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Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

The fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game hasn't been favorable to John Wall, but the Wizards' point guard -- already a three-time All-Star -- put another notch in the best season of his career with 18 assists to go with 18 points in a fourth-quarter comeback win.

It came a day after he learned that he only received 87,360 popular votes among Eastern Conference guards for the Feb. 19 showcase in New Orleans while lesser perfomers such as Dwyane Wade (278,052) and Derrick Rose (129,924) outdistanced him though they're on teams with comparable records to Washington (17-18)

"Eight-seven thousand votes?" Wall said sarcastically, though with a smile, to CSNmidatlantic.com after he had 18 points and 18 assists in a 112-105 victory. "I'll take it."

Wall has 22 double-doubles, 13 more than the next nearest pure guard in the conference which is Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics (nine) who plays at the two. Nicolas Batum, a shooting guard/small forward for the Charlotte Hornets, has 10.

Among point guards ahead of Wall in the voting, the leader Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers has six double-doubles, the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry also has six, Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics just four and Rose only one with the N.Y. Knicks.

The only players above Wall in double-doubles in the East are centers Andre Drummond (24), Hassan Whiteside (24) and Dwight Howard (23). 

Wall's are much tougher to tally because of his role. His double-doubles create a ripple effect because as the primary ballhandler he's why the Wizards had five other players score in double figures Friday. Five of the seven field goals made by Otto Porter (17 points) came from Wall's assists. Four of Marcin Gortat's nine makes were product of his passes. In all, the Wizards had 31 assists on 46 baskets and the wealth was distributed almost equally. It's a staple of their offense when they play well. 

"John is always facilitating like that so it is a lot easier playing with him," said Markieff Morris, who had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting. "You just have to make some shots. It is as simple as that."

Wall only had four points at halftime, but he didn't hunt for shots the way Zach LaVine did repeatedly in shooting 3-for-14 for Minnesota. Instead, Wall took his time, picked apart the traps on the ball by Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns and made the simple pocket passes that helped produce 9-for-9 shooting by Gortat. 

Carefully, he injected pace into the game.

"Every time I came areound there was like two guys there," Wall said of the Wolves' defensive strategy on the pick-and-roll coverage. 

They were determined to keep Wall away from the rim, so he set the table for his teammates to inflict their damage first.

"They packed the paint in on the pick-and-rolls," said Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 22 points on just 12 shots, including 5 of 7 on three-pointers. "So John was able to find everybody."

Wall knocked down a long jumper for a 99-97 lead with 3:40 left and sliced into the lane on consecutive plays for layups and a 105-101 lead exactly two minutes later.

Beal, Wall's backcourt mate who isn't in the top 10 for All-Star fan voting for guards but has a viable case for inclusion as well, delivered the knockout blow on Minnesota with 69 seconds left. It was Beal only field goal in the fourth.

Wall made the assist on that shot for a 108-103 lead and Gortat finished a lob to end all hope -- also from Wall. The Wizards shot 58.2% overall, 46 of 79, just short of a season-high 58.3% set earlier in the season. They made 12 of 22 threes for 54.5%.

"Too easy. All you've got to do is run the floor and you're going to get open shots. Cut hard, run your plays hard and he'll find you," Beal said of Wall's orchestration of the offense. "It's just a matter of playing hard and playing with energy and the rest will take care of itself. We can get what we want on offense. We have a lot of offensive threats and guys who can make plays. We just put it all on the defense and just feed off of that."
The "M-V-P" chants returned as Wall stood at the foul line for the first time with 8.3 seconds left. He made them both though that wasn't indicative of his court presence. The Wizards have won nine in a row at Verizon Center.

"There is a lot of excitement and it's great to know that when they call our names they are cheering for us," Wall said. "It's something we can use as an advantage."

But will anyone outside of D.C. hear? For Wall to be an All-Star again, it'll likely have to come from coaches who vote for the reserves. They know all about Wall and his impact first-hand because they game plan to stop him and more often than not this season they've not succeeded.

And defensively, Wall is a much better player than the one who began the season slow after surgeries to both knees May 5. 

"When we were down in that fourth quarter, that's when he had to take over becaiuse Brad was out of the game," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who went with Wall and Gortat after a 14-point third quarter lead devolved into an 85-80 deficit entering the fourth. "He had to be more aggressive because we needed his scoring. ... We got stops. It gave us the opportunity to get out in transtion where he's at his best."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Timberwolves]

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:

[RELATED: MAJOR INJURY NEWS FOR THE 2018 NBA DRAFT]

Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: MARKIEFF MORRIS STANDS UP FOR MEEK MILL]

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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

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USA Today Sports

Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

Rap star Meek Mill going back to prison has affected many of his fans, Markieff Morris among them. The Washington Wizards forward is from Philadelphia, like Meek Mill, and loves his music.

Morris posted information for a rally to support Meek Mill earlier this month on his Instagram. Hundreds of fans showed up, including Sixers legend Julius Erving, Eagles players and Rick Ross.

The whole tri-state pull up and support!!

A post shared by KeefMorris5.0 (@keefmorris5.0) on

[RELATED: MAJOR INJURY NEWS FOR THE 2018 NBA DRAFT]

Morris joined the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week to discuss a series of topics, including Meek Mill. Morris is upset about the situation, but was happy to see the support.

"The city was big. We needed that, man," he said. "For them people to come out, it was a great thing for us, man, to see the support that the city is really behind him 100 percent."

Morris defended Meek Mill's character and pointed to his charitable efforts.

"Meek does a lot of stuff that goes unseen in Philly. He's kind of like us when it comes to showing support for the city and doing stuff while not looking for cameras to be broadcast it that he's doing something nice. He just does it because he's a good person," Morris said.

Meek Mill is going back to prison for violating his probation numerous times over the past several years. He was sentenced to two to four years.

Morris also talked about his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, why he loves playing with Mike Scott, why the Wizards are a tough team and many other subjects.

Listen to the full interview right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL'S BIG MILESTONE, BY THE NUMBERS]