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Wiz seek solution for consistently inconsistent performances

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Wiz seek solution for consistently inconsistent performances

Game to game, half to half, quarter to quarter. Pick a time frame and the issue remains the same: We don't know what we'll see from the Washington Wizards.

“I don’t know. If I find the answer I’ll let you know," center Marcin Gortat said to reporters about the lack of consistency following Monday's 112-95 loss at Memphis.

There have been slow starts, a key factor in last Wednesday's 109-103 home loss to the Houston Rockets. We've witnessed strong performances from the opening tipoff to the final buzzer with the road victory over Miami on Dec. 7 a prime example. The mid-game surge against the Mavericks fueled Saturday's 114-111 win, but a fourth quarter collapse nearly put the kibosh on downing Dallas. There are surprise wins like the triumph in Cleveland -- and brutal losses like the setback to a two-win Los Angeles Lakers team at home. The Wizards haven't won multiple games in a row since a three-game winning streak from Nov. 14-21.

RELATED: The case for Wizards bringing Beal off the bench

Then we have the recent game at Memphis. Other than Gary Neal's 24 points and a brief fourth quarter surge, this loss stood out because so little worked and that it came right after earning a rare road win in Dallas. Washington never led over the final three quarters and had only 60 points entering the fourth quarter. On the other end, the Grizzlies, one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, sank 10 of 15 from beyond the arc.

The search for a consistent fix continues.

"I have no idea," Gortat continued. "It’s not like we come out there and we don’t want to play basketball. You know we all want to play basketball. We are all taking the same shots that we take every day in practice or in a game and sometimes they just don’t go in."

Head coach Randy Wittman focused on the defensive side.

"Until we get a commitment to defend...we’re going to be on this roller coaster," he said. Right now we get satisfied with one win. Right now our mindset is to try to outscore people. Our team isn’t made that way. I don’t have enough scorers to say we’re going to go out and not care what they do, we’re going to outscore them. ... Right now, it was an embarrassment from a defensive standpoint.”

Next up for the Wizards, a road game against a team embarrassing plenty of opponents lately. That would be the 21-5 San Antonio Spurs, who have outscored opponents by an average of 28 points during their current three-game winning streak. Tim Duncan and company won't be overlooking the 10-13 Wizards. Quite the opposite seeing as Washington handed San Antonio one of those five losses with a 102-99 victory on Nov. 4

Bradley Beal's last second 3-pointer dumped the Duncan's that night, but the injured guard won't play in Wednesday's matchup. Those that do must put forth an energetic and smart effort to have any shot at winning. No matter the result in San Antonio, finding consistency of a positive nature over the remaining 50-plus games would be the best result of all.

MORE WIZARDS: Grizzlies grind out Wizards 112-95: Five takeaways

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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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