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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Blazers

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Blazers

Almost a year later, the narrative has flipped. Hardly anyone is suggesting Damian Lillard is a better point guard than John Wall anymore. It’s because the Wizards are now two games over .500 for the first time in their most dominant defensive performance for four quarters in a long time in Monday’s 120-101 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers.

It’s Washington’s 12th consecutive win at Verizon Center, where they are 17-6 and has a distinct home court advantage that was absent during a 41-41 disappointment last season. The Blazers came here on MLK day on Jan. 16, 2015 and blew the doors off in a 108-98 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final margin might indicate.

Wall (24 points, 7 assists) and Bradley Beal (25 points) dominated. Beal set a game-high on just 11 shots to lead all scorers. Markieff Morris (17 points, 13 rebounds) was a force as well, and Kelly Oubre (18 points) and Tomas Satoransky (10 points, 10 rebounds) came off the bench to round out the effort.

Marcin Gortat (6 points, 6 rebounds) had trouble finishing at the rim which was why he shot just 3-for-9 but the Blazers gambled off him and paid for it.

Between the end of the first quarter and the start of the second — with mostly reserves on the floor — the Wizards went on a 17-0 run to put away Portland (18-25) early.

Lillard (22 points) led the Blazers but didn’t have much help otherwise. He combined with C.J. McCollum for 41 in that blowout a year ago.

-- Unlike in the fourth quarter of the blowout vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, Wall and Beal had to re-enter briefly at 7:28 left when Portland trimmed the deficit to 105-87. He scored his two second-half points off foul shots, Wall drained a three and then gave up the ball to Beal for a breakaway dunk to force a stoppage at 4:39. Both left the floor up 114-92 and didn’t return and both teams emptied their benches.

--The aggression defensively that has only appeared for a quarter or a half was there the entire game. The Wizards blew up the dribble-handoffs and dribble-pitch exchanges to get the Blazers out of sync. Eight of their 15 turnovers came in the first quarter. Gortat helped with containment to keep Lillard and McCollum from getting to the rim.

--Morris was one point shy of a double-double at halftime. He has three after Monday after coming up one rebound short in the previous two games. It wasn’t just his rebounding but his effort to contest shooters that contributed to a defense that kept Portland to 42 percent shooting.

--Satoransky had his first true breakout game, with eight points in his first eight minutes. He made all three of his shots, including his first three-pointer since Nov. 21. Satornasky played 21 minutes against the Sixers in the last game and 19 Monday.

--McCollum picked up his third foul at 6:34 of the second quarter to knock him further out of rhythm following a 2-for-7 start from the floor. Beal kept the pressure on and made him defend to get him into foul trouble, keeping his dribble alive even when faced with a second defender to create. He had 21 first-half points on 6-for-8 shooting. He also was 6-for-6 from the line.

--After leaving the last game with a right hip strain for the second time this season, Otto Porter (12 points) played 30 minutes and made a three-pointer to end the first half for a 75-50 lead. 

[RELATED: Wizards head coach Scott Brooks shares thoughts on MLK]

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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.

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.

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

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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