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Ranking the best backcourts in the NBA between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, John Wall and Bradley Beal and others

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Ranking the best backcourts in the NBA between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, John Wall and Bradley Beal and others

Here are your definitive, can't-argue-against-them rankings of the best backcourts in the NBA today. 

1. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Warriors

No surprises here. Curry and Thompson are both perennial All-NBA selections and part of the core of a two-time championship team. They are each among the best shooters of all-time and will almost certainly be in the Hall of Fame someday. Curry is a two-time MVP and Thompson is one of the best defenders at his position. They are the best duo in today's game and one of the best guard combos of all-time. It's not often throughout NBA history that a title team was built around two guards, but that was the case when they won in 2014-15 before Kevin Durant showed up and made the Warriors even better.

2. Chris Paul and James Harden, Rockets

The Rockets pulled off one of the biggest trades of the offseason, yes just one of them because there were so many, to bring in Paul, an eight-time All-NBA selection who is still in the backend of his prime. It's too early to know how well this will work and Paul is unfortunately hurt right now, but the credentials between him and Harden lock them in at No. 2. Paul is the best two-way point guard in the game and Harden is among the best scorers this league has seen in a long time. Harden has been the runner-up for MVP twice and is coming off his best season.

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3. John Wall and Bradley Beal, Wizards

Wall and Beal come in at No. 3 on this list, which some would argue is obvious. Well, here's a prediction: by the end of the season Wall and Beal will pass Paul and Harden as No. 2. How does that sound? Here's the reasoning. Paul and Harden are great, but Paul is on the decline. Wall and Beal are continuing to get better and that has been particularly evident in Beal's play so far this season. Also, both Wall and Beal have All-Defensive team potential. Wall has already made second-team once. Their potential as a two-way combo will ultimately be what separates them from the rest of the pack.

4. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Blazers

By now most know how good Lillard is. He's a two-time All-NBA selection who can score with the best of them. He can light it up from three-point range and has one of the best stepback jumpers in the game. He's also a pretty decent rapper. But McCollum deserves some attention, too. He's improved every single season he's been in the NBA and has emerged as one of the best scoring guards in basketball. He's a very accurate three-point shooter (42.1% in 2016-17) and led the NBA in free-throw percentage last season (91.2%). He's also a solid passer from the two-guard spot. He hasn't made the All-Star team yet, but it's only a matter of time.

5. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Raptors

Some may be surprised at how low Lowry and DeRozan are on this list, but we're splitting hairs at this point. Lowry and DeRozan are an excellent combination that has helped the Raptors win 48 games or more in four straight seasons. Both can score, rebound, pass and get steals and both shoot for a high percentage from the field. DeRozan is one of the best in the league at getting to the free throw line and Lowry is one of the most consistent three-point shooters around. 

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Sixers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

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

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Another test

The Wizards continue their difficult stretch coming out of the All-Star break against a very dangerous Sixers team. Philly has proven to be very streaky this season, but right now they are rolling. They come to Washington having won their last seven games dating back to Feb. 6 when they beat the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wizards are also playing well, having won eight of their last 11, despite their loss to the Hornets on Friday.

The Sixers are currently seventh in the East and appear on track to make the playoffs. If they keep rising the standings, they could meet the Wizards, who are currently fourth, in the first round. 

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Season series

Speaking of the playoffs, this game could end up looming large for postseason seeding. The Sixers have won two of the three matchups between these teams this year. If they win on Sunday, they will take the season series and own the tiebreaker over Washington.

If the two teams tie head-to-head and end up with the same record at the end of the season, it will then come down to conference record. The Sixers currently have a better record against East teams than the Wizards. But if they can beat Philly this time, the Wizards will have a chance to secure the conference tiebreaker down the stretch of this season.

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Sixers are tough to guard

The Wizards have found out the hard way this season just how difficult it can be to match up with the Sixers, who are led by two emerging stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid is 7-foot-1 with rare abilities to stretch the floor and beat opponents off the dribble. Simmons is 6-foot-10, yet can lead the fastbreak with rare speed and vision to find his teammates with crisp passes.

The mobility for their size is almost unmatched and it has not been easy for the Wizards to answer. In their last meeting earlier this month, Simmons had 15 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Embiid had 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Wizards have to try to limit those guys while also dealing with other challenges like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and J.J. Reddick.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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