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John Wall didn't mind getting hands dirty in surprising return


John Wall didn't mind getting hands dirty in surprising return

ATLANTA -- John Wall threw himself on the floor with 32.6 seconds left, and the score tied at 78, for a loose ball, corralled it and called a timeout. He slapped the floor repeatedly with his good hand, the right one, as he sensed a Game 5 victory was near Wednesday.

But a 3-2 series lead for the Wizards is oh-so-far away. Wall blocked Dennis Schroder's shot on the final play as he drove to the basket, but Al Horford darted in like a bowling ball to send bodies scattering to grab the loose ball for the putback with two seconds left and an 82-81 victory for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena. 

"It felt great. I didn't have any problems with my hand," Wall said after having 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. "I was able to play aggressive and make plays so I was fine."

Wall, who was a game-time decision until about 50 minutes before tipoff, started and played for the first time since Game 1 when he fell on his left arm for a series-changing broken left hand and wrist. He has five non-displaced fractures which usually take up to six weeks to heal and don't require surgery. 

Wall scored 11 points in the first half as the Wizards went on a 24-8 run to lead 46-41 at halftime. They had a double-digit lead in the third quarter and had multiple chances to put away the Hawks and win here for the second time. But it wasn't meant to be, even after they erased a 78-73 deficit with 2:29 left.

Wall took a charge from center Mike Muscala earlier in the game. He chased down Schroder to block him in transition with his right hand in the fourth. 

"I thought he was great considering everything," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I don't think he played tentatively at all. I never saw him wince or anything bother him, so that's good. He played like John -- all out. He made a heck of a block on the last play of the game on Schroder at the rim. He had another one in the fourth quarter. I'm just glad to see he kept his left wrist up when he hit the ground."

Bradley Beal had a game-high 23 points for Washington, and the the only other guard off the bench, Ramon Sessions, went 0-for-4 and didn't score. 

"You kind of cringed every time you saw him make a move to the basket and he'd fall," Beal said. "But he's a soldier. He's going to continue to lead us."

For the Wizards to win this series, however, that will require leading them back here for Game 7. 

[MORE WIZARDS: Pierce's mouth outruns game clock in Game 5 loss]

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Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Rui Hachimura continued his dominance in international friendlies Saturday as he put up 31 points and five rebounds in a winning effort over Germany.

After a highlight-reel performance in Thursday's loss to Argentina, Hachimura was back at it two days later.

That block at the 37-second mark is just filthy. It would also be goaltending in the NBA, but FIBA rules allow players to touch the ball at pretty much any time once it's made contact with some part of the hoop. Nevertheless, the athleticism to make this play is what stands out.

But Hachimura wasn't finished.

He looks more like Steph Curry leading that breakaway, dribbling behind his back and finishing at the rim himself than a 6-foot-8 forward.

With the international friendly schedule at its end, Japan will tip off the 2020 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Turkey. After a matchup with the Czech Republic, Hachimura and Japan will take on his future NBA opponents when they face the United States on Sept. 5.


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Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a blockbuster summer that saw them land Anthony Davis, before he won the NBA Finals as a role player with the Golden State Warriors, and before he averaged double-digit scoring and won the NCAA tournament at Duke, Quinn Cook was a star point guard at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Cook was in town this week for his fourth annual youth basketball camp at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover. NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller sat down with the former Stag, who he’s known since the now-Lakers guard was 14 years old, on the Wizards Talk podcast.

Miller talked with Cook about why he feels connected to kids in the local community and what it was like losing his father as a teenager. One of his closest friends is fellow DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, who helped him get through the loss of his father Ted when he died suddenly in 2008 after going into a coma following a colon procedure.

“My best friend Norman and Victor, their parents took them out of school, and they were with me for two weeks,” Cook said. “At the funeral, [head coach Mike] Jones had the entire DeMatha basketball program…come to the funeral and all sit together [with] their uniforms on.”

Cook also went on to talk about his time at Duke, the viral video in which he convinced some people at the mall he was J Cole and his obsession with winning before going into how he landed in Los Angeles this offseason.

“When Golden State withdrew their qualifying offer, I became unrestricted and had some teams call me and the Lakers thing, it just happened quick,” Cook said. “I had talks with them, AD called me, [LeBron James] called Rob Palinka for me, and Coach K called them, talked to Bron and stuff and we got it done.”

Check out the full podcast below and listen to Miller talk hoops every week on the Wizards Talk podcast.