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Morning tip: Injury catches Will Bynum off guard

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Morning tip: Injury catches Will Bynum off guard

Will Bynum hasn't played in this series with the Atlanta Hawks, and he only made one appearance in the final game of a sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the first round. But he's one of the last players to know that John Wall had five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist which could elevate Bynum into a more meaningful role come Game 3 Saturday.

After Paul Pierce, Ramon Sessions, Bradley Beal and coach Randy Wittman spoke to assembled media Thursday afternoon about the news, Bynum remained on the practice court working up a sweat with some extra repetitions. It's a common practice here with bench players who aren't getting a lot of time in the rotation. 

When was Bynum told? "Right before the game," he said, referring to Tuesday's 106-90 loss in Atlanta when Wall was a late scratch because of his inability to grip the ball with his left hand. The seven-game series is 1-1.

When Bynum was told the question was in reference to Thursday, his eyes eyes lit up. "See, I didn't even know that. Wow," he said. "Dang. I didn't know that. It doesn't change my mentality. Hopefully Witt will use me."

Sessions will get the start as he did in Game 2. For defense, the Wizards will opt for Garrett Temple. He's their best on-ball perimeter defender and the Hawks have plenty of scorers on the outside. For offense, Wittman could chose to go with Bynum, who is about seven inches shorter than Temple but can be more prone to offensive outbursts with his dribble penetration.

"Our guards have to get in the paint and create easy opportunities. We have to have great ball movement," Bynum said. "And we got to be aggressive on the defensive end. We've got to hit them first. It's pretty simple. The little things like that is the key. It's the energy, the 50-50 balls, the extra pass, the hockey assists, those are the keys to winning the game."

Sessions scored a playoff career-high 21 points in the loss. Bynum's career playoff-high came in 2009 when he scored 22 points for the Detroit Pistons. 

"Because we play Sessions and John together a lot coming down the stretch, in practice Will is getting a lot of reps a that second unit point guard," Wittman said. "He's comfortable with what we're doing and everything."

Bynum took a moment to soak in the news. The last player signed to the roster as a free agent in late March and the last to know. But if Sessions can replicate Tuesday's effort and Bynum rise to the occasion, in a strange way this could benefit the Wizards in the short-term. But that's being extremely optimistic.

"I've been playing for a long time so things happen. You have to be ready," Bynum said. "I know it's tough for John because I know how eager he was for this opportunity. I know it's tough for him. For guys like myself for whoever gets the call to be ready.

"For sure, we can still win. It's just going to be tough without him."

MORE WIZARDS: Compared to these fractures, Wall's unique (not in a good way)

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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