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Celtics embarrass Wizards 118-98: Five takeaways

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Celtics embarrass Wizards 118-98: Five takeaways

What could be the worst thing for the Wizards, coming off an emotional high to beat the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week? Being blown out by the struggling Boston Celtics on Friday, which is exactly what happened 118-98 at TD Garden.

The Wizards (3-2) jumped out to a 10-5 lead to start but it quickly went downhill after the Celtics shot 17-for-26 in the first quarter for a season-high 40 points. A team that has trouble scoring, the Celtics (2-3) averaged 19 points per game in the opening stanza for the season and led by as many as 30. 

Seven first-quarter turnovers contributed to the Wizards' downfall, three coming from John Wall, as they had trouble defending long before they could blame being winded by their own fast-paced offense. The Celtics played with more energy from start to finish, led by Jared Sullinger with 21 points, Kelly Olynyk's 19, 16 from Evan Turner and Isaiah Thomas and 12 by Jae Crowder.

Bradley Beal had his fifth consecutive game with 24 or more points to lead the Wizards, scoring a game-high 24, followed by Wall with 13 and Marcin Gortat's 10.

The bench for the Wizards, minus Drew Gooden who was a late scratch because of back spasms, was listless. It had just 13 points after three quarters and half of their total turnovers for the game with 12. Kelly Oubre made his first field goal in a regular-season game as a pro off a lob from Wall. 

  • The ball movement was absent with far too much dribbling. Jared Dudley had two turnovers as soon as he came in from passing up open looks, putting the ball on the floor and moving the ball too late in the shot clock as the Celtics overplayed passing lanes for breakaway buckets. Kris Humphries, who has had that problem in recent games, was much sharper. He took the looks he had on first glance and made 3 of 4 three-pointers.

  • When a team like Boston uses a spread five like Sullinger vs. Gortat or Nene, Wizards will continue to have matchup problems. Sullinger and Olynyk took advantage of the Wizards' bigs being late to get out to the arc to challenge. They combined to shoot 6-for-9 from three-point range. 

  • Despite having numbers repeatedly because of the Celtics' bigs staying on the perimeter still got outrebounded. Jonas Jerebko got to a missed three by Olynyk late in the third quarter over Otto Porter and Dudley. In the first quarter, when they started to pull away, Olynyk snagged an offensive rebound between four defenders for the putback and a 27-18 lead. 

  • Wall was flat and unsure of himself with his shot. On two occasions, he rebounded his own miss and had a second look uncontested in the lane. He hesitated both times. The first was an airball and the second grazed the front of the rim. And he had a season-high eight turnovers.  Wall tweeted after the game:

  • With this being the first game of a back-to-back, emptying the bench is a good idea with Oubre getting his first real action (seven points). The battle with Boston was lost and there's no need for heavy minutes from anyone (Beal played the most, 31). A win Saturday at the Atlanta Hawks, who eliminated the Wizards in six games of the conference semifinals, can make for some of what took place with this fiasco. If the Wizards get blown out again, however, their problems multiply with the Oklahoma City Thunder coming to town in a few days.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.