#WallStar Shining Bright

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B4sL1XMIAAAS4Kx

By William Beal

Fan voting for the 2015 NBA All-Star game has begun, and it’s time for Wizards fans to come out in force and get John Wall the starting spot he deserves on the team.

Wall is currently second in the NBA is assists per game with 10.5 per game, and is tied with Pau Gasol for the most double-doubles in the league with 14 already in 22 games played.

He has led the Wizards to a 16-6 record on the season, winning 7 of their last 8 games.

Wall had his most emotional performance of the season, and possibly his career, on Monday in a thrilling double-overtime victory over the Celtics.

After losing the first game of a two-game set in Boston, the Wizards were cruising to an easy victory in D.C. on Monday.  Then they blew a 16-point, 4th-quarter lead as the Celtics sent the game into OT.

The Wizards erased not one, but two 7-point deficits in the extra periods, one in each OT.  Wall scored the last 10 points for the Wizards in the game to lead them to a 133-132 victory.  He finished with 26 points and 17 assists to save himself from being the goat after contributing to blowing the lead with four of his nine turnovers coming in the 4th quarter.

After the game, a clearly emotional Wall broke down during the post game interview.  His friend Miyah, a 6-year-old girl who had been battling cancer, passed away earlier in the day.  You may remember Miyah from back in March, when Wall helped her meet her idol, Nicki Minaj.

Wall garnered national attention that night, being praised for both his play and his compassion for his little friend.

So let’s show out Wizards fans, and get Wall the start he deserves in Madison Square Garden on February 15.

What the Northwestern games tell us about Butler

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Written by: Marko Tomich

1.

The addition Roosevelt Jones into the Bulldog’s line up has been HUGE. Jones is a do it all utility man for the Dawgs as we saw in the Northwestern game. Jones was able to score 12 points, grab six rebounds and toss out four assists as the Bulldogs fended off the Wildcats. Butler last year struggled against bigger and more aggressive opponents the addition of Jones has helped. (As Butler has seen in Battle 4 Atlantis)

2.

The offense is balanced and when one player is having an off night, someone else is able to step up. Last year the Dawgs were a one-person offense (Kellen Dunham in case you missed every game). Kellen struggled in the first half against the Wildcats to be the go to guy and find his shot. Alex Barlow was able to step up or Andrew Chrabascz. The team showed last night if you slow down one the others will step up.

3.

Coach Chris Holtmann is the real deal. He shows leadership and commands respect from his players. It is clear and obvious that the team chemistry is at a completely different level than it was last year. He has the team playing every game like it is a conference game. Although it was a close game Holtmann was able to grind out a win in a match his team never trailed.

4.

The Bulldogs have senior leadership. When Northwestern was hanging in the game late Barlow made a steal that led to a layup at the other end. Barlow’s steal put the Hinkle Fieldhouse fans over the top, which helped the Dawgs regain momentum for the remainder of the game. Barlow has been able to lead by example and vocally for Butler. The team never seems to be lost when the ball is in his hands he is a floor general that Butler has been missing.

#Pray4Nene

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Pray4Nene

By William Beal

Right off the bat, allow me to apologize, because I feel personally responsible for the latest spat of plantar fasciitis to afflict poor Nene.  The last time you heard from me, I pondered that DeJuan Blair may be kept on the roster simply for if/when Nene got hurt.  Why I thought I could tempt the injury gods in such a way is beyond me, and I’ll be kicking myself until his return.

The Brazilian big man has missed five straight games since aggravating the reoccurring right foot injury in the game against the Bucks on November 22.

The Wizards looked to be heading down the typical road of Nene-less basketball, dropping the first two games he missed, but have since gone on to win three straight.

In 11 games this year, Nene has only averaged 10.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, but his meaningfulness as a veteran leader, skills as a passer, and elite boxing-out talents are missed greatly.

So how have the Wiz managed to stay afloat in Nene’s absence?  Well, much to my chagrin, not because of DeJuan Blair, who has only seen garbage time minutes in two games since the injury.

Kris Humphries has slid into the starting role with Drew Gooden now the backup.  Humphries has continued to display his midrange skill, also grabbing a whopping 20 rebounds against the Lakers.

Randy Wittman has also gotten a little creative, experimenting with a lineup that has Rasual Butler as a stretch-4 in limited minutes.

So for now, trudge on through the times without our spiritual leader, Brazilian Confucius, Wizards fans.  And most importantly, don’t forget to #Pray4Nene.

Butler beats down Loyola Maryland

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Written by: Marko Tomich

Dominating, the single word to describe Butler and freshman Kelan Martin’s game against the Loyola Maryland in an 80-39 rout. The Bulldogs are 3-0 on the season and look right on schedule even with interim head coach Chris Holtmann stepping in for Brandon Miller.

Martin is a pure-bred scorer from Louisville, Ky., that can hurt you from a variety of ways, which Loyola found out quickly. Martin entered the game with Butler trailing by two and the Bulldogs never looked back.

Martin recorded an assist, steal and three pointer in his first two possessions early in the first half.

Martin was three of three from behind the arc, snagged five rebounds, and tossed two assists on his way to 13 points all in the first half.

Butler’s defense turned up the pressure forcing nine first half turnovers and held Loyola to just 29 percent from the field and a measly 22 percent behind the arc.

Butler went to the locker room with a 42-18 point lead, for those of you keeping track at home Martin trailed Loyola by only five at half.

Butler continued its prolific offensive performance that included 40 points in the paint and converted 37 points off of turnovers.

Loyola’s bright spot was Eric Laster who seemed to be the only player that could find himself in an offensive grove. Laster finished with 24 points hitting four of his six three point attempts.

The bench was the big difference in the match. Butler’s bench outscored their opponent 39-0. Loyola’s bench went a combined 0-18 from the field.

Roosevelt Jones continues his stat-stuffing year finishing the game with 10 points, six assist, and four steals. Butler sure did miss his toughness and all around play last year.

Butler will be traveling to the Bahamas for their next game, as they will be in the Battle 4 Atlantis Thanks giving tournament. Butler will square off with North Carolina in their first match.

The Dawgs walked away with a win last time these two met in a Thanks giving tournament, 2012 Maui Invitational, then freshman Kellen Dunham had 17 points.

Where is DeJuan Blair?

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dBlairWiz

By William Beal

After acquiring DeJuan Blair in a sign-and-trade this offseason with the Dallas Mavericks, many people thought that he could be a great contribution to the Wizards front court depth.

Blair was excited about joining the team, but after after appearing in only three games so far, for a total of 11 minutes, people are wondering what is going on.

Front court depth was a problem for the Wizards last season, and they addressed it in the offseason. They resigned Kevin Seraphin and Drew Gooden, also bringing in Kris Humphries and Blair on free agent deals.

The problem for Blair is that he is at the back of this rotation, and all of the guys in front of him, including starters Nene and Marcin Gortat, are playing very well.

There has been no news of an injury for Blair, so his lack of playing time is disappointing after his nice performance against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs last season.

There have already been speculations about what the Wizards should do with Blair, but it seems likely that they will keep him, mostly as an insurance policy for Nene, who routinely misses a stretch of 20 games every season due to injury.

It is possible that Blair may just not have gelled with the team in practices yet, and that as he does, he works his way into the rotation.  It is also possible that somebody in front of him in the rotation stumbles a little bit and he works himself into the rotation that way.

One thing that is good to see is that he hasn’t publicly voiced his displeasure about his role with the team. This may bode well for his future on the team, but, for now, a proven rotation big continues to waste away on the bench.

Wizards Off to Best Start in 39 Years

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Wiz2

By William Beal

The year was 1975, a little company named Microsoft had just been founded and head coach Randy Wittman was just starting his freshman year of high school .  It was also the last time the Washington Wizards (uh, Bullets) started a season 6-2.

After losing the season opener to the Heat down a few men thanks to this, the Wiz have been hot, losing only to the Raptors.

They’ve done it behind the power of John Wall, averaging 20 points, 9 assists, and 2.6 steals through the first eight games.  He also has five double-doubles already.

We’re also getting ever closer to the return of Bradley Beal.

While Garrett Temple filled in nicely in Beal’s absence, shooting 14 of 27 from three-point land in the first five games of the season, he has cooled down recently, shooting just 1 for 10 in the last three games.

The Wizards are also getting big contributions from a place they didn’t much last year; the bench.  In separate games this season, Rasual Butler, Kevin Seraphin, and Otto Porter Jr. have added 18, 13, and 21 points, respectively, off the bench to contribute to wins.

We will find out a lot about this team in the coming weeks as the face off against the powerhouse Cavaliers team twice in six days, possibly with Beal returning in the first matchup.

So take a deep breath Wizards fans, and enjoy the moment.  The season only gets more fun from here.

Wizards Season Preview

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Wizzies

By William Beal

The Wizards will look to follow up their most exciting season since Gilbert Arenas was doing this to defenses throughout the league.  They enter the season with a new look; sporting their first alternate jerseys since 2006 and a new court design.  They also enter with plenty of new talent on the roster.

After the departure of Trevor Booker, the Wizards went into free agency looking to add to their backcourt depth, signing Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair. After resigning Marcin Gortat, the Wizards didn’t have enough cap space to also resign Trevor Ariza, who left to the Rockets.  The Wizards replaced him with veteran leadership in Paul Pierce, who adds some toughness to this group.

The Wizards enter the season with thoughts of winning the Southeast division for the first time in years after the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat.  However, three other playoff teams from last year (Bobcats, Heat, and Hawks) look to grab the title as well.

The Wizards also finally have some nationally televised games after having not a single one last year! Look forward to the national presence falling in love with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and hopefully coming up with a great nickname for the backcourt duo.  Look for a possible rivalry renewed with the Cavaliers, and possibly a new one brewing with the Bulls.

It’s gonna be an exciting season for us all Wizards fans. Ready yourself for all the ups and all of the downs. And always remember this season is gonna be just one big party. What kind of party you ask?

Wizard Party