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Cousins, Kings deal Wizards costly defeat in Sacramento

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Cousins, Kings deal Wizards costly defeat in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four blocks, and the Sacramento Kings dealt a blow to the Washington Wizards' playoff hopes with a 120-111 victory on Wednesday night.

The Wizards dropped their second straight and fourth in five games, falling 3 games behind Indiana for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Bradley Beal scored 24 points and Otto Porter had 20 for the Wizards. John Wall contributed 14 points and 13 assists, and Markieff Morris had 13 points.

Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi scored 15 points apiece for the Kings and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 11 assists before he was ejected after getting a double technical in the closing seconds of the game. Darren Collison had 13 points and Kosta Koufos 12.

The victory was the third straight at home for the Kings and gave them their first 30-win season in eight years.

However, the Kings will miss the playoffs for a 10th straight season.

Cousins got off to a great start in the opening quarter, scoring 11 points in seven minutes. He had been outplayed by Marcin Gortat in a loss earlier this season when the Washington center had a season-high 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Cousins hit consecutive baskets to increase the Sacramento lead to 112-97 with a little over 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

He also received his 16th technical of the season in the closing seconds, which will trigger an automatic suspension for Friday's game if it is upheld.

Koufos scored seven straight points early in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Ben McLemore put the Kings ahead 108-95 midway through the fourth.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Porter scored 13 points in the third quarter.

Kings: The team announced earlier Wednesday it had signed Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac to a multiyear contract. Divac, 48, played 16 seasons in the NBA, including six with the Kings. ... Fouled along the baseline, Cousins tossed up a high-arching shot from behind the basket that went in. He hit the free throw for a three-point play in the second quarter. ... Seth Curry started his fourth straight game and had five points. He had averaged 15.7 games in his previous three starts.

UP NEXT

Wizards: At Phoenix on Friday.

Kings: Host Miami on Friday.

[RELATED: Michael Jenkins breaks down NBA's whacky week]

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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. 

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2018 NBA All-Star Game: TV and live stream info, rosters, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Game: TV and live stream info, rosters, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is here with the annual showcase set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR GAME

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

ROSTERS

TEAM LEBRON:

Coach: Dwane Casey, Raptors
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Kevin Durant, Warriors
Kyrie Irving, Celtics
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs
Bradley Beal, Wizards
Goran Dragic, Heat
Andre Drummond, Pistons
Paul George, Thunder
Victor Oladipo, Pacers
Russell Westbrook, Thunder
Kemba Walker, Hornets

TEAM STEPHEN:

Coach: Mike D'Antoni, Rockets
Stephen Curry, Warriors
James Harden, Rockets
Joel Embiid, 76ers
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves
Draymond Green, Warriors
Klay Thompson, Warriors
Al Horford, Celtics
Damian Lillard, Blazers
Kyle Lowry, Raptors
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Three things to watch...

New format

The NBA switched it up this season by doing away with the traditional matchup between the East and West. The teams were instead chosen by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the two top vote-getters in All-Star fan voting. The idea was to breath new life into the All-Star Game and hopefully make it more competitive. The league also installed a system where the winners each get $100,000, $75,000 more than the losing team. 

All pro sports leagues struggle drawing interest with their All-Star showcases. They are always trying to get ratings up and this is the latest ploy by the NBA. The new format is definitely intriguing, but whether it will have a major impact on the competition itself is hard to tell. We'll see how the fans respond.

RELATED: JOHN WALL GIVES UPDATE ON HIS REHAB

Reunion time

The teams picked by James and Curry will give fans some throwback combinations with former teammates back together again. Team LeBron is full of them. James will reunite with Kyrie Irving, who essentially forced his way out of Cleveland over the summer after the two combined to reach three straight NBA Finals and win one title.

We will also see Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play together again. They of course teamed up to win a lot of games with the Oklahoma City Thunder before Durant signed with the Warriors. Westbrook will also be reunited with Victor Oladipo, who was traded from OKC to the Pacers over the summer.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Beal's All-Star debut

Wizards fans will of course be focused on Bradley Beal, who is making his first All-Star appearance. He is Washington's lone representative, as John Wall is still recovering from left knee surgery.

Beal may not get many minutes on a stacked roster of guys who have been in the game before. If that happens, it's probably for the best. Beal is currently fifth in the NBA in total minutes played. He needs the rest if he can get it.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS