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Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Bulls behind John Wall's career-best for assists

Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Bulls behind John Wall's career-best for assists

That John Wall found his way on the court despite a sore left foot Friday wasn’t much of a surprise as the Wizards’ point guard doesn’t like to miss games.

He set a career-high with 20 assists in what was a closer-than-expected 112-107 win against the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center to end a two-game losing streak and win the season series 3-1. Wall’s 14 points also game him his 45th double-double which is tops among East guards.

The Wizards (42-26) led by as many as 19 points in the first half but Denzel Valentine cut it to 87-81 in the fourth quarter with 10:06 left.

But there was too much firepower for Washington. Bradley Beal (24 points) knocked down a three-pointer and had three drives for buckets and Wall had a key basket and assist to kept it a two-possession game or better until Nikola Mirotic (15 points) buried a three to get to 104-102 in the waning minutes.

Ian Mahinmi (season-high 16 points) and Bojan Bogdanovic (12 points) led the bench for Washington.

The Bulls (32-37), who didn’t have Dwyane Wade who is out for the season with an elbow injury, were led by Robin Lopez (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (28 points).

They had a chance to tie it late but Butler missed a three.

[RELATED: John Wall forecasts early playoff exit, unless defense improves]

--The Bulls were held to 40 points at the half which was a significant improvement for the defense.  It was 13 fewer than the Mavericks scored, 28 fewer than the Sacramento Kings, 24 fewer than vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves and 30 fewer than the Portland Trail Blazers, etc. The Bulls, who are not good from long range, only made 1 of 8 threes and committed 12 turnovers in the first 24 minutes. The Bulls, however, scored 67 points in the first half. 

--Smith made his first start with Markieff Morris (flu) out. He was just two points shy of his season-high (17) at halftime.  Smith made 3 of 4 threes, a part of his game that hadn’t evolved when the season started. Smith shot 25% from three last season with the Orlando Magic but only attempted 16. He’s now 16 of 30 with Washington, or 53.3%. The most he has attempted in a season was two years ago with the N.Y. Knicks (42).

--Mahinmi had his best game of the season offensively. He was 8-for-11 from the field. He was able to finish shots at the rim off good set ups from Wall who was more focused on creating than scoring. He had consecutive buckets midway through the fourth on feeds from Brandon Jennings (three points, eight assists). The first was on a pick-and-roll and the next was a lob in secondary transition. It gave them breathing room for a 91-83 lead.

--Kelly Oubre (four points) had his best game in a while. He had some hustle plays, including a block of Valentine (11 points) in transition at the rim in the first half, that inspired better defensive play. When Jennings found Mahinmi on the pick-and-roll play mentioned previously, that extra possession was created because Oubre battled for the rebound off a miss by Bogdanovic. Oubre defended Butler on his attempt to tie the score at 110 but forced him to miss the three. Just as important, he didn't bite the pump fake to send him to the foul line. In his previous two games, Oubre played a total of 39 seconds. 

--At the end of the third quarter, Wall picked up his 13th technical foul of the season. He’ll be fined $4,000 and is three more from an automatic one-game suspension. It resets when the playoffs begin. Wall’s 20th assist came on a lob to Marcin Gortat (eight points, eight rebounds) late in the fourth.

[RELATED: Has NBA gotten 'softer'? John Wall says yes]

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.


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 12-15 questions per quarter 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 each contest will be revealed throughout the game and 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. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

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


What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

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

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

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)


January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

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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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.