Key for any summer league success often lies with those running the offense. Thats a tricky task regardless of a point guards experience considering rosters are a collection of random players thrown together for a short time. When the job falls on a player still learning the position and another adjusting to a new league and culture, the degree of difficulty is even higher. Welcome to the Wizards scenario with Shelvin Mack and Czech rookie Tomas Satoransky.Its a learning process for them, its a learning process, Cassell said. Mack, hoping to show enough point guard savvy to keep the team from adding another one this offseason, finished with nine points, three assists and three steals in 28 minutes. Beyond the stats, the former Butler star seemed stuck trying to play floor general and in turn, his offense stagnated, as passer, dribbler and shooter. Even after beating his original defender, Mack struggled getting all the way to the rim for shot. He missed 4 of 5 inside the 3-point line, but made 2 of 5 beyond it.I dont think Shelvin from last year never really had a long stint at the point guard position. This year hes going to have to do that in order to be good on this team. Hell be fine; first game jitters, theyre out the way, theyre out the window now. We got spanked today, but tomorrow well have a better effort and a better showing.As for Satoransky, the 6-foot-7 combo guard played 15 minutes off the bench and had four points, two assists and three turnovers.Its all new for him, Cassell said of the 20-year-old rookie. Now hes playing with the best players in the world now. So its all new to him. Hell be fine, I just want him to stay aggressive. Make mistakes, just make them aggressive.The final box score showed the Wizards on the wrong end of a 30-27 rebounding battle and both teams grabbing 10 of their own misses.To those involved, it seemed more decisive."We just got beat on the boards today, we got man-handled today," Cassell said.Part of the disconnect comes from when the boards occurred. Many of the Rockets rebounds, especially off the offensiveglass,led to big runs.It was the offensive rebounds. I say they were inthe 20's,"said the miscalculating Singleton, who led the Wizards with eight rebounds"I say they were in the 20s. Offensive rebounds, it was ridiculous. Their big man were just outhustling our big men. We didnt rebound collectively."As I quipped immediately after the game, Jan Vesely performance was of the bizarre world type. Brutal on any shots outside of dunks and layups last season, the 6-foot-11 forward knocked down his first three perimeter attempts and looked comfortable doing so, though his attempt at four consecutive ended with the ball getting stuck between the rim and backboard.However, the player with a penchant for soaring high and then slamming balls home oddly missed multiple dunk attempts.Ive never seen Vesely miss three or four dunks, Cassell said. I told him earlier today, miss em during the summertime, dont miss em during the wintertime.Also rarely seen, a player fouling out despite the summer leagues 10-foul limit. Vesely reached that mark in the fourth quarter, leading many in the non-partisan crowd to rise for a standing ovation.
Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.
Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.
1st quarter highlights: there was only one pic.twitter.com/vu1ir7AYDV— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) February 19, 2018
In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.
Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range.
Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:
Bradley Beal’s 1st All Star game. pic.twitter.com/NDpbG8FVV6— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) February 19, 2018
Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.
Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.
Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:
John Wall in his All-Star suit and of course some shades. pic.twitter.com/NxTaXZwwu6— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) February 19, 2018
The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...
*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch.
Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.
*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.
Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:
Ok here we go. Embiid vs. Russ beef Round 3. Westbrook dares Jojo to shoot, tries to get him back at other end, snatched. pic.twitter.com/JnRwYraCiL— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 19, 2018
*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:
Kyrie Irving with a fake behind the back dribble. Super smooth. pic.twitter.com/Ofjhtw6ZDx— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) February 19, 2018
*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.
This was one of his dunks:
LeBron with the most hops of any 33-year-old on earth pic.twitter.com/i4FCcZaxkZ— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 19, 2018
LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.
*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.
*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.'
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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:
Everyone watching this NBA All-Star game opening segment like pic.twitter.com/wgEIvvKM4s— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) February 19, 2018
I know the M.O. of the NBA All-Star game is to not try...but this Rob Riggle/Kevin Hart sketch is taking things to another level.— Cousin Sal (@TheCousinSal) February 19, 2018
When Kevin Hart tries to roast you during allstar intros pic.twitter.com/ETSEte7zY2— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) February 19, 2018
Kevin Hart could trip over his hoodie strings pic.twitter.com/jOwWYWiMXj— Colleen Wolfe (@ColleenWolfeNFL) February 19, 2018
people, we have empowered kevin hart for far too long.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 19, 2018
this must stop.
THE NBA: “We want the players to take this game more seriously.”— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) February 19, 2018
ALSO THE NBA: “Here’s a really long skit with Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle to kick things off.”
We can now stop complaining about the 2018 NBA All-Star Game pre-show, and begin complaining about the 2018 NBA All-Star Game— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) February 19, 2018
The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.