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Morning tip: John Wall 'hopeful' about being All-Star for 4th time

Morning tip: John Wall 'hopeful' about being All-Star for 4th time

The first national TV game for the Wizards couldn't have come at a better time for John Wall, the same night he learned that he wouldn't be a starter in the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in New Orleans. 

So he showed out vs. the New York Knicks -- the same way he did on Christmas Day in a national game en route to his first selection as a starter -- by not just posting a team-high 29 points and game-high 13 assists but sealing the 113-110 win with key plays down the stretch.

"Hopefully, I’m a reserve," said Wall, who finished sixth among East guards despite having the best statistical season of his career and getting his team to 23-19. "There’s a lot of great guards that’s been playing well in the East this year.”

It's no surprise that the two starters, Kyrie Irving (Cavs) and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors), come from the two best teams in the conference. 

[RELATED: NBA All-Star Game 2017 starters announced]

Wall made 11 of 21 shots, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals in addition Thursday. It was his 25th double-double for the only East guard to average one (23.1 points, 10.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals). 

With the Knicks taking a 110-109 lead, Wall scored the next four points. The last two came on a rebound off a missed shot and transition basket that was a blur that knocked the air out of Madison Square Garden. 

The Wizards play well there. When Wall made that Christmas visit, the only time he's played in a showcase game on the holiday, he had 24 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. 

After that win, the Wizards were 20-8. They had such a slow start to this season at 2-8 and gained such little attention beyond D.C., not many noticed the progression with Wall as he recovered from surgeries to both knees May 5.

Among the guards who have been selected, and the others hoping to be reserves such as Kyle Lowry and Isaiah Thomas, he's the best defensively when he's playing at his best. As he has been better on that end, the Wizards have won seven of eight games and own a 13-game home win streak that's the longest in the NBA. 

NBA coaches have voted him twice as a reserve. They'll have the chance to do it again when the full teams are announced next Thursday.

"We found a way to get back into the mix of things," Wall said. "We didn't get off to a great start to the season. Hopefully I'll be able to join those guys next week."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Knicks]

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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.

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