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Celtics trounce Wizards once again 111-78: Five takeaways

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Celtics trounce Wizards once again 111-78: Five takeaways

This looked nothing like the Boston Celtics' smashing of the Wizards by 20 points three weeks ago. It was every bit worse because of what looked like a non-effort by the visiting team from the opening tip Friday in a 111-78 loss.

John Wall only played 29 minutes (4 of 11 shooting, 10 points, six assists), Kris Humphries failed to score for the third time in four games, the starting frontcourt of Humphries, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat combined to score 10 points in their third loss in a row that dropped them below .500 for the first time this season.

The Wizards (6-7) were led by Jared Dudley's season-high 19 points off the bench and 16 from Bradley Beal. 

Boston (9-7) dominated throughout, much like they did an a 118-98 victory on Nov. 6, behind Jared Sullinger (18 points, 15 rebounds), Isaiah Thomas (21 points), Avery Bradley (16 points) and David Lee and Kelly Olynyk (12 each).

Unlike the first meeting when the Wizards were torched at the three-point line by Sullinger and Olynyk, they were abused inside. The Celtics grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and ended with a 58-46 edge overall that was much wider until both teams emptied their benches.

Washington had just 16 assists against 22 turnovers.

  • Dudley started the third quarter at power forward. It's not the first time that coach Randy Wittman has made this adjustment with uninspired play by Humphries. It's probably time to make that change, though this hardly will make up for all that has gone wrong. If Drew Gooden, who has been slowed by back spasms, is healthy enough, Humphries' minutes should be going to him off the bench.

  • Nene was lost after just two minutes on the floor, limping to the locker room after re-injuring his left calf. It is being called a strain by the team. Nene missed practice on Monday because of the calf but hadn't missed a game because of it yet. He had a right calf strain during the preseason. DeJuan Blair was at least physical and making his presence felt when he stepped in. The Wizards can't run offense through him or rely on him to make the reads that Nene makes with the ball or his smart rotations on defense. The second unit, which has been the one shining spot with this team, had 37 points.

  • Gortat often in the only person on the floor for the Wizards rebounding. Typically, when he goes for offensive rebounds he's going 1-on-3 or even 1-on-4. Gortat had seven rebounds in the first half then it was Blair coming off the bench for four. By the time they showed more effort in the second half with the guards also hitting the glass, it was too late. 

  • Porter was in foul trouble as he picked up his third with 9:34 left in the second quarter as he went over the back for an offensive rebound. He didn't get his first field goal until 3:59 of third quarter. Porter is taking shots falling away and with his body not squared up. It's not that he's missing, but that his shots look no good the second they leave his hand. He launched an airball on a fadeaway which resulted in Thomas getting out in transition for a layup. Boston led 10-4 and it continued to snowball. In this three-game losing streak, he's shooting 6-for-22.

  • Wall, who was listless from the beginning, didn't get his first field goal until 5:15 remained in the second quarter. Beal started off aggressive by getting his first three field goals going to the basket and disappeared after that. The Wizards have lost by an average of 21 points this week, and for the third time in three games neither Wall nor Beal was the best player on the floor for the Wizards. 

MORE WIZARDS: Nene exits Celtics game with calf strain

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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.