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Bradley Beal has another statement game in his quest for first All-Star bid

Bradley Beal has another statement game in his quest for first All-Star bid

At Saturday's Wizards practice and before Sunday's game against the Bulls, shooting guard Bradley Beal sported black tape on the back of his right arm, from his tricep down past his elbow. He told NBC Sports Washington on Saturday that his arm was sore from taking too many shots after practice. With his three-point percentage on the season far lower than he expects it to be, Beal is determined to snap out of it and feel like himself again.

On Sunday against the Bulls, Beal may have had a breakthrough. The Big Panda dropped in seven threes to match a career-high as part of a 39-point statement game, the type of performance that bolsters an All-Star résumé.

"I might have games where I don’t might make any, and games where I make seven, and games where I make two. That doesn’t change my confidence," Beal said. "I continue to shoot the same way, with the same mechanics, and the same mentality. I believe that every shot is going to go in. I was happy and fortunate that they were falling tonight.”

Beal, who has yet to make an All-Star team through five-plus NBA seasons, may be well on his way to earning the honor. Not only did he flirt with 40 points, Beal grabbed nine rebounds, dished nine assists and grabbed two steals.

RELATED: HOW TO VOTE FOR NBA ALL-STARS

Beal's improved versatility is a big reason why teammate John Wall said earlier this month he believes Beal should be a lock to play in the All-Star Game this February in Los Angeles. His head coach Scott Brooks agrees.

"Brad’s an All-Star," Brooks said. "I thought he was an All-Star last year, he led us in a lot of different games and [averaged] 23 points. It’s not just the 23 points, it’s the defensive play that he does, it’s the passing. We’re very blessed, we have two guys in the backcourt that are All-Stars."

Beal is shooting just 36.5 percent from the perimeter this season, well below his 40.4 clip last season and his 39.5 career percentage. But he has now shot 50 percent or higher on threes in two straight games for the first time this season.

Beal is finding consistency on the offensive end in general with 20 points or more in four straight games. It was easy to see why on Sunday, as he consistently made the Bulls pay no matter how they defended him. Beal got points on dunks driving to the rim and on an array of stepback jumpers, in addition to his threes.

RELATED: WALL AND BEAL ENTER ALL-STAR RACE WITH GOOD ODDS

The only thing he didn't do was knock down his free throws. Beal had two attempts with 9.1 seconds left when the Wizards were up by two points, an opportunity to seal the game, and missed both of them. The Wizards still won, but Beal could only shake his head looking back.

"I’m a little upset about this game though," Beal said. "I missed [both] free-throws, I could have had one assist and one more rebound."

Beal has had several big games this season, the kind that stand out to those who vote for the All-Star Game. There was his 51-point masterpiece against the Blazers, his 40 points against the Suns and his 38 points in a win at the Raptors when Wall was out. Add this one to the list.

But most importantly, the Wizards are starting to take off as a team. They are 7-3 since Wall returned, their best 10-game stretch of the season so far.

"It’s all about winning games and if you win games and you play for each other, individual awards come," Brooks said. "If you focus on that, you’re focused on the wrong things. I’ve talked to Brad many, many times and he has not mentioned All-Star to me.”

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

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USA Today Sports Images

5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 104-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday afternoon...

1. John Wall came out swinging in the first half with 22 points, 16 of them in the first quarter alone. 

This was one of his best plays. Wall split two defenders and then flipped it in off the glass:

Wall finished with 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. 

2. Kelly Oubre, Jr. led the Wizards' bench with 19 points, five rebounds and a block. He missed on this play, but nearly dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo. That would have been something:

[PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE]

3. Oubre did get this one to go down. He popped a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter:

4. Wall had some nice passes including this alley-oop lob to Tomas Satoransky. Sato got way up there:

Satoransky also threw down this alley-oop pass earlier thrown by Bradley Beal:

5. This last play was by the Bucks and it was not something you see every day. Antetokounmpo fired an assist through his legs like a longsnapper:

The Wizards lost a close one. Now they head to Charlotte to begin a five-game road trip.

[PODCAST: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER]

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On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

John Wall spoke at length over the summer about race relations in the United States following the violence in Charlottesville in August orchestrated by white supremacists.

Following the Wizards' game against the Bucks on Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, Wall was asked about the subject again.

Wall does not believe improvements have made in the last few months with President Donald Trump in office and he wonders how King would react if he were alive to see the current state of America.

"I think he still wouldn't be satisfied. We're still dealing with it. I think it got better for a little period of time, but with the new president we have I think things are going backwards. We've been dealing with it the last couple of years. There are some things we still need to figure out," Wall said.

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

The Wizards play on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day every year and Wizards players cherish the tradition. It is not lost on Wall that he plays in Washington, D.C. where King made his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech and led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“That’s just an honor and a blessing," Wall said.

"We are all still sticking to what he had with this dream, and we are just trying to get everything to be right with it. To be able to play in this city is an honor."

RELATED: WHO IS WINNING THE NBA MVP RACE?

Wall says he tries to embody King's dream in his own life. King helped lead the civil rights movement that paved the way for equal rights and Wall, an African-American, has much to thank for those who fought. Every American does.

Wall says he wants to make King proud.

“I just hope that he appreciates what I’m doing. I’m doing myself very well. I hope he’s thankful for what I’m doing. I’m striving to be a better African-American athlete, and just as a person first of all – I think that’s the most important thing," he said.

MORE WIZARDS: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS GROWTH AS A LEADER