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Wizards unravel vs. Nuggets to end road trip winless: Five takeaways

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Wizards unravel vs. Nuggets to end road trip winless: Five takeaways

After losing the first game of this three-game trip to the Portland Trail Blazers and the Wizards hanging on for dear life for a playoff berth, John Wall called the final two must-wins. Saturday, they completed their free fall by losing all three with a 116-100 defeat to the Denver Nuggets.

The Wizards (30-35) led 76-65 on Marcus Thornton's jumper with 2:08 left in the third quarter and then were outscored by the Nuggets --  all second- and third-unit players -- 41-17 in the fourth.

Jusuf Nurkic (17 points), Darrell Arthur (17 points) and D.J. Augustin (17 points) combined to score 25 points in the fourth and the Wizards lost for the fifth time in a row. Will Barton (14 points) and Axel Toupane (eight points) scored the other 16.

Otto Porter (23 points, five steals) scored as much as he did in the previous four games and John Wall (19 points, 11 assists) had his 38th double-double. Other than Garrett Temple (12 points) and J.J. Hickson (10 points) was their only other offense.

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Denver's bench was responsible for 75 points.

  • The inability to defend the high pick-and-roll hurt them for the second game in a row as the Wizards couldn't contain Augustin and Nurkic. The big, be it Nene (five points) or Markieff Morris (eight points) in the fourth quarter, was sagging too deep and caught in no man's land, not forcing Denver's hand by taking away the ball-handler and his passing lane or the big diving to the rim. This was almost a carbon copy of what happened on Friday at the Utah Jazz.

  • For the second game in a row, Marcin Gortat was rendered ineffective by foul trouble. He had three by 6:34 of the second quarter. Less than two minutes into the third, pressuring Nikola Jokic (no points) at the three-point arc, Gortat picked up his fourth on a cheap reach-in. The ball pressure to make the pass difficult was the right idea but the 6-10 center isn't a three-point shooter. As a result, Gortat played just eight minutes (two points, two rebounds).

  • Temple came out of the gates shooting well, but his ball pressure on Emmanuel Mudiay (10 points, four assists) had a lot to do with his lack of productivity. When the Wizards went on their run in the third quarter to go up by double digits, Temple was locked in, fighting through a series of three screens to force him into a missed three-pointer. Temple interrupted dribble handoffs between Kenneth Faried (10 points, five rebounds) and Mudiay as well. Jokic picked up an offensive foul pushing Temple as he fought though his screen. 

  • Denver had 16 turnovers in the first half alone but still led 52-50 at halftime, an indication of how the Wizards were unable to truly maximize the extra chances. 

  • Bradley Beal, who joined the team after Tuesday's game in Portland, didn't play on the trip. He received treatment in D.C. after a nasty spill led to a pelvic sprain and has maintained that regimen but there was an anticipation that he could possibly play. Alan Anderson didn't play because he has yet to suit up in back-to-backs since his left ankle surgery.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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