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Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Boston Celtics in Game 4

Takeaways from Wizards' blowout win over Boston Celtics in Game 4

In Game 3, it was a 22-0 run that sealed the Boston Celtics’ fate in the first quarter. Sunday, it was 26-0 run in the third quarter of Game 4 as the Wizards drew even in the East semifinals the moment John Wall came alive.

Wall (27 points, 12 assists, five steals) missed his first nine shots before he caught fire to score 12 of their final 18 points before halftime to erase a 12-point deficit and inspire another surge in a 121-102 victory in Game 4. The series is tied 2-2 with the pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Otto Porter (18 points, eight rebounds, four steals) was the early offense for Washington as he scored 10 of his points in the first quarter. Bradley Beal (29 points) started slow but began to find his shot and Markieff Morris (16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals) continued to be a matchup nightmare for Boston.

The Wizards’ defense suffocated Isaiah Thomas (19 points, six turnovers) after a hot start in which he made all three of this three-pointers in the first quarter. But they kept him away from the rim and forced others to make shots and for the second game in a row the Celtics failed.

Jae Crowder (six points) shot just 2-for-9, Avery Bradley (five points) was 2-for-9 and Marcus Smart (nine points) shot 2-for-7.

The score was tied 48-48 at halftime and Amir Johnson (seven points) had a personal 5-0 burst to put the Celtics on top. Then for the next 6:30, the Celtics went without a point as the Wizards blew the game open by forcing nine turnovers – five by Thomas -- and just 5-for-16 shooting.

Three of the Wizards starters, Wall, Beal and Morris, scored in double figures in the third quarter alone, accounting for 34 of their 42 points.

The Wizards are 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

[RELATED: Ted, Zach Leonsis wear Oubre jerseys to Game 4]

--After an offensive foul on Kelly Olynyk (14 points), chants of “Kelly Oubre” took over the arena. It was Oubre’s confrontation in Game 3 that led to his ejection and receiving a one-game suspension. Oubre will be back for Game 5.

--Thomas was used as a screener to get Crowder and Johnson uncontested layups. That’s how they got out to an early lead as the Wizards were so concerned with jumping the return pass to the guard that they forgot about the big slipping to the rim. But the ball pressure eventually caused Thomas to break. Marcin Gortat (six points, seven rebounds) was key in staying big in the middle and making the 5-foot-9 point guard finish over size. And the officials didn’t reward Thomas with whistles for jumping into bigs to get whistles. Thomas didn’t attempt a foul shot.

--The Wizards’ biggest edge statistically has been with rebounding. They were 38-38 in a Game 1 loss, had just a 44-41 edge in a Game 2 loss but were 50-38 in a Game 3 win. They were 45-31 in their second win in a row Sunday.

--Johnson was back in the starting lineup for Boston while Gerald Green, who started Game 3, didn’t play until the score was lopsided and coach Brad Stevens was desperate for answers. Johnson was a liability whether it was on the offensive end or trying to be the help big switching onto Wall on the pick-and-roll. It’s the biggest trouble spot for Boston, because of they go to three guards with Green or Smart they’re too small vs. Morris and he’s good enough defensively to stay in front of them away from the rim. If they go with Johnson, Morris can take him from the rim, face him up and beat him to his spots or get his in the post. Against Smart, he’ll post and get easy looks.

--Morris is unaccounted for when he pops to the arc for three-point looks. The Celtics kept giving him the looks and if he’s able to knock them down, they’re going to have trouble winning. Morris was just 2-for-4 but that’s good enough. Because they’re undersized in the middle, Boston commits bodies to contend with Gortat in the middle. They picked their poison, just as the Wizards have done with taking away Thomas and forcing other shooters to beat them.

--Thomas picked up a technical foul at 6:38 of the fourth quarter after being called for a foul on Beal. It was the only one of the game after the teams combined for eight in Game 3.

--Tomas Satoransky (five points) got the call with Oubre out to defend Thomas and did a credible job denying him the ball. He also made his only shot. Bojan Bogdanovic (13 points) had his second strong performance in a rowas he led the reserves. Ian Mahinmi (three assists) didn’t score but found cutters under the basket for layups. He played 13 minutes, three more than he did in Game 3 as he works his way back from a left calf strain.

[RELATED: Wall pulls off ridiculous spin move in Game 4]

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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