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Revenge was on the mind for LeBron James against Wizards

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Revenge was on the mind for LeBron James against Wizards

LeBron James didn't bother playing it cool when talk of revenge came up following the Cleveland Cavaliers' 121-115 win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night. The Wizards thumped his side last month in Cleveland. There would be a reckoning in the rematch.

"It was in the front of our mind," James said shortly after scoring a game-high 34 points. "We know what they did to us. We just wanted to try to get some give back."

The 97-85 loss on Dec. 1 wasn't filled with offensive flair by anyone other than Wizards guard John Wall. Seemingly every player found a rhythm at times during the high-scoring meeting at Verizon Center. James certainly did in the third quarter with four 3-pointers in the opening three minutes. That barrage helped turn a 62-50 halftime lead into a 73-55 blowout in the making. 

Except the blowout never happened. The small-ball Wizards ripped one 3-pointer after another, finishing 8 of 11 in the quarter and 14 of 24 overall. When Ramon Sessions' dunk ties the game 95-95 with 10:53 remaining, all the momentum was with Washington.

Except nobody told the Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving hit consecutive highlight worthy layups en route to scoring the game's next 10 points and 32 overall. Washington went scoreless for the next 4:07. This time, the Eastern Conference leading Cavaliers stayed firm.

“We had to get some timely stops," said James, who also had 10 rebounds and four assists. "They were shooting the heck out of the ball tonight. They had it moving all over the floor tonight. They’ve been playing small-ball a lot and they put us in a lot of tough situations defensively. But it was just our composure, we’re a team that’s finally getting into our groove, where we have guys on the floor who have been together for long periods of time.”

Having their primary players back helped against Wall, who scored 35 points in the win at Cleveland against the Irving-less Cavaliers. That version didn't show in the first half. Wall went 1 of 9 from the field with six of his seven turnovers. Though he scored 18 points - 20 overall - and made all four of his 3-point attempts in the second half, the Cavaliers kept the speedster from dominating the game in the open court.

"You’ve got to get back in transition. You have to build a wall against Wall," James said. "You let him play in an open court, one-on-one, he’s too fast and too strong, and he’s gonna put your defense at bay and he did that all night long and our first game up in Cleveland. He was hitting his outside shots tonight, but we just had to try and keep him out of transition, and we were able to do that to John just enough.”

Except with James, Irving and J.R. Smith each scoring at least 25 points, the Cavaliers also had plenty of offense. In this game, revenge wasn't served cold, but instead with a hot shooting touch. 

"LeBron got on a little three-point tear," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "You kinda like to see him standing out there instead of doing what he can do going to the basket and posting up, but he goes 4-for-9."

Cleveland ran its winning streak to five games. Washington has dropped four of five. We'll see who is hot or cold when the teams meet next Feb. 28 in Chinatown.

[RELATED: Redskins players turn out for Wizards-Cavaliers]

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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