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Morning tip: Bradley Beal assumes John Wall's role


Morning tip: Bradley Beal assumes John Wall's role

If the 34 points aren't enough to demonstrate how much Bradley Beal wants it, or his team-leading seven assists and three steals, maybe it's the defense he continues to play on Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks. 

Though the Wizards won't make it official, John Wall (fractured left wrist) isn't going to play in this second-round series so a greater burden falls on Beal. 

"I had to get these guys going. In the locker room I told them, 'I'm not giving up. I need everybody with me and we need to be in this thing together. We're one as a team,'" said Beal of his speech after the Wizards went down 65-55 at halftime of Game 4 at Verizon Center. "I just wanted to come out and set a tone defensively, got a turnovers to start (the third quarter) and came out and went aggressively to the basket to try to get us easy points on the offensive end. Get guys amped up."

Beal harassed the NBA's best three-point shooter yet again. Korver only attempted four shots, making both three-pointers in the first half. Then Beal locked him down, forcing a pair of turnovers to open the third quarter to give the Wizards new life. They'd have a chance to tie it late but would lose 106-101 as the series returns to Atlanta tied at 2. 

"It's a challenge and I'm willing to accept it," Beal, 21, said of picking up the slack left by Wall's absence. "I can't feed into being young because they put their paints on the same way I do.

"I have to voice myself a lot and I know I have to lead by example. ... The game of basketball is not hard. You just got to have fun, just play with heart. Nobody can give you heart. You have to find within yourself and once you do that everything takes care of itself."

Beal kept his dribble alive and got into the paint. He finished at the rim, in traffic, in transition, made half of his eight three-point attempts and played 44 minutes. His defense on Korver didn't suffer.

"I'm starting to know his tendencies. I'm upset I gave him a three at the beginning of the game. I hate when he touches the ball, period. Even if he just passes it I just hate whenever the ball is in his hands," Beal said. "Whenever he's on the floor we're just aware of where he is at all times."

Wall is a more demonstrative player. Beal has a similar edge but doesn't reveal it much. In his second postseason, he realized for the Wizards to advance deeper that he'll have to take more shots and be more assertive. He shot 11-for-25.  

"I can't make the passes that John makes yet so I got a lot to work on this summer. It's been good and bad," Beal said. "It's just a learning experience at the same time, having to deal with double-teams a lot, kind of dealing with what he goes through a lot when he's in pick-and-rolls. It's kind of the life I chose. I have to grow up. I can't make excuses. I got to lead the team as best as I can." 

This series is the best 2 of 3 going into Game 5 Wednesday at Phillips Arena. 

"It was a great opportunity for us to go up 3-1, at home, we barely lost by five. We were still right there and we didn't even play great. We were still right there," Beal said. "We won one game without John, we can do it again. It doesn't matter what floor we play on. We have to have guys who are willing to lock in and be focused for 48 minutes whether John is playing or not."

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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:


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



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


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


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.


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.


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.


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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk 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.


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.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest. He edged Larry Nance, Jr. of the Cavaliers in the finals.