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Morning tip: Did John Wall, Bradley Beal do enough to get selected to All-Star Game?

Morning tip: Did John Wall, Bradley Beal do enough to get selected to All-Star Game?

Today, John Wall should learn that he's an All-Star for the fourth year in a row, after finishing sixth among East guards though he's the only one to average a double-double this season. The status of Bradley Beal qualifying for the first time is much more murky. 

But Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn't have much problem giving his thoughts on the Wizards' backcourt.

"He's really good," Stevens said after Beal scored 31 points on 18 shots in a 123-108 win over Boston on Tuesday. " I said it before the game,  Wall and Bradley are both in discussion for All-Stars and they should be. Tremendous young players. They impact every game like that, not just this game.”

Wall had 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the same game. He has been the best player for the Wizards (25-20) all season, despite having to play his way into shape after surgeries to both knees May 5.

Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan were voted starters in the East, with Wall's primary competion for reserve spots in Kyle Lowry, Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker. None of them is close to averaging a double-double like Wall, the only guard in the conference to do so, or his 25 double-doubles. 

Beal doesn't have as much competition at shooting guard outside of Dwyane Wade. He has had the best season behind DeRozan despite missing four games with different ailments, but there are no rules that stipulate what type of guard has to be selected.

The coaches' vote for the seven reserves in each conference closed Tuesday. Did they see what Wall and Beal do in dominating Thomas, who has a strong case in his own right, or did that even matter? Did most of them cast their votes before this latest run by the Wizards with 14 consecutive home victories?

If defense is incorporated at all into splitting the hairs for reserves, then Wall and Beal would be locks. None of the names mentioned is their peer on the defensive end but All-Star is more about popularity and respect than anything else. Why else did Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan get chosen so late in their careers?

Wall is putting up career numbers (23.1 points, 10.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 46.4% shooting) and Beal is getting better (21.9 points, 3.6 assists) as he was over 40% shooting from three until a recent 1-for-21 slump.

At the end of the season, being chosen to the All-NBA team is actually the more significant honor. If the Wizards can get into a top 4 seed after their 2-8 start to the season – they're only two games in the loss column behind the Toronto Raptors for the No. 2 seed – it's a safe bet that at least one and maybe even both will make it.  

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall gets overrun by his adorable dogs

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Wizards vs. Heat: TV channel, Time, Live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Heat: TV channel, Time, Live stream, how to watch

The Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak with a nice win over the Pistons on Martin Luther King Day. 

They won't be able to celebrate for long though as they hit the road to play an extremely good Miami Heat team just a couple of weeks after the Wizards beat them without Bradley Beal. 

Can Washington shock everyone once again and continue to play their best against great teams? Here's what you need to know to watch and find out. 

WIZARDS vs. HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami, Game 43

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. HEAT TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders

7:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live 

7:30 PM: Wizards vs. Heat

10:00 PM: Wizards Postgame Live 

10:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live 

11:00 PM: Wizards Talk 

WIZARDS vs. HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Rui Hachimura (OUT, groin), Garrison Mathews (OUT, ankle), Moe Wagner (OUT, ankle),  John Wall (OUT, Achilles)

Heat: Jimmy Butler (Day-to-day, hip), Justise Winslow (OUT, back)

 

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Why Wizards point guard Ish Smith purposefully never dunks in games

Why Wizards point guard Ish Smith purposefully never dunks in games

WASHINGTON -- Go to a Washington Wizards game these days and you may see point guard Ish Smith do many things. He has a mean crossover, is shooting threes like never before in his career and he's a blur up and down the court.

What you will basically never see Smith do is dunk. He hasn't thrown one down in a game since the 2017-18 season. He dunked twice that year, down from four times the season before and down from his career-high of eight the year before that.

Smith has basically eliminated dunking from his game. It's not that he can't, he just chooses not to. And it's for a good reason.

Now in his 10th NBA season, Smith believes the wear-and-tear that comes with dunking isn't worth it at this point.

"I'm saving my legs," he told NBC Sports Washington. "I was watching something and Steve Nash was talking about how he played when he got older - on the ground, pretty much on land. He was preserving his energy because he moved a lot, cut a lot [with] ball-handling and different things like that. I try to preserve all that."

Smith, 31, has achieved a rare level of longevity in the NBA. He went undrafted in 2010, yet has lasted a decade in the NBA as a 6-foot tall point guard. The Wizards are his 11th team, one off the NBA record.

There is an old adage in the NBA that each dunk takes a game off your career. Many things can happen when players are high up in the air and risking contact, but also the simple act of jumping and landing can take its toll on joints and ligaments.

Smith has carved out the career he has by making sacrifices, and that includes dunking. Even when he is alone on a fastbreak, he will just lay it in.

"Yeah, you get breakout layups and stuff like that," he said. "I guess because I have done it, but it's not as tempting as used to be. It's just like get these two points and get back."

When he was younger, Smith would dunk when he had the opportunity. Now he says he's kind of over it.

"I had some dunk-ons [back in the day]. But as I got older, I realized it ain't all that," he said.

Smith now prides himself on a wide array of release angles on layups around the rim. He can finish with his right and left hand, in traffic and off-balance. He can double-clutch and use the glass.

Smith has a way of sneaking under bigger defensive players and timing layups to avoid blocked shots. It's a big part of his game.

But maybe someday soon we will see Smith dunk again in a game. Perhaps he will do so, just to show everyone he's still got it.

"[I dunked] the other day when we were in Toronto, after practice," he said. "After that, I was like 'oh no, I don't know why I did that.'"

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