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Morning tip: Jason Smith's injury is a big deal for Wizards

Morning tip: Jason Smith's injury is a big deal for Wizards

Just as Jason Smith started to play his best basketball off the bench for the Wizards, making both of his shot attempts in a 122-108 win over the Detroit Pistons, he limped off the court after a collision. He's questionable going into today's game vs. the L.A. Clippers.

Smith appeared to bump knees but it turns out it was a right hamstring injury. That's better than the worst-case scenario from a 30-year-old who has had a history of knee injuries. The last one came in 2014. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee to end his 2008-09 season before it began. 

Overall, the bench has played so much better and it goes beyond the 30 points they combined to score led by Marcus Thornton's 11 vs. Detroit. They're maintaining leads and even extending them. They're getting quality looks in the half-court and not heaving up prayers to beat the shot clock. That includes Smith on the pick-and-pop action.

“Unfortunately Jason tweaked his hamstring. Don't know how long that will be. We'll see how it feels," said coach Scott Brooks after Friday's game. "We'll wait to the next day to really see how he feels and we'll go from there but I think our bench is doing a good job. We're still missing Ian (Mahinmi) but I think Trey (Burke) is finding a nice little roll. Marcus has done a good job. Kelly (Oubre) is really growing up in front of our eyes and that's what you want your young players to do. By challenging him every day. We're going to keep doing that, you're going to see growth. There is going to be spikes and there is going to be a little dropoffs. We're going to try to eliminate those dropoffs as much as can and just keep him growing and becoming a better defensive player. I think his offense is going to get better.”

Mahinmi, Brooks indicated before Friday's game, hasn't practiced with the Wizards and they'll have to see him do that before he has any chance to return from tendinitis in his right knee. They didn't practice Saturday which means Mahinmi won't play Sunday. If they do not have Smith, who at 7-0 is a forward/center, that could force rookie Daniel Ochefu into the rotation unless Brooks opts to go with  more small llineups. Starting center Marcin Gortat already is playing a career-high 35.4 minutes per game. Kelly Oubre (concussion) is out, too.

Smith's mid-range shot has started come come along. He was 5-for-9 for a season-high 12 points and seven rebounds in Wedneday's 109-106 win over the Charlotte Hornets. 

[RELATED: ALL-STAR CONVERSATION INCLUDES WALL, BEAL]

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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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