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Morning tip: Wall's career-high 19 assists a reminder of his brilliance

Morning tip: Wall's career-high 19 assists a reminder of his brilliance

John Wall making great passes and racking up assists is no surprise to the fans and members of the media who watch him on a regular basis, as he has been doing it for years, ever since he debuted back in 2010.

Imagine being one of his teammates, who see his gift for passing up close and personal each and every day in practice, shootarounds and games.

Like, Markieff Morris for instance.

The power forward was asked following the Wizards' 107-94 win over the Pelicans on Sunday night if Wall, who tied a career-high with 19 assists, is able to find his teammates in their favorite spots on the floor to shoot from.

Morris replied with a question: "You watched the game, right?"

Morris wasn't trying to be mean or condescending. He said it with a smile. But he just thinks it's obvious at this point that Wall is one of the very best in the game of basketball at setting up his teammates.

"You see how easy it is," Morris explained. "It’s something that we see every game, so it’s not surprising to us. S***, if we would make shots then he would have 20 assists every game."

Wall wasted no time racking up assists on Sunday night. He had six dimes in his first eight minutes. He later had six assists in the fourth quarter, including four in a span of 2:16 (from 3:58 to :42) to help seal the Wizards' win.

Those quick spurts of assists were a product of what the Pelicans' defense was offering him. Early on, he was in distributor mode. Through the second and third quarters he was looking for his own shot. Once he started missing midrange jumpers in the third quarter, he switched back to a pass-first mentality and New Orleans couldn't stop him.


"I just wanted to be aggressive and find guys and get them their shots," Wall said. "That’s my job. When I’m scoring, that’s a big plus for our team and I know I have to score at times... But my job is to just play defense and try to set these guys up. When I’m aggressive I can open up the floor for everybody."

That give-and-take dynamic where Wall feels out the game and goes from there is something his coach is well aware of and very comfortable with.

"They were switching a lot. I thought he did a good job of finding guys," Scott Brooks said. "He’s a great player. He makes good plays. I trust his decisions."

Morris trusts Wall in that regard, as well.

"He’s a great decision-maker. He’s a great player, a top point guard to me. He leads and we just follow in his footsteps," Morris said. "He gets to penetrating and he’s a great passer. He’s got eyes on the back of his head. We’ve just gotta get open. He’s doing a hell of a job finding us in our spots and we’re making shots."

Morris, who finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, was the beneficiary of four of Wall's assists. Wall set up two of Morris' three three-pointers on Sunday.

"Like every other game, John did a great job of finding me. I feel like when I catch the ball I have a thousand years to shoot. I just have to take my time and knock them down," Morris said.

Wall will be back in New Orleans in about three weeks for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Does he have an encore in store for that game? Wall did once drop 22 assists in the Sophomore-Rookie Challenge at All-Star weekend in 2011.

"I hope so. Maybe. I might not get that many minutes coming off the bench. I’ll do what I can," he said.


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Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards fall to Jazz

Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards fall to Jazz

The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 129-119 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Only one spot in the standings separates the Wizards from the playoff picture, but it sure doesn't seem like it at the moment.

With their loss to the Jazz on Friday night, the Wizards have dropped four of five coming out of the All-Star break. They have lost nine straight games to the Jazz going back to 2016.

If the Wizards are going to figure it out soon, they will have to do so on the road. Their loss to Utah kicked off a four-game West Coast road swing.

The Wizards are now 21-37 on the season. That puts them on pace for 30 wins.

2. Within the context of this week, 30 points on Wednesday against the Nets qualified as an off-night for Bradley Beal. On Friday, he was back to his early-week form with 42 points, including 23 in the first half alone.

Beal also added 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals. He shot 17-for-33 overall and 6-for-15 from long range.

This was Beal's 10th 40-point game of the year, which is two off the franchise record for a single season. The problem is the Wizards are 1-9 in those games.

This was Beal's 17th straight 25-point game, which is tied for the longest streak ever in Wizards/Bullets history. He tied Walt Bellamy, who set the record in the 1961-62 season.

3. Some day years from now, when Rui Hachimura is asked if he remembers his 'welcome to the NBA' moment, he's probably going to answer with what Donovan Mitchell did to him in the first half on Friday night.

Mitchell threw down one of the more vicious poster dunks you will see, and it all happened in the halfcourt. Mitchell is just a different type of dunker and he got Hachimura at the perfect time with a jump off two feet.


On one hand, good for Hachimura for meeting him at the rim. But, man, that was ugly.

4. That moment aside, Hachimura had a solid night in the box score. He poured in 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals.

Hachimura's consistency scoring the ball already as a rookie continues to impress. This was his 35th career game and his 26th with double-figure points and his 18th with 15 points or more.

But also consistent is Hachimura's trajectory as a scorer. It was another game where he started off hot, then cooled down to disappear late.

5. It appears that Troy Brown Jr.'s decrease in minutes on Wednesday was not a one-time thing. He again took a backseat to Jerome Robinson, who played 22 minutes compared to Brown's 18.

Head coach Scott Brooks explained the move on Wednesday by saying "minutes are going to be competitive" now that the team is healthy. Robinson has evidently been showing Brooks more in recent games.

The best guess is that it involves defense. Robinson has been more impressive on that end than he has been on offense. He is a physical perimeter defender and the Wizards can use more of that.

One play in the first half demonstrated that well. He checked Jordan Clarkson at the three-point line and trailed him off the dribble to the baseline where he stuffed him to force a jumpball. It was the type of contest we haven't seen enough of from the Wizards this season.

Brown, though, has a chance to respond and he was more aggressive attacking the rim against the Jazz. That is a good sign.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Justin Bieber's new No. 1 album features production from ex-Wizard JaVale McGee

Justin Bieber's new No. 1 album features production from ex-Wizard JaVale McGee

Former Wizard Javale McGee has a well-known reputation in the NBA for his emphatic dunks, and his name is cemented in NBA history with two championships. Now McGee can add a No. 1 album to his list of accomplishments.

McGee, who currently is helping the Los Angeles Lakers maintain the best record in the Western Conference, was listed as a contributor on the song "Available" on Justin Bieber's new hit album “Changes.” 

McGee took advantage of constantly being on the road during his career and began networking with major players in the music industry, before meeting Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, one of Bieber's producers in 2013.

"I was in the studio with Poo Bear around November of last year," McGee told the New York Times in an article published Friday. "I didn’t know who I was making music for. I was playing some songs and samples and he stopped on this one sample that I had made. He looped it, put it in the computer and we just started writing to it. We ended up writing the whole song, but there were no drums or anything." 

McGee said a few months later when he was speaking with Boyd, he was notified that he was on the album. 

"It was amazing," McGee said. "Justin Bieber is one of the, if not the, top artists out there. So to be able to keep working and produce something for an artist like that is amazing."

Another slam-dunk.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.