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John Wall's return vs. Grizzlies shows exactly what the Wizards were missing

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John Wall's return vs. Grizzlies shows exactly what the Wizards were missing

Prior to John Wall's return after missing nine games on Wednesday night, head coach Scott Brooks remarked how he's often amazed at Wall's ability to regain his form quickly after sitting out. In his experience, many of the great ones can do that. It took Wall a quarter against the Grizzlies, but he didn't take long to back up that claim.

Wall erupted for nine points in the second quarter and by the end of the game served many reminders of why he is the straw that stirs the Wizards' drink. Even after two knee procedures and the rust of almost three weeks off, Wall rocketed past opponents to the rim with ease. Though he had just four assists, not even half of his season average, Wall's ability to penetrate opened up opportunities for everyone else.

All five Wizards starters reached double figures, including Wall who had 14. Despite amassing just 93 points as a team, the Wizards earned a win over the Grizzlies and showed potential to be the well-rounded offense we have grown accustomed to in recent years.

"I think it was cool," Wall said of his knee and his first game back. "We got the win, so that was key."

[PODCAST: DREW GOODEN TALKS WIZARDS, BROADCASTING]

Wall's nine-point second quarter included several quick drives to the rim, one that ended with an emphatic left-handed slam, his favorite way to finish.

Wall also hit a three in that frame and swiped a steal. His best play may have been a block on Chandler Parsons in the fourth quarter. Wall crossed the paint to stuff Parsons, who is four inches taller than him, off the backboard.

[RELATED: WIZARDS REVEAL NAME, LOGOS FOR PRO NBA 2K18 TEAM]

Overall, Wall didn't appear limited at all by his left knee, which was administered platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections on Nov. 25.

"When I come off an injury, I do not think about it," he said. "If I am going to be out there thinking about it then that means I do not need to be out there playing because I am limiting what I can do thinking about that too much, and it is hurting my teammates, so I just go out there and play basketball and try not to think about it at all.”

Having Wall back in the lineup was of course appreciated by his teammates and Coach Brooks as well.

"He gave us a boost," Brooks said. "He made some amazing plays, blocked shots like I've never seen a point guard do ever and he makes it look easy."

There was plenty not to like about the Wizards' performance on Wednesday night, even though it resulted in a win. They coughed up a 17-point lead to a terrible Grizzlies team and only won by six points. But having Wall back is a huge step towards them getting past their recent woes and becoming the team they know they can be.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]

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Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris and the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT DETROIT PISTONS

Where: Little Caesars Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington Plus (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Will Brooks make adjustments?

The Wizards suffered another tough loss on Wednesday night, a blowout defeat in Charlotte to a Hornets team that is currently well outside the playoff picture. It was a loss so bad that afterwards head coach Scott Brooks said he would "change some things." Guard Bradley Beal said after the game that he believes Brooks is serious, that changes will be made.

We didn't get any specifics, but they likely mean an adjustment to the rotation. A starter could be benched or pieces could be moved in the second unit. Brooks could of course change nothing at all. We will see what he meant on Friday night.

PODCAST: SHOULD THE WIZARDS MAKE A TRADE OR BENCH A STARTER?

Oubre is killing it

The Wizards are waiting for Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to get going, but backup forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. has been on quite the tear. In his last six games he's reached double digits in points with averages of 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 55.3 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three. Over his last 13 games, Oubre is shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Oubre, in fact, has been the Wizards' third-leading scorer since Thanksgiving, a stretch of 27 games. That's a big sample size and further evidence that Oubre has developed into much more than a bench player. He is a starter-level player coming off the bench. 

PODCAST: MIDSEASON AWARDS FOR MVP, BEST WIN AND MORE

Pistons are banged up

The Pistons were one of the NBA's biggest surprises early this season as they jumped out to a strong start and looked like legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. But since they have fallen hard back down to Earth and currently sit ninth in the East and outside of the playoff picture. Detroit has lost three straight games and six of their past eight. 

Injuries have helped contribute to their recent slide. Defensive stopper Avery Bradley is dealing with a sore groin and could miss Friday's game. Point guard Reggie Jackson is out with an ankle injury. Swingman Stanley Johnson has a bum hip and could sit out against the Wizards. And rookie Luke Kennard is expected to return on Friday, but he's dealing with a thumb injury on his shooting hand. The Wizards should have an advantage in depth in this matchup.

The Wizards have won each of the first two meetings between these teams this season. If they win on Friday, they will take the season series which could come in handy for playoff tiebreakers later on.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

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NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes reveals his 2018 NBA All-Star ballot

NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes reveals his 2018 NBA All-Star ballot

The 2018 NBA All-Star starters have been announced with few surprises based on the previous updates we saw from fan voting, which account for 50 percent of the equation. The other 50 percent is split by players and media.

I had the honor of filling out one of the media ballots before the Jan. 15 deadline and in interest of transparency, here is how I voted with some brief reasoning for why:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

G Kyrie Irving, Celtics

Irving is the best player on the top team in the conference. He is scoring like he always has, but is now expanding his game under coach Brad Stevens.

G Bradley Beal, Wizards

Beal has turned into one of the best scorers in the NBA and now does so many more things. It wasn't an easy pick between him, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall and Victor Oladipo, but Beal has been so valuable to the Wizards this season with Wall missing extended time that he got the nod.

PODCAST: WHAT CHANGES SHOULD THE WIZARDS MAKE?

F LeBron James, Cavs

LeBron remains the best player in basketball and is having one of his best seasons at the age of 33. It's incredible to watch and he is deserving of the most votes.

F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Giannis is a bonafide star and is among the most versatile players in the NBA with how he can affect the game on both ends of the floor. Even without a three-point shot, he's completely unstoppable on offense.

F Joel Embiid, Sixers

Embiid is proving he can stay on the court (for the most part) and is putting up crazy numbers. Kristaps Porzingis and others got consideration for this spot, but Embiid edged them out with his rebounding.

RELATED: BROOKS FEELS GOOD ABOUT WALL AND BEAL'S ALL-STAR CHANCES

WESTERN CONFERENCE

G Russell Westbrook, Thunder

His scoring is down from last season, but Westbrook tops the NBA in assists per game and things are starting to click in Oklahoma City with him leading the way.

G James Harden, Rockets

The NBA's leading scorer, Harden is still putting up insane numbers despite co-existing with another star guard in Chris Paul. And the Rockets are really, really good.

F Kevin Durant, Warriors

The best player on the league's best team, Durant is currently fifth in points per game and tied for third in blocks. He is incredibly efficient and does so many things well.

F Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Davis continues to put up impressive numbers, but he's now more efficent than ever. The Pelicans are currently sixth in the West, too.

F Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

Towns has become almost underrated with all the attention placed on other young stars in the league, but he's as good as any of them. Big KAT has the T'Wolves on track to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS