Quick Links

New Wizard Jodie Meeks lights up the Guangzhou Long-Lions for a preseason win

USA Today Sports Images

New Wizard Jodie Meeks lights up the Guangzhou Long-Lions for a preseason win

The Washington Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 126-96 in their first preseason game on Monday night at Capital One Arena.

How it happened: Even without their top two point guards, one of them John Wall, and even without their starting power forward, the Wizards had no trouble with China's Guangzhou Long-Lions in the first game of their five-game preseason schedule. 

Tomas Satoransky started at point guard and attacked the rim at will. Either he's gained some newfound confidence after a summer as the man on his Czech national team, or he was simply taking advantage of lesser competition. The same could be said about Kelly Oubre, Jr., who was more aggressive off the dribble than normal, even getting assists on drive-and-dish plays, which aren't typically in his repertoire. Regardless of the opponent, they looked good and so did backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who got anything he wanted on the offensive end of the floor. 

The Wizards' regular starters didn't see the floor much. Wall sat the game out entirely to rest. Bradley Beal played just 7:37 before calling it a night. Marcin Gortat scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 15:02 before retiring to the bench. Otto Porter had three points and four rebounds in 13:33. 

Ian Mahinmi moved well after an offseason of slimming down. He was active on the boards and dominated the paint when he was on the floor.

MORE WIZARDS: Wall eyes MVP award, appreciates Brooks' confidence

What it means: Nothing. Well, almost nothing. This was the first time the 2017-18 Wizards matched up with a team outside of intrasquad scrimmages. It gave head coach Scott Brooks the chance to test out some lineups. But given the opponent was a team from China, it's hard to clean too much from the results.

Meeks was instant offense: The Long-Lions had no answer for Meeks, who had about as good a Wizards debut as one could ask for. He showed no hesitation with a quick release and first step, relying on his three-point shot and floaters to rack up 19 points in 16:23 by halftime. He hit 4-of-5 threes in the first half and swished a floater from beyond the free throw line to end the first quarter. Health is the biggest concern for him, as he averaged 33 games the past three seasons due to various injuries. For one night, he looked exactly like the Wizards want him to look: quick and assertive with the ball.

The replacements: The most important objective for the Wizards this preseason is figuring out how to sub for Markieff Morris while he is out recovering from sports hernia surgery. Jason Smith got the start alongside Gortat at the four and immediately knocked down a three. He also had a nice block on Tyler Hansbrough, the one recognizable name on the Long-Lions. 

Chris McCullough (14 points) showed flashes, going above the rim to snatch rebounds and throw down dunks. He came to life offensively in the fourth quarter, with a 20-foot jumper and a pair of two-handed dunks assisted by Sheldon Mac. He later powered home an alley-oop set up by Donald Sloan. McCullough also gambled and lost on defense on a few plays, but overall had a nice night. 

Mike Scott didn't play at all in the first half. He then started the second half and had some moments, including a nice dish to Mac for an open three in the third quarter. Scott had six points of his own in the third quarter.

Mac made some noise: Speaking of Mac, he had a nice night overall with 13 points. After not playing at all in the first half, he was a focus of their offense in the second half. He got into the lane with easy, finishing once with a wide open, two-handed slam. Mac looked comfortable firing from long range and handling the ball. His roster spot could be threatened by Sloan and Carrick Felix, so it was an encouraging start for Mac, who finished with 13 points. Mac also pulled off an impressive feat: he fouled out despite not playing in the first two quarters.

Up next: The Wizards play their first preseason game against an NBA team on Friday night, again at home. They will host Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks.

Quick Links

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.


Quick Links

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.