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Wizards can't hold on, lose to Bucks and see winning streak snapped

Wizards can't hold on, lose to Bucks and see winning streak snapped

The Washington Wizards lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 110-103 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Things got heated: Saturday night was yet another reminder that NBA fans deserve a Wizards vs. Bucks playoff series. These teams do not like each other and that was on full display in this one.

It was all so predictable. Last year, the Wizards openly talked trash about the Bucks after a defeat in Milwaukee when Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed in late in a blowout to run up the score. Early in the fourth quarter on Saturday, John Wall did some talking with Antetokounmpo while the latter was at the free throw line. Matthew Dellavedova interjected and Wall turned his attention to him. Jodie Meeks even stepped between them, sensing tension.

It was just minutes later that Dellavedova would be ejected. Bradley Beal (20 points, five rebounds) dribbled past him and Dellavedova grabbed him by the shoulders from behind, dropping him to the ground. Beal was immediately incensed and hopped up to get in his face as teammates ran over to help.

No pushes or blows were thrown, but Wizards fans booed loudly as Dellavedova left the court and several Wizards players like Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Jason Smith waved in glee at word of the ejection.

The Wizards have been known to beef with other teams and the Bucks are near the top of that list. This game added more intrigue to their future matchups and if they ever meet in the playoffs, it could be an eventful series.


Streak halted: The Wizards and Bucks proved an even match, but the Wizards couldn't get stops down the stretch and as a result saw their season-high four-game winning streak snapped. They are now 9-4 since John Wall returned from injury and 23-17 overall on the season. 

Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. He had 21 points in the second half including a fadeaway jumper over Oubre in the final minute. Tony Snell then blocked a Beal three to essentially seal the game.

The Wizards have been playing much better lately in part because they are moving the ball better. That was the case for much of the game against the Bucks until late when their offense hit a wall, much like it did the night before against the Grizzilies. The Wizards managed just 18 points in the fourth.

The good news is that the Wizards had all five of their starters in double figures early in the third quarter. Wall (16 points) was a big reason for that, of course. He had six assists in the first quarter alone as he found open shots for everyone on the court. Wall finished with a season-high 16 assists.

Meeks got some buckets: Before the game, head coach Scott Brooks talked about the shooting struggles of Meeks, a veteran whose shooting percentages are way down this season. He entered the game shooting just 35.2 percent from the field, well below his 41.6 career average. And from three, he was shooting just 30.4 percent compared to his 37.2 career mark.

Meeks didn't exactly dominate, but he did hit have some moments that represented a step in the right direction. Meeks got hot at the end of the third quarter and popped two threes to help the Wizards take a three-point lead into the fourth quarter. Brooks said the team is confident in Meeks, who shot 40.9 percent from three last year. Perhaps Saturday was an indication he's starting to find his rhythm.

Otto out: The Wizards were without starting small forward Otto Porter, who missed the game due to a right hip strain. His back and hip tightened up in the Wizards' win over the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday and he left in the second half without returning. Given the timing, it was not a surprise that he sat this one out. Now the Wizards have a nice break before their next game, giving Porter ample time to heal. Oubre started in his place and put up 14 points on 3-for-6 from the field.

Up next: The Wizards are off for the next three days before hosting the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. That's the same Jazz team that beat them by 47 points earlier this season, the second-biggest margin in a loss in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.


Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:


The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 


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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.