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Washington Wizards Week in Review, Vol. III

December 16th, 2014 at 7:46 PM
By Matt Graber

The ascendency of John Wall continues

John Wall had himself a pretty good week. Wall led the Wizards to a perfect 4-0 record last week, averaging 18 points, 12.8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals while registering two of the most memorable performances of his career. He overcame the passing of his young friend Miyah to lead the Wiz to a 2OT victory over the Celtics, then followed that up by outdueling Chris Paul in the team's win over the Los Angeles Clippers. His efforts earned him Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, and it kickstarted his All-Star campaign. Wall is growing into a bona fide star, and its been incredibly entertaining and satisfying watching him do his thing.

Nene headed to the bench?

With Nene struggling with injuries, Kris Humphries took over the role of starting power forward, and he's done a fine job in relief. So good in fact that he may have earned himself the starting gig for the good. Nene has been coming off the bench since his return, and it's starting to look like he'll remain on the second unit for the foreseeable future. It may be an ideal role for him. At 32 and with a history of injuries, it''s time to start cutting back Nene's minutes. It'll help keep him fresh and healthy, especially come playoff time, and his presence will make the Wizards' second unit even more effective.

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Why John Wall is a No-Brainer All-Star Selection

December 13th, 2014 at 10:00 PM
By Matt Graber

One of the hardest things for an athlete to do is make the leap from 'good' to 'great.' Wizards fans are watching it happen right before their very eyes. John Wall has taken his game to a new level this season, posting career best stats and leading the Wizards to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. As such, we've reached a point where John Wall making the 2015 All-Star game should be more of a formality than a debate. He's been the best all-around point guard in the East so far this season and he deserves to make the trip to New York for a multitude of reasons.

He has the stats: Wall is averaging 17.8 PPG, 10.5 APG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.1 SPG, numbers that stack up well with any other point guard in the league. He's third among East point guards in scoring behind Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry, but he's well ahead of his competition in assists and steals, and that's not even taking into account his defensive value. Of the Eastern Conference point guards with legit All-Star claims (Wall, Irving, Lowry, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague), Wall has the best all-around numbers, and it's not particularly close.

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Recap: Wizards Stun Magic on Beal’s Buzzer-Beater

December 11th, 2014 at 10:39 AM
By Matt Graber

The Washington Wizards continued their dominance over the Orlando Magic, as Bradley Beal hit a game-winning tip-in off an Andre Miller inbounds pass to lift the team to a 91-89 victory. It looked like the Magic were about to reverse their fortunes, as a Tobias Harris dunk but them up by 7 with 1:37 left in the game. But a pair of John Wall layups and a Rasual Butler free throw tied the game up, and the Wizards wound up with one last chance.

With 0.8 seconds remaining, the Wizards stepped up to inbound the ball and delivered their best play of the game. Wall and Butler were used as a distraction at the top of the key, occupying two defenders, while Paul Pierce set a screen that gave Beal a wide-open path to the basket. Miller threw a gorgeous lob to rim, and Beal managed to out jump Victor Oladipo and convert the tip in for the win. It was great execution from the Wizards and poor awareness from the Magic.

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John Wall Dedicates Emotional Victory to His Six Year Old Friend Miyah

December 8th, 2014 at 11:41 PM
By Matt Graber

John Wall had one of the best games of his career tonight, tallying 26 points, 17 assists, and 7 rebounds as he led the Washington Wizards to a 133-132 2OT victory over the Boston Celtics. It was a huge victory that salvaged the home-and-home series and helped the Wizards keep pace with the Atlanta Hawks at 13-6. But tonight wasn't a reminder of how great a player John Wall is. It was a reminder of how great a person he is.

An inspired Wall dedicated his performance to his 6-year old friend Miyah Telemaque-Nelson, who passed away today after battling cancer. Wall first met Miyah, a huge fan of Wall's, last year. The two bonded and Wall began a social media campaign to help Miyah meet her favorite singer, Nicki Minaj. The two maintained their friendship throughout the season, as Wall wrote her name on his shoes this season and kept in contact with her via Facetime.

An emotional Wall broke down in tears his post-game interview when talking about the loss of his friend:

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Report Card: Grading the Washington Wizards’ Bench

December 8th, 2014 at 3:18 PM
By Matt Graber

We're about a quarter of the way into the season, so it's time for some grades. The Wizards sit at 13-6, and a big reason for that has been their much improved depth. Here's a look at how each second unit player has been doing this season.

Rasual Butler- We've already written about Butler's surprising season at length, and he continues to impress. Butler continued his hot streak yesterday against the Boston Celtics, dropping 23 points on 6-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Butler has been lights out all season, shooting a scorching 56% from the field and 54% from three. He's an excellent fit in the Wizards' offense, and he's provided consistent scoring and a solid veteran presence. Grade: A

Kris Humphries – Humphries has been rock solid this season, averaging 7.5 PPG and 6.6 RPG. While he's a decent offensive player, he really shines on the boards, relying on athleticism and hustle to grab rebounds on both ends of the floor. Humphries brings energy and toughness of the bench, and he's proven to be a more than capable spot starter, averaging a double-double while filling in for the injured Nene. With Nene likely to miss more games down the stretch, it's nice to have a player like Humphries waiting in the wings. Grade: B+

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