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Tag: John Wall

Wizards Must Overcome Road Woes to Advance, Featuring Chase Hughes & Michael Pina

The Celtics and Wizards won’t be friends any time soon, but they certainly have produced one memorable postseason series (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Chase Hughes of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Vice SportsMichael Pina (also host of The Big Three Podcast) deliver back-to-back interviews in which they delve deeply into the captivating Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics. While the Celtics lead 3-2, the home team has won every single game of the series. No love between the teams has been lost either.

Wednesday was a crazy day for D.C. sports fans as the Washington Capitals hosted a Game 7 in which they fell to the Penguins, sending the Caps home early for yet another summer. Also in the nation’s capital, the talented Nationals roared back from four runs down to defeat the Beltway rival Orioles on a walk-off single. That same night, the Wizards lost a one-sided road Game 5 to the Celtics. As the series shifts back to D.C., the Wizards hope to keep their home magic alive just long enough to get one more crack at that elusive road victory in a decisive Game 7. Our guests expertly detail what to look for the remainder of the series, beginning with Chase Hughes who is followed by Michael Pina in the final segment. Continue reading

Flipping the Switch, IT’s Legendary Night, Rockets-Spurs Breakdown

In his historic game 2 performance, the diminutive Isaiah Thomas put the Boston Celtics on his back, scoring 29 points during the 4th quarter and overtime. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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Did they just “flip the switch?” Following Cleveland’s middling post-All-Star break stretch, Loren and Aaron begin by discussing the Cavaliers’ dominant first two games against the Raptors. Also on tap: Diminutive Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ historic Game 2 performance in what figures to be a long, competitive series with the Wizards and what to look for the remainder of the intriguing, intrastate battle between the Spurs and Rockets.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Dan Devine: Pelicans’ “Bully Ball” Could Take Toll on Warriors in Postseason (Trade Deadline Special)

Alongside new addition DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and the Pelicans hope to rise up the Western Conference standings and cause problems for the Warriors in the playoffs (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s annual trade deadline, Yahoo! Sports NBA editor Dan Devine (Ball Don’t Lie) fits us into his busy schedule. Dan breaks down the league’s biggest trades to date (chief among them, this past weekend’s DeMarcus Cousins deal), hints at what may be on the horizon and touches upon the Clippers’ postseason prospects and two dark-horse contenders in the Rockets and Wizards. He even provides a glimpse into New Orleans cuisine. What a guy! What a show!

7:57-9:15: Dan explores how the DeMarcus Cousins acquisition will likely affect the Pelicans’ position in the race for the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed:

“Adding Boogie to the lineup, giving them that core three with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, gives them, from a talent perspective, maybe the best core that you can offer in that group. It’s also worth remembering that New Orleans is three games back of Denver in the loss column right now, and they’ve got to leapfrog both Portland and Sacramento…They’ve got some work to do…and they’re going to have to integrate a gigantic piece with 25 games left in the season. Continue reading

Miami Is Seriously Heating Up (Power Rankings: Feb. 6, 2017 Edition)

In his first season in Miami, Dion Waiters is playing an outsized role in the Heat’s active 10-game winning streak (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Up is down and down is up in this tumultuous edition of the power rankings, which features the most movement of any edition so far, with mighty teams struggling and lowly teams rising up. The Cleveland Cavaliers, still the consensus pick to come out of the Eastern Conference, went just 7-8 in January, giving LeBron James his first losing month since his rookie year. The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, both in last edition‘s top five, have lost eight of 11 and eight of their last 14, respectively. Even the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors, who have occupied the No. 1 spot in our rankings every single edition except for our first, have dropped games since last edition to the Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings.

On the other side, the Washington Wizards were just 13-16 before Christmas and have since gone 17-4, steadily climbing up the Eastern Conference standings to the third seed, and up our rankings to fourth. The Dallas Mavericks, at one point dead last in our rankings, have won six of their last seven games, their one loss coming to the Miami Heat. And finally, the twice-aforementioned Heat, unquestionably the NBA’s biggest story right now, were 11-30 and 29th in our previous power rankings, before rattling off 10 straight wins, a streak that is still active. These are some exciting times in the NBA.

Biggest Jumps: Miami Heat (+15), Washington Wizards (+8), Dallas Mavericks (+8)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-8), Milwaukee Bucks (-8), Toronto Raptors (-8) Continue reading

Hawks Grounded, While Giannis and the Bucks Soar (Power Rankings: Dec. 9, 2016 Edition)

The Hawks earned a 13-spot demotion by struggling mightily after storming out of the gates with a 9-2 start (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Due to stellar play from the Rockets, Jazz, Thunder and Celtics, the red-hot Grizzlies actually dropped a couple slots. The panel was indeed impressed by Memphis’ ability to win five of its last six games without Mike Conley Jr. on the court; it’s just those other teams were deemed to be even better. On the other side of the coin, the Hawks have been dreadful for nearly three weeks now and are paying for it by falling precipitously in this edition. Their 13-place drop on our list may be awfully difficult for teams to “beat” in future rankings.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+8), Orlando Magic (+7), Oklahoma City Thunder (+6)

Biggest Drops: Atlanta Hawks (-13), Chicago Bulls (-10), Denver Nuggets (-9), New Orleans Pelicans (-7), Los Angeles Lakers (-7)

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Rondo’s Mishandling of Bill Kennedy Incident, Combating Homophobia in the NBA

(Rajon Rondo/Instagram)

Rajon Rondo’s bounce-back season with the Kings has sadly been  obscured by the enigmatic point guard’s poor handling of the unfortunate Bill Kennedy ordeal (Sacramento Kings’ Instagram).

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Last week, longtime NBA referee Bill Kennedy publicly announced that he was gay three days after Rajon Rondo was suspended for twice directing a homophobic slur at Kennedy. Before closing out with some Wizards discussion, this episode primarily focuses on how the Kings point guard badly mishandled the Kennedy incident. The hosts contend that, although the incident was ugly and regrettable, once Rondo used the derogatory term, he had a chance to make things right but instead took on a series of disappointing missteps: 1.) On at least a few occasions, the 29-year-old veteran denied to investigators that he even used the term, which was later confirmed by independent audiologists hired by the NBA. 2.) One day before releasing an apology statement on Dec. 16, Rondo fired off two ill-conceived tweets that were effectively non-apologies 3.) According to reports, as of press time, Rondo has yet to personally apologize to Kennedy outside of the statement he released.

Articles on Rondo-Kennedy referenced in the discussion:
Sam Amick’s column for USA Today
Ben Golliver’s Sports Illustrated piece
Dave Zirin’s column for The Nation

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

Mike Prada Gives Wizards 30 Percent Chance at Playoffs

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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Despite the offseason departure of Paul Pierce, the Washington Wizards and their young core were widely expected to turn in another quality season. Well, things haven’t quite gone that way. SB Nation NBA editor Mike Prada was gracious enough to stop by to discuss what’s holding this young team back, such as a porous defense and an onslaught of key injuries. Here are some of the highlights:  

1:55-2:25: On why the once elite defense has taken several steps back this season: “This year, of course, they’re playing small. They only have one big on the floor, and to try to compensate, they’re doing a lot of different switching, overcompensating, and trapping and recovering. It’s not working out very well, they don’t have the personnel for it… Even last year, they didn’t really have great defensive personnel, but they had a system and they had size that they could funnel everyone to. They don’t have that anymore and I think that’s the biggest problem.”

2:35-3:10: On Bradley Beal’s injury: “It’s gonna be really hard, since they don’t have a lot of really good replacements…have to run their offense more through John Wall…hopefully they can hit some 3s…teams are gonna help off Garrett Temple and Otto Porter…it’ll open space a little more…maybe they need to use more of Otto Porter’s playmaking…it’s a bad a injury, they really are going to miss (Beal) quite a bit”

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