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Wizards pay back Pacers 118-104: Five takeaways

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Wizards pay back Pacers 118-104: Five takeaways

Bradley Beal walked to the bench at the end of the third quarter flexing his muscles at BankersLife Fieldhouse. The Wizards did it almost from start to finish in a blowout win to atone for one of their worst losses with a 118-104 victory Friday.

The win moved the Wizards (19-19) back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 25 and matched their season-high win streak with four in a row.

John Wall (28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) led five players in double figures, followed by Bradley Beal (22 points, five rebounds), Gary Neal (12 points), DeJuan Blair (12 points, six rebounds, two steals) and Ramon Sessions (10 points, five assists, two steals).

Paul George (21 points) and George Hill (19 points) led Indiana (22-18).

The Wizards exploded for a 35-point second quarter to break open a close game and lead by double digits the rest of the way. Wall was the only starter to score in double figures, with Nene (eight points, eight rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (seven points, four rebounds) being the closest. Drew Gooden (eight points, four rebounds) was efficient in 17 minutes.

Otto Porter (right hip) didn't play as Oubre made his sixth start as a rookie.

  • The Nene effect is real. For the third game in a row as the starter, he has produced and his presence alone improves their rebounding even if he's not getting any credit for it. The Wizards had season highs in total rebounds (54) and offensive rebounds (17). No one had more than eight rebounds and five of them had at least six. 

  • The extra pass is being made and with Beal on the floor he's the recipient of nothing but clean looks. Wall had a wide-open look on the pass out from Nene, pump-faked, sent it to Beal in the corner for a three. Then it was Wall to Nene inside and out to Beal for another corner 3. The score was 107-89 at that point. But it was about more than threes. Instead of moving laterally, pounding the ball and running out the clock, Beal put pressure on the defense with his dribble, attacked the rim and hit pull-ups as he banked in runners off the glass when Wall was off the floor. With Lavoy Allen on him, Beal isolated the mismatch, broke him down and knocked down a floater from the baseline. Coming off the bench to control his minutes (22) gives the Wizards another shot creator with the second unit, and based on the way this has started there's no reason to change anything for the sake of change.  

  • Quietly, Blair has come on in spot duty as the backup to Nene with Marcin Gortat (left knee) out. Blair has shot 11 of 17 in the last three games and did a good job with moving the ball to find open cutters. Last season, Blair wouldn't have been able to make the spin move he put on Ian Mahinmi to get to the rim for a layup. Coach Randy Wittman has opted for small lineups when the Wizards have been thin in the middle, but against the Pacers he wisely went with Blair instead.

  • George and C.J. Miles made 15 of 17 three-pointers in a Nov. 24 win at Verizon Center. In that game, Kris Humphries, who missed this game with a sore right knee, was lost in space matching up with Miles. Jared Dudley started in this one and Miles was a non-factor. He combined with George to shoot 1 of 9 from three, 42 points less. As shooting goes, that game was an aberration. The Wizards' roster top to bottom is better and should win this matchup more than they lose.

  • Garrett Temple went down with a strained right shoulder but returned and made his only shot of the game -- a three-pointer -- to push the lead to 44-31 as the Wizards created separation. Temple's ball pressure and harassment of the Pacers on the perimeter was key to their offense never getting on track. He also fought George for every inch, drawing an offensive foul on him while fronting the mid-post. George, an early-season MVP candidate, missed 13 of 19 shots.

MORE WIZARDS: Gortat confirms he's close to returning to Wizards

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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