once the Grizzlies brought it to within a one possession game after a couple John Wall free throws, Marc Gasol hit the game tying 3 that forced overtime. In that overtime period the Grizz rode to Gasol to all but two of their overtime points, as they rode their tidal wave to a hard earned victory. ‘

The Wizards Defense Struggling:

In the first two games of the season the Wizards have already allowed 27 triples and are getting out rebounded by 19 rebounds. Although the backcourt does a good job of staying active with their hands they to often do not fight over screen, and they also get caught ball watching getting beat on backdoors or not getting back on defense to stop easy layup and 3 point shots. In order for the Wizards to get their first win they must improve finishing off defensive possessions and defending the arc better.

Offense Struggling Out the Gate:

In both games this season the Wizards have struggled mightily in the opening period. They have gotten out to slow starts missing easy shot after shot. It’s a strange anomaly but John Wall and Bradley Beal especially must find a way to shake any nerves or cobwebs to help their offense improve, because they are the main catalyst of this offense.

John Wall Can’t Seem to Protect the Ball:

Wall has 25 assists vs 20 turnovers right now. For an All-Star point guard and the man that holds the keys to this offense Wall must do better to make better decisions and protect the ball for the Wizards to be the best they can offensively.

Upcoming is the Eastern Conference finals Toronto Raptors, which also happens to be the home opener of the season.