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John Wall setting Wizards franchise record dampened by loss

John Wall setting Wizards franchise record dampened by loss

John Wall someday owning franchise records as a member of the Washington Wizards became a distinct possibility the moment they - along with Irene Pollin - won the NBA Draft lottery back in 2010. After suffering through a second consecutive last-place season, the Wizards earned the right to add a transformational talent to their franchise. 

Wall was a once-in-a-generation mix of physical gifts and mental makeup: a point guard rare in his size at 6-foot-4, with prodigious speed to match, and a pass-first mentality in an age where most just want to shoot. He could zoom up the court faster than anyone and find open teammates. Even if it required leaping in the lane and contorting his body to fire off a pass, he had an innate ability to set up open looks.

Some players learn to pass at an elite level, but for Wall it came naturally. From his very first game, he was seeing things others were not.

He took the court in Orlando on Oct. 28 of 2010 clad in blue and gold, danced his way through pregame introductions and proceeded to dish nine assists in his professional debut. From there began an illustrious career that seven years in has him firmly established as one of the best players in the game.

On Monday night at the Verizon Center, Wall reached a milestone that was long a foregone conclusion. With a fastbreak dime to Bradley Beal in the third quarter against the Houston Rockets, Wall set a new franchise record for career assists. He topped Wes Unseld, a man whom following his career was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, an honor Wall could someday earn himself.

The only problem with this particular accomplishment was the night on which it occurred. Wall's Wizards let another winnable game slip away in the fourth quarter and fell to 1-5 on the season. Wall played well himself with 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds, but turned the ball over six times and was ejected in the final minute after receiving a second technical foul.

It's hard to celebrate an accomplishment after a game like that, but the significance wasn't lost on the Wizards star.

"It's an honor," he said. "It's great. It's cool. But it would have been more fun with a win."

Wall has averaged nine assists in his career despite never playing alongside a teammate who made the All-Star team. Wall himself has made three All-Star appearances and it's largely because of his passing.

That part of his game is not lost on his teammates.

"He's always been a pass-first point guard. It makes our job easier," forward Otto Porter said. "He can get out and run and get his assists. Then, when everyone collapses on him, he's definitely looking to hit that open guy."

Wall, 26, has a long career ahead of him and that also played into his reaction to breaking Unseld's record. Despite already having 3,827 assists in the NBA to his name, Wall wants and expects to accrue many more before it's all said and done.

"It don't mean nothing to me right now because I didn't win the game," he said. "And I have a lot of basketball left to play."

Only six players in NBA history have averaged as many assists as Wall (9.0 per game) with at least 400 games played. Four of those are Hall of Famers: Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas and another (Chris Paul) will get there someday.

[RELATED: Wall will have input on games to sit in back-to-backs]

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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

It was a short night for Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the 2018 All-Star three-point contest on Saturday, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Wearing the Wizards' new 'The District' white alternate jersey, Beal shot a 15 and fell short of the top three spots to qualify for the second round. Suns guard Devin Booker won the contest with a 28 score in the final, beating out Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Clippers.

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

Beal's was undone by a slow start. He missed all five shots on the first rack and made just one on the second. He began to heat up at the third rack, but by then couldn't recover.

Here is Beal's full round:

This was Beal's second showing in the three-point contest. He finished second back in 2014 and this year said he was motivated to avenge that loss. He should have plenty more opportunities to participate in the future if he chooses.

The NBA's All-Star Saturday night began with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie winning the skills competition. He beat Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen in the final round.

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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

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

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition 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 SATURDAY NIGHT

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

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

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

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

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

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