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The Philadelphia
#1
Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks knew John Wall would be back to his explosive Kyzir White Color Rush Jersey , elite self for the playoffs when the All-Star point guard was able to play 38 minutes in a regular-season loss at Cleveland.
It took Wall one additional outing to be absolutely certain he’ d be OK after coming back from surgery on his left knee, pointing to his 29-point, 12-assist effort against Boston five days later.
”I had a big game,” he said Monday, looking back at that victory from a couple of weeks ago. ”Kind of just started to see shots fall that I was falling short on the couple of games I had before that.”
As Wall prepares to lead the No. 8 seed Wizards into Game 5 against the No. 1 seed Raptors on Wednesday night in Toronto, it is as if he never was away for more than two months. As if he never needed that operation in the first place. As if he got a chance to ramp up for the postseason for more than merely four games.
And all of that outside chatter about whether Washington might just be better off without him, based on the team going 8-2 at the start of his absence in January and February, sure seems silly right about now. Especially after Wall carried Washington to a 106-98 victory in Game 4 on Sunday night by scoring eight of the host’s last 14 points and adding an assist – plus tight defense on DeMar DeRozan – after Bradley Beal fouled out with about five minutes left.
Did it while playing all 24 minutes in the second half, too. Plus, Wall revealed Monday that he twisted his right ankle down the stretch http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authe...sr.-jersey , although he declared himself fine.
”It’s always pulling teeth to try to get him off the court,” Brooks said. ”I like that. As a coach, you want that.”
Now Washington will need to grab a victory on the road at least once to claim a series in which the home team has won every game so far.
”You put John Wall on this team for 82 games,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said, ”and I guarantee they wouldn’t be eighth.”
Instead, Wall appeared in only 41 games this season, missing all four that Washington played against Toronto. But he sure is looking good when the games count the most.
He is averaging 26.8 points, 13 assists and 4.8 rebounds in the series.
And here’ s an obscure, yet telling, stat offered up by the Wizards: Wall joined Magic Johnson as the only players with at least 27 points Leighton Vander Esch Color Rush Jersey , 14 assists and six rebounds in two consecutive playoff games.
”It was just a matter of time before he got back to himself,” Wizards forward Markieff Morris said. ”He just needed to get some games under his belt. Basically, just get his feet under him, get his wind back, and he would get back to how he was playing. Because he’s a competitor.”
That aspect of Wall’ s persona came out when he was trading barbs with Canadian rapper Drake during the series’ first two games in Toronto, when the Raptors were taking a 2-0 lead.
”I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here. Didn’t show up. He told me we were getting swept and he had the broom for us,” Wall said. ”I wanted him to know they weren’t going to sweep us.”

Associated Press writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.

If the easier road in the Eastern Conference is from seventh place instead of sixth, the Milwaukee Bucks aren’t interested in taking it.
They know they aren’t going to get the right playoff mindset by losing.
”If you have that mentality it kind of carries over to the postseason and you become a complacent basketball player,” forward Jabari Parker said.
Eric Bledsoe had 22 points and 10 assists, and the Bucks moved into a tie for sixth place in the East with a 115-102 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
Khris Middleton also scored 22 points for the Bucks http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com...rry-jersey , who joined Miami with a 43-37 record. The Heat were blown out by the Knicks at Madison Square Garden a night earlier but the Bucks avoided the same fate despite playing without All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo because of a sore right ankle.
The No. 6 seed would be looking at facing Philadelphia, which has won 13 straight games, or LeBron James and Cleveland. The team that ends up seventh draws a second-seeded Boston team that has lost All-Star guard Kyrie Irving for the season.
”They got a great a basketball team and a great coach,” Bledsoe said. ”Obviously they’re missing a couple of key players but at the same time they were playing well without those guys in the lineup.”
Parker made his second start of the season in Antetokounmpo’s place and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. John Henson had 15 points and 12 boards for the Bucks, who hoped to get point guard Malcolm Brogdon back but will have to wait a little longer as they try to become the dangerous team they think they can be.
”We know how good we can be and we’ve shown it,” coach Joe Prunty said. ”We’ve shown it in games and over stretches of games, but similar to what we were talking about earlier, we have also had lulls or games where we haven’t played as well as we’d like to or need to, and that’s what we’re trying to build on every day.”
Jarrett Jack scored 18 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 15 points, 16 rebounds Logan Morrison Minnesota Twins Jersey , five assists and four blocks for the Knicks, who beat Miami 122-98 on Friday but fell short in their hopes of beating another playoff-bound team.
The Knicks were without Tim Hardaway Jr. (sprained left ankle), Enes Kanter (lower back, right wrist) and Emmanuel Mudiay (concussion). Michael Beasley started after leaving Friday’s game with a bruised left knee.
Jack was the starter earlier in the season before falling out of the rotation entirely while the Knicks turned to young guards Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina and Mudiay.
”The job is 82 games,” Jack said. ”If you’re not in, you cheer for everybody else. But if he calls your number, be ready to come in there and be ready to come in there and contribute as best you can.”
The game was close most of the way until the Bucks, trailing by one, took control with a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter. Middleton’s basket gave Milwaukee the lead for good http://www.titansauthorizedshops.com/aut...alk-jersey , Tony Snell and Parker made 3-pointers, and Bledsoe made four free throws as the Bucks surged to a 106-95 advantage with 2:17 to play.
Snell left a little more than five minutes into the game when he turned an ankle when he stepped on a teammate’s foot while chasing a Knicks player around a screen. He returned in the second quarter and had 10 points.
TIP-INS
[Obrazek: nike_49ers_2691.jpg]
Bucks: Prunty said Brogdon (left quad) was evaluated Saturday and it was determined he wasn’t ready to go. The Bucks hope last season’s Rookie of the Year can play Monday. … Parker had averaged 20 points in his last three games.
Knicks: Coach Jeff Hornacek said he expected that Kanter and Hardaway would play again this season if healthy, refusing to rule them out for the final two games. ”Those guys are all competitors and that’s what we like about them,” Hornacek said. … Knicks starters had no turnovers in the first half and the team had just two total, both by Luke Kornet.
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
The Knicks held Latvian heritage night in celebration of Latvia’s 100th anniversary. The New York Latvian Concert Choir sang the national anthem and Latvia President Raimond Vejonis was presented with a personalized jersey by Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, who is from Latvia.
UP NEXT
Bucks: Host Orlando on Monday.
Knicks: Host Cleveland on Monday.
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