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Takeaways from Wizards running out of gas in loss to Cavaliers

Takeaways from Wizards running out of gas in loss to Cavaliers

Not having Bradley Beal matters. The Wizards were short-handed vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, and while John Wall carried the weight of the offense early they didn't have enough firepower in a 105-94 loss.

Wall (28 points) only had three assists, but 23 of his points came in the first two quarters. Markieff Morris (20 points) and Otto Porter (11 points, 8 rebounds) trailed Wall.

Cleveland (7-1) was led by LeBron James (27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists), Kyrie Irving (29 points, 6 assists) and Kevin Love (14 points, 16 rebounds). 

  • Wall took 17 shots by halftime and scored 23 points by making 11 of them. That was good for the Wizards, but on the downside he wasn’t able to get many of his teammates involved in the offense. Marcin Gortat and Marcus Thornton, who started in place of Beal (right thigh), were scoreless at the break. The Cavs went under every screen-roll between Wall and Gortat and gave him the elbow jumper. He made it at a high rate but they were able to take others out of the offense. In the second half, the Wizards didn't run as much pick-and-roll which is their bread and butter.
     
  • After not playing in the last game, Kelly Oubre was the primary spark off the bench in the first half. He played 10 minutes and was 4-for-4. Because of his length and defensive upside, his 7-2 wingspan was needed to help cover a floor James and so many shooters. He even spent time on the court simultaneously with Porter and got over the top of Love to deflect a pass to the low post that produced a transition dunk for Oubre, too.
     
  • The Cavs are among the best teams in the league at protecting the ball, but they had five turnovers in the first seven minutes as the Wizards got out to a lead that grew to 12 by the second quarter. Three-point shooting (7-for-15) and only committing five more entering the fourth quarter which they entered leading 84-75.
     
  • Against a fast-paced offense, Andrew Nicholson isn’t getting time in the rotation. Nicholson didn’t get off the bench at all and only has played 31 total minutes in the previous four games. Oubre took those minutes and Jason Smith as the low post big off the bench.
     
  • Gortat wasn’t able to fully take advantage of his matchup with Love, the weakest frontline defender for Cleveland. Instead they cross-matched because Tristan Thompson’s defense was more valuable on Morris. Gortat didn’t get his first field goal until a dunk 8:44 into the third quarter. A better adjustment, which Brooks didn't make, likely would've been shifting Morris to the five spot in place or Gortat, with Porter as the stretch four and Oubre at the three. That would've forced Cavs coach Ty Lue to either pull Love or have him match up with Porter or Morris who could've attacked his feet. If he chose to go with Thompson instead, that at least takes an offensive weapon off the floor. 
     
  • Sheldon McClellan played his most significant minutes of the season, starting the fourth quarter and he made his first shot. Going forward, with Wall sitting vs. the Chicago Bulls on Saturday and Beal possibly still out, he'll likely be the first rookie called to contribute off the bench. Danuel House was active for the first time this season.

[RELATED: Wall promises to be 'better leader']

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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

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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