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Wizards hold on to beat Bulls behind Bradley Beal's big night, John Wall's defensive effort

Wizards hold on to beat Bulls behind Bradley Beal's big night, John Wall's defensive effort

The Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 114-110 on New Year's Eve. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bulls put up a fight: This one had all the makings of a trap for the Wizards. Not only have they struggled this season against losing teams and often right after big wins like they had on Friday against the Rockets, but the Bulls are not your typical sub-.500 team. After beginning the season 3-20, the Bulls reeled off 10 wins in 12 games before travelling to Washington.

The Wizards, though, rallied from a slow defensive start to win their second straight game and build off the momentum of a big win, something they have had major trouble doing this season.

Offense has been the biggest reason for the Bulls' resurgence and they came out hot in the first quarter. Chicago had 38 points after one and shot 53.6 percent. But the Wizards got stops when they needed them down the stretch and took a two-point lead on a huge and-1 by John Wall with 29.4 seconds left.

Chicago slowed down offensively as the Wizards kept rolling. Bradley Beal led the way with 39 points, including seven threes to tie a career-high. He also had nine assists, tying a career-high, and nine rebounds.

The Wizards hit 16 threes as a team. It was just the 10th time they have had 16 threes or more in a game in franchise history, but the fourth time this season and the third time in the last eight days. Yes, you read that right.

The Wizards are now 21-16 overall on the season and 7-3 since Wall (21 points, nine assists, six rebounds) returned. That's their best 10-game stretch of the year so far. They are 16-10 with Wall this season and just 5-6 without him.

Block party: Wall prides himself in his shotblocking and earlier this season even proclaimed himself as the best shotblocking point guard in NBA history. He sure looked like it on Sunday, as Wall swatted four shots, one off his career-high of five set back on Oct. 28, 2015 against the Magic.

Wall was all over the place, getting blocks on the fastbreak, in the halfcourt set and even in the post guarding much bigger players. He even blocked Nikola Mirotic, who is six inches taller than him. 

This was Wall's best rejection. It led to a Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12 points, five rebounds) dunk on the other end:

This was the third time in Wall's career he has had four blocks or more in a game. That's tied for sixth-most in NBA history among guards. Dennis Johnson, who has the most career blocks for a point guard, also has three such games. Wall's claim isn't that crazy at all.

Oubre, by the way, has now reached double figures in points in 25 of his 37 games this season. He had 24 such games in 79 appearances last year.

Scott returned: Wizards bench extraordinnaire Mike Scott missed their last game on Friday night against the Rockets due to the birth of his second child, a daughter named Nori. Though he has likely had no sleep the last few nights, Scott picked up right where he left off in this one.

Scott lit a spark as soon as he entered the game like he has so many times this season. He had 10 points in his first four minutes and by halftime had 13 points in 10 minutes on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from three.

Scott's production was needed for the Wizards, who saw starting power forward Markieff Morris (five points, 11 rebounds) get into early foul trouble. He had three fouls by the midway point in the second quarter. But Scott, who finished with 17 points and four rebounds, got anything he wanted against the Bulls.

Scott went scoreless in the third quarter, but returned to make some big shots in the fourth. That included a baseline midrange jumper with 8:23 left that gave the Wizards a 94-93 lead. Scott has now scored 17 points or more in six of his last 11 games.

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday and Tuesday before welcoming the New York Knicks to town on Wednesday. Tipoff is 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.


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Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Scott Brooks feels good about John Wall and Bradley Beal's All-Star chances

Voting for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game's starters is now closed and though they have not fared well with fan ballots, the chances Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal are picked as reserves seem good.

The All-Star reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks thinks the Wizards should have two representatives.

"They're definitely both having All-Star years," Brooks said. "I can't vote for either one, but they are definitely in my mind two of the best guards in the East."

Wall, 27, is averaging 19.9 points and leads the Eastern Conference with 9.3 assists per game. He also leads all NBA guards with 1.1 blocks per game.

Bradley Beal, 24, is seventh in the East with 23.7 points per game and third among Eastern Conference guards. He is averaging a career-high 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.


The 25-19 Wizards are currently in the playoff picture, which should help their cause for two All-Stars. But there is a lot of competition at the guard position.

Beal has done plenty to make the case he should be a first-time All-Star. He leads the Wizards in points and has played in every one of their games.

What could hold Wall back is that his numbers are down from last season and the fact he missed 11 games due to injury.

Brooks, though, thinks he should be in there and that it shouldn't be all that close.

"I think John is the best point guard in the East," he said.

Wall is certainly up there among the best point guards in the conference. His competition would be guys like Kyrie Iriving, Kyle Lowry and maybe Ben Simmons. Wall is a more versatile player than Irving and has better numbers than Lowry or Simmons.

The All-Star starters are announced on Jan. 18 and the full rosters will be revealed on Jan. 23. We'll see if Wall and Beal make the cut.


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

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:


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.