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Charles Barkley adds to the John Wall praise ranking him the second best player in the East

Charles Barkley adds to the John Wall praise ranking him the second best player in the East

The praise keeps coming for John Wall, and it's no longer just resonating from Washington.

The rest of the country is taking notice.

At halftime of the Wizards' 121-102 win over the Celtics in Game 4, TNT's Charles Barkley called Wall "the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, maybe the second best player in the Eastern Conference".

This isn't the only time we've heard Wall ranked this way either.

The difference now though is it's becoming a more common trend.

That's what happens when you produce the results we've seen this postseason. 

RELATED: BREAKING DOWN THE WIZARDS INCREDIBLE 26-0 RUN AGAINST THE CELTICS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYzSYhzaJ14

After the win, former Wizard Caron Butler called Wall the second best player in the NBA.

Wall is averaging 27.8 points, 12.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game in this series. Those are numbers no one can ignore. 

Obviously, we're going with the assumption that both Barkley and Butler are putting LeBron James in front of Wall, but consider the rise of Wall's star and this Wizards team as a whole, from just a few months ago.

This is the same player, and the same team, getting snubbed out of national TV games in January.

This is the same group that started the season 2-8, something that feels like a blurry dream at this point.

The national perspective of the Wizards has changed, and their 22-0 and 26-0 runs in games 3 and 4, respectively, helped make a statement to America they're a team with higher expectations than just a second round exit. 

It's always an endless argument when we debate player rankings.

One thing that can't be argued though, is the Wizards arrow is trending up, and the rest of the country is starting to take notice. 
 

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76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

76ers' Ben Simmons diagnosed with partial dislocation of the left kneecap

After exiting the 76ers-Wizards matchup early Wednesday night, Ben Simmons was diagnosed with subluxation of the left patella on Thursday.

Simmons left the game during the third quarter and did not return. The injury occurred after he grabbed an offensive rebound and dribbled to the corner to pass to Al Horford in the post. Following the play, he began flexing his left leg and left for the locker room. Simmons was seen walking gingerly in street clothes minutes later.  

Before leaving the game, Simmons recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes.

Simmons’ diagnosis of a partially dislocated kneecap leaves him out indefinitely as he and the team consider treatment options. He has already been ruled out of Philadelphia’s game against the Orlando Magic on Friday. However, his MRI showed no ligament damage in the knee, which leaves him optimistic to return later in the playoffs.

His knee injury is not the only injury Simmons has had to overcome this season. He also missed the final eight games before the NBA’s hiatus with a nerve impingement in his lower back, but fully recovered before the restart began.

Playing without an All-Star player will be a challenge for Philadelphia, but the team has proven successful thus far in Orlando. The Sixers have gone 2-1 in the bubble and currently trail the Indiana Pacers by one game for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and are two games behind the Miami Heat for fourth. 

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Kevin Durant gives his NBA Finals predictions

Kevin Durant gives his NBA Finals predictions

While a number of teams are fighting to be the favorite heading into the NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Clippers picked up a key endorsement from Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.

When asked who he thought will win it all this year, Durant chose the Clippers defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals and upsetting the No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. 

"They're just so deep," Durant said of the Clippers on “Play For Keeps” podcast. "They haven't had their whole team together at once for a long period of time yet, and that talent is just undeniable. When you have [Paul George] and Kawhi [Leonard] at the wings, that's what you need to win is wings. You got those two at the wings, arguably top three, top four at the wing position on one team."

So far in Orlando, the Clippers have gone 1-2 after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans and falling to the Lakers and Phoenix Suns. As of now, they hold the two-seed in the Western Conference playoff picture and would face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. However, they are currently just a half a game ahead of the Denver Nuggets with five seeding games remaining.

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The Lakers clinched the one-seed last week and are up six games in the standings over their cross-town rivals.

ESPN’s playoff odds gave the Clippers a 10% chance of winning it all. They ranked third behind the Bucks with a 49.7% chance and the Lakers at 18.7%. 

Durant chose Los Angeles over his own team, the Brooklyn Nets, who are also in a good position to make the playoffs as the current seven-seed in the East Conference. However, the Nets are playing in Orlando without eight players including a number of starters like Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Durant, who missed the entire regular season after tearing his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals.

If his team retains the seven-seed heading into the playoffs, they would likely face the Toronto Raptors, who Durant projected would fall to Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals.

But regardless of seeding, Durant acknowledged it’s still anyone’s game.

“I hate doing that s---,” he said about predicting a winner. “You never know what could happen – you seen that with us last year.”

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