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Will the Wizards Have Enough Playoff Scoring to Make a Deep Run?

August 21st, 2014 at 1:18 PM
By Matt Graber

People are expecting big things from the Washington Wizards this year. After last year's playoff run, fans are hoping for a repeat performance, believing that John Wall and Bradley Beal can lead the team to even greater heights now that they have some playoff experience under their belts. And it's not just fans who are excited; NBA pundits are high on the Wizards as well, with ESPN ranking them as their third choice for East Champs in their Summer Forecast. With a talented young backcourt, depth in the frontcourt, and a battle-tested leader in Paul Pierce, the Wizards seem poised to make some noise in the playoffs this year. They just need to do one thing; score.

The Wizards scoring numbers dipped across the board last year come playoff time. The team averaged 90.4 PPG with a 43.2 FG%, shooting 33.5% from beyond the arc. Compare that to their regular season numbers of 100.7 PPG, 45.9 FG% and 38% from three, and its clear that the team couldn't replicate their regular season shooting success. While their dominant 4-1 series victory over the Bulls was impressive, it wasn't due to their offense; it owed more to the Wizard's strong defense and the fact that the Bulls had to rely on Mike Dunleavy to be their primary scorer. Their scoring woes continued against the Pacers, as they put up point totals of 82, 63, 92 and 80 in their four losses.

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Can the Washington Wizards Win a Loaded Southeast Division?

August 19th, 2014 at 12:47 PM
By Matt Graber

Last season, the Eastern Conference was disparaged by fans and pundits alike for it's lack of depth and competition. Outside of the Heat and the Pacers, the East seemed to lack any legitimate contenders. The Bulls struggled for stretches without Derrick Rose, young teams like the Wizards and Hornets (then Bobcats) struggled to crack .500, and the Nets and Knicks disappointed. However, last year's playoffs began a reversal of fortunes that carried into the offseason, as new contenders began to emerge and big free agency moves triggered a conference-wide power shift. The East is now a legitimate power, with the Cavaliers and Bulls legitimate title favorites, the Wizards, Hornets and Raptors emerging as rising young contenders, and veteran teams like the Heat, Nets and Hawks still lurking. We shouldn't be hearing nearly as many Leastern Conference jokes this year; whoever makes the playoffs will have to earn it.

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Examining the Washington Wizards’ Potential New Rivalries

August 18th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Matt Graber

After a successful playoff run which saw them upset the Chicago Bulls to win their first playoff series since 2005, the Wizards will enter the 2014-2015 season with an unprecedented amount of momentum and national attention. This means that they’ll be in the spotlight more than usual this season, a welcome change that could translate into the formation of some solid rivalries. As a young playoff contender, the Wizards will now be playing meaningful and scrutinized games on a regular basis, factors that can make even routine games feel like high-stakes affairs. Here are a few potential opponents who should emerge as long-term rivals as the Wizards continue their climb in the East.

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DeJuan Blair is Having Fun Again

August 15th, 2014 at 1:46 PM
By Matt Graber

Photo credit: Basketball Schedule / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

New Wizards signee DeJuan Blair spoke to local media in a conference call Thursday afternoon for the first time since joining the team. A candid Blair touched on a variety of subjects, like his upbringing, his lack of ACLs, the recent birth of his daughter, his time playing for the Spurs and Mavericks, and his thoughts on his new team, but no matter what question he was addressing, he seemed to work one particular word into each answer: fun.

Basketball is fun again for the 25-year old Blair, largely due to his play during the Mavericks' playoff series against the Spurs last season. "It was just a lot of fun playing against your old team," Blair said. "See how good you can be against the best team and I stepped up to the challenge. I did a great job and had fun at the same time. Basketball became fun again."

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Washington Wizards Regular Season Schedule Analysis

August 13th, 2014 at 7:23 PM
By Matt Graber

Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The wait is over. The NBA released the 2013-2014 regular season schedule tonight, and the Wizards will get ten (10!) national TV appearances this season. Here's a look at those games and a few other schedule highlights;

at Miami Heat, Oct. 29: The Wizards will open their season with a matchup against Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and the LeBron-less Miami Heat.

vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Nov. 1: The Wizards will play their home opener at the Verizon Center against the Milwaukee Bucks, led by new coach Jason Kidd and Rookie of the Year hopeful Jabari Parker.

at Toronto Raptors, Nov. 7: A battle of two of the Eastern Conference's top young contenders, the Wizards and Raptors had some entertaining matchups last year, including a triple-OT thriller.

Cleveland Cavaliers, Nov. 21 (home) and Nov. 26 (away): The Wizards get their shot at the LeBron and the Cavs in a pair of games that will hopefully reignite the Wizards-Cavs rivalry.

Boston Celtics, Dec. 7 (away) and Nov. 8 (home): Paul Pierce returns to Boston as the Wizards play a home-and-away against the team he spent 15 seasons with.

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