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Morning tip: Arrival of Golden State is 'everybody's Super Bowl'


Morning tip: Arrival of Golden State is 'everybody's Super Bowl'

Just as was the case when the Miami Heat had the Big Three with LeBron James would come to Verizon Center, tonight's game with the Golden State Warriors will have a similar atmosphere. The Wizards likely will feel like the road team on their own floor (CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 7 p.m. ET).  

"It’s kind of like when I was at Kentucky. We were everybody’s Super Bowl," Wizards point guard John Wall said of playing Golden State, last season's NBA champion that will enter 44-4 with the electrifying Stephen Curry. "Everybody want to go out there and try to defeat them. They’re a team that comes with a lot of focus. They understand the task at hand."

The Wizards (21-25) have lost eight of the last nine meetings. The gold standard of pace-and-space, the Warriors only have lost on the road -- at the Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons.

The key, it appears, is to prevent the second-chance opportunities that killed the Wizards in Monday's 114-98 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder. There, they were pounded 53-27 on the boards. Eighteen of the Thunder's points came from second chances. 

Golden State is a combined minus-30 rebounding in their four losses, being dominated by double-digit margins in three of those games.

"When they miss shots, we got to go and get the rebounds," Wall said. "When you play a team like Golden State every time they get an offensive rebound they’re looking to kick it out to the shooters.

"They’re a beatable team. Every team is beatable in this league. Teams have gone to Golden State and played well against them. We’ve just got to take things away from them which is easier said than done when you get on the court. If we get them to take tough shots and they have an off night we got to be able to clean up those boards."

The Warriors have shooters everywhere. They switch everything on pick-and-rolls, a luxury of having Draymond Green who can defend post players and the likes of Wall. Showing them the same looks defensively won't work. The Wizards will have to mix up coverages to keep them off balance.

"You’re not going to keep nobody from getting open looks the whole 48 minutes. I don’t care who you are. The main point is defensively. We have to defend with pride," Wall said. "We know they want to take a lot of threes but also they finish in the paint. They’re not just guys that always spot up and shoot. They can make plays off the dribble and that’s what makes them tough to defend. You just got to  try to make other guys make plays."

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

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.


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:


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.' 


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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.