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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

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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After consecutive 40-point games, what does Bradley Beal have for an encore against the Jazz?

After consecutive 40-point games, what does Bradley Beal have for an encore against the Jazz?

Over the weekend, Bradley Beal had the best two-game stretch of his career so far with 40-point games on consecutive nights. On Monday, he has the chance to provide an encore, again in front of home fans at Capital One Arena.

This time, however, Beal and the Wizards will be facing a much tougher line of defense. He will now take his shot at the Utah Jazz (7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington), who are by many measures one of the very best defensive teams in the NBA.

Utah comes to town ranked fourth in points allowed (106.4/g) and third in defensive rating (105.8). They allow the second-fewest threes (9.9) and three-point attempts (27.9) per game.

Beal has done much of his work the past two games on the perimeter. He made seven threes against the Hornets on Friday and a career-high nine threes against the Grizzlies on Saturday.

Utah has been elite at locking down the three-point line this season. Guards Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio, and forwards Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, can cover a lot of ground as a group.

The Utah defense, though, is anchored in the middle. Rudy Gobert, the 2017-18 defensive player of the year, is having another dominant season with 2.3 blocks per game and a career-high 12.9 rebounds. 

The Jazz will make it tough for Beal and his teammates with disciplined, physical defense in the backcourt and one of the game's best rim protectors backing them up. Monday could provide Beal one of his best challenges of the season. 

He has proven able to adapt to opposing defenses and find a way to score, whether that be by making outside shots, ones in the midrange or attacking the rim. The Jazz will likely be able to take away some combination of those avenues.

The Wizards have lost four straight games against the Jazz and Beal has struggled in their match-ups. Though he has averaged 20.8 points during that stretch, he has shot just 28 percent from three.

The Jazz may be one of the NBA's top defenses, but they have given up their fair share of big scoring games this season. Eight players have scored 40 on them in 2018-19, including Derrick Rose who dropped 50 back in October.

If Beal were to go for 40 for the third straight game, he would set a franchise record. That won't be easy to do, especially against the Jazz. But, as this weekend showed, Beal is on a different level right now.

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How to watch Wizards vs. Jazz 'Predict the Game' broadcast

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How to watch Wizards vs. Jazz 'Predict the Game' broadcast

After a huge win against the Memphis Grizzlies behind Bradley Beal's career night, the Wizards close off their homestand at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Additionally, on NBC Sports Washington Plus you'll be able to watch an interactive, alternate live-game experience, including a free-to-play predictive gaming contest with a $500 prize, along with real-time sports-betting data and statistics. 

If the Washington Wizards (30-40) want to make the playoffs, now is the time to start winning.

The Wizards are 3.5 games back of the 8th seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, and they have just 12 games left in the regular season. Washington has won six of their last 10 games, including three of their last four games -- which have all been at home. Monday's game hosting the Utah Jazz (40-29) are on a three-game win streak and sitting in 7th place in the Western Conference.

Whether Wizards star Bradley Beal will have another 40-point game in the tank will be interesting to see, as if the Wizards will be able to contain Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

Wizards-Jazz takes place on Monday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports Washington Plus. 

PREDICT THE GAME HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 30 questions that will appear on screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of the contest will be revealed during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

How do I win? Fans will earn points for correct predictions, with the top eligible scorer at the end of the game earning or splitting the $500 prize. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict

WIZARDS vs. JAZZ HOW TO WATCH:

What: Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Jazz game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link).
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Jazz on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. JAZZ TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Jazz at Wizards
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live 
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders

WIZARDS vs. JAZZ INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Wizards: John Wall (Out, Heel), Dwight Howard (Out, Back) J

Jazz: Thabo Sefolosha (Day-to-Day, Hamstring), Dante Exum (Day-to-Day, Knee)

WIZARDS vs. JAZZ PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Wizards, Bradley Beal: In his last two games, Beal has gone off for 40 points, and is averaging 31.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game since the All-Star break.

Wizards, Jabari Parker: In the month of March, Parker is averaging 17.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Jazz, Donovan Mitchell: Mitchell leads the Jazz with 23.6 games per season, and he is also averaging 28 points per game in March.

Jazz, Rudy Gobert: The Jazz's second-leading scorer (15.4 points per game) is averaging a team-high 12.9 rebounds per game.

WIZARDS vs. JAZZ SERIES HISTORY: 

Number of all-time Meetings: 102 (no playoffs)
Regular Season Record: Jazz lead, 54-48 

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