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As All-Star voting begins, John Wall says Bradley Beal should be a lock

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USA Today Sports

As All-Star voting begins, John Wall says Bradley Beal should be a lock

Voting for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game begins this afternoon and Wizards guard John Wall has a player in mind he would like to see get the nod, in addition to himself of course.

Wall believes teammate Bradley Beal should head to Los Angeles this February as a first-time All-Star.

"I think he should be a lock, in my opinion. He had a 50-something point game. He had 85 points in back-to-back games," Wall said on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"It easily should put him as a lock. I think he should have been a lock last year. But he definitely should be a lock this year. He's doing everything to help our team win when I was out [injured]. Even when I was playing, he was still playing well and shooting the ball at a high clip for us. I think he should be."

Wall, 27, has made the All-Star team four times in his career and this past season made All-NBA for the first time. The only accolade Beal has earned so far through six NBA seasons is a spot on the All-Rookie team.

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This season Beal is averaging 23.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Wall thinks those numbers are worthy of recognition.

"He's always been a guy that can score, but now he's doing everything to help our team even more," Wall said. "Not even just his rebounding, him being able to pass and find guys and get his assists up, and also get steals and do the little things that matter; that should solidify him as an All-Star."

Wall sees an evolution in Beal that reminds him of his own path to becoming an All-Star. 

"Same way I had to expand [my game]," he said. "When a guy is just scoring, people are like, 'Ok he is just scoring and not doing other things.' Everyone was like KD [Kevin Durant] can't win MVP because he can't do other things but then he started rebounding, started adding assists and started blocking shots. That makes Brad more of a tough player. He is willing to except the double team. That [deserves] a lot of credit and means you are great player in this league."

[PODCAST: JOHN WALL GOES 1-ON-1]

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks made sure to caution his endorsement of Beal as an All-Star with reminders that the team's success is more important. But he did say specifically that he thinks Beal should be going to L.A.

"We have two All-Stars in my mind," he said, referring to Beal and Wall. "I thought [Beal] played like one last year and obviously to me he's playing like one this year."

The All-Star Game will have a new format this season with the players receiving the most fan votes in each conference serving as captains and picking teams. There is no more East vs. West.

That, however, does not change the odds for Beal or any other Wizards players to make it. There will still be 12 players from each conference chosen.

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The guard position will be a crowded mix per usual with Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan and Wall among the headliners in the East. Ben Simmons will likely get plenty of votes. Victor Oladipo of the Pacers is also having a breakout season, one that Wall thinks has been worthy of an All-Star nod.

"I think he should be in there with Brad as a first [time] newcomer," Wall said. "Nobody expected the Pacers to be any good after they traded away Paul George."

Early All-Star voting on NBA.com and the NBA's app begins Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. Then, on Dec. 25 at 11 a.m., voting opens up on all channels including with social media hashtags. Fan voting ends on Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

To vote for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, click here.

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making plays and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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