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John Wall, Stephen A. Smith 'Rosebar' beef plays out in Wizards' win with Smith courtside

John Wall, Stephen A. Smith 'Rosebar' beef plays out in Wizards' win with Smith courtside

Exactly 18 months to the day after John Wall hit the biggest shot of his career in Game 6 against the Celtics, and Markieff Morris slapped Stephen A. Smith on the rear in celebration, Smith was back in Washington for more.

Smith had ignited NBA Twitter with an epic tirade about Wall and the Wizards, how the team should be blown up and how Wall was spending too much time at clubs instead of focusing on his craft. He even named a place he thinks Wall frequents, Rosebar in Northwest Washington.

Whether Wall goes there enough to deserve that sort of ridicule on national television or not, it stuck. Memes were made of Wall wearing a Wizards jersey, photoshopped with 'Rosebar' on the front. Wall even admitted the picture was funny in an Instagram Live address to his fans.

So there Smith was, down from ESPN's studios in New York, sitting in the front row and ready to face the very team he blasted out in the open. To his credit, Smith often does this. Soon after he tears the Wizards to shreds, he makes an appearance to back up his words.

He picked a good game to come down. Wall, who was coming off a 28-point performance in a win over the Heat, carried it over against the Magic and with Smith sitting baseline, just steps away from the Wizards' bench. 

Wall lit up Orlando for a clean 25 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, a block and a steal in just 33 minutes of work. He shot 9-for-15 from the field and 2-for-3 from three.

After a sluggish start to the season, Wall has turned things up in his last five games. During that stretch, he's averaged 24.4 points, 9.6 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from three (10-for-23).

After he diced up the Magic, Wall was asked if Smith's rants and the jokes that swept across the NBA-obsessed corners of the internet had anything to do with his recent tear. He declined.

"Nah," he said with his eyes peering through gold-rimmed sunglasses. "I'm used to it."

His teammates disagree. Shooting guard Bradley Beal believes that is exactly what happened.

"Y'all pissed him off, man. It's y'all's fault," Beal said, speaking of the media in general. 

"He's going to come out and play like Wolf Wall. That's what we need him to do... That's just John. We need him to do that. We need him to lead the ship."

The results at least somewhat back up Beal's claims. Since we're on the subject, how about some pre-Rosebar rant and post-Rosebar rant splits? They don't calculate those on Basketball Reference, so these were done the old fashioned way, by hand.

Before Smith went off, the Wizards were 2-8 and Wall was averaging only 7.6 assists and shooting 28.6 percent from three. After Smith's diatribe, the Wizards are 2-1 with Wall posting 10.3 assists per game while knocking down 45.5 percent from long range.

Sure, those numbers are selective, but this isn't scientific research. It's just a credible theory from a guy in Beal who his in the midst of his seventh season playing with Wall. He knows what makes Wall tick and he saw a difference in him on Monday night.

"I'm happy you guys lit a little flame up under him. He got us going. He got us all going," he said.

Beal wasn't the only Wizards player to notice Smith was in attendance. After a shot Wall made with 4:17 to go in the fourth quarter, guard Austin Rivers pointed in Smith's direction during the ensuing timeout. They sensed Wall was proving Smith and all of his haters wrong, regardless of whether he would admit it or not.

Of course, Wall already has plenty of motivation to play well and doesn't need someone like Smith or anyone in the media to get him going. But his teammates, and Wizards fans, will take it.

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Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

The Wizards are holding their highest-profile pre-draft workout yet on Monday, hosting UNC teammates and projected lottery picks Coby White and Nassir Little. 

White earned All-ACC and All-Freshman honors during his lone season in Chapel Hill, averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Little's season with the Tar Heels did not go as smoothly as White's, but he is an NBA-ready athlete with tons of upside. 

Both White and Little could be options for the Wizards at No. 9 and would provide solutions to some of Washington's major needs. White would give the Wizards a primary play-maker while John Wall recovers from his Achilles injury, while Little would fill Washington's hole at small forward and bring some much-needed defense and rebounding to the team.

Before White and Little, the Wizards had brought in very few projected lottery picks during their pre-draft process, outside of Kentucky forward Keldon Johnson and French prospect Sekou Doumbouya. But with the 2019 NBA Draft looming on Thursday, the Wizards are ramping up their search for the player they'll pick at No. 9. 

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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 

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