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. 

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 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.

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.