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Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

The fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game hasn't been favorable to John Wall, but the Wizards' point guard -- already a three-time All-Star -- put another notch in the best season of his career with 18 assists to go with 18 points in a fourth-quarter comeback win.

It came a day after he learned that he only received 87,360 popular votes among Eastern Conference guards for the Feb. 19 showcase in New Orleans while lesser perfomers such as Dwyane Wade (278,052) and Derrick Rose (129,924) outdistanced him though they're on teams with comparable records to Washington (17-18)

"Eight-seven thousand votes?" Wall said sarcastically, though with a smile, to CSNmidatlantic.com after he had 18 points and 18 assists in a 112-105 victory. "I'll take it."

Wall has 22 double-doubles, 13 more than the next nearest pure guard in the conference which is Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics (nine) who plays at the two. Nicolas Batum, a shooting guard/small forward for the Charlotte Hornets, has 10.

Among point guards ahead of Wall in the voting, the leader Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers has six double-doubles, the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry also has six, Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics just four and Rose only one with the N.Y. Knicks.

The only players above Wall in double-doubles in the East are centers Andre Drummond (24), Hassan Whiteside (24) and Dwight Howard (23). 

Wall's are much tougher to tally because of his role. His double-doubles create a ripple effect because as the primary ballhandler he's why the Wizards had five other players score in double figures Friday. Five of the seven field goals made by Otto Porter (17 points) came from Wall's assists. Four of Marcin Gortat's nine makes were product of his passes. In all, the Wizards had 31 assists on 46 baskets and the wealth was distributed almost equally. It's a staple of their offense when they play well. 

"John is always facilitating like that so it is a lot easier playing with him," said Markieff Morris, who had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting. "You just have to make some shots. It is as simple as that."

Wall only had four points at halftime, but he didn't hunt for shots the way Zach LaVine did repeatedly in shooting 3-for-14 for Minnesota. Instead, Wall took his time, picked apart the traps on the ball by Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns and made the simple pocket passes that helped produce 9-for-9 shooting by Gortat. 

Carefully, he injected pace into the game.

"Every time I came areound there was like two guys there," Wall said of the Wolves' defensive strategy on the pick-and-roll coverage. 

They were determined to keep Wall away from the rim, so he set the table for his teammates to inflict their damage first.

"They packed the paint in on the pick-and-rolls," said Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 22 points on just 12 shots, including 5 of 7 on three-pointers. "So John was able to find everybody."

Wall knocked down a long jumper for a 99-97 lead with 3:40 left and sliced into the lane on consecutive plays for layups and a 105-101 lead exactly two minutes later.

Beal, Wall's backcourt mate who isn't in the top 10 for All-Star fan voting for guards but has a viable case for inclusion as well, delivered the knockout blow on Minnesota with 69 seconds left. It was Beal only field goal in the fourth.

Wall made the assist on that shot for a 108-103 lead and Gortat finished a lob to end all hope -- also from Wall. The Wizards shot 58.2% overall, 46 of 79, just short of a season-high 58.3% set earlier in the season. They made 12 of 22 threes for 54.5%.

"Too easy. All you've got to do is run the floor and you're going to get open shots. Cut hard, run your plays hard and he'll find you," Beal said of Wall's orchestration of the offense. "It's just a matter of playing hard and playing with energy and the rest will take care of itself. We can get what we want on offense. We have a lot of offensive threats and guys who can make plays. We just put it all on the defense and just feed off of that."
The "M-V-P" chants returned as Wall stood at the foul line for the first time with 8.3 seconds left. He made them both though that wasn't indicative of his court presence. The Wizards have won nine in a row at Verizon Center.

"There is a lot of excitement and it's great to know that when they call our names they are cheering for us," Wall said. "It's something we can use as an advantage."

But will anyone outside of D.C. hear? For Wall to be an All-Star again, it'll likely have to come from coaches who vote for the reserves. They know all about Wall and his impact first-hand because they game plan to stop him and more often than not this season they've not succeeded.

And defensively, Wall is a much better player than the one who began the season slow after surgeries to both knees May 5. 

"When we were down in that fourth quarter, that's when he had to take over becaiuse Brad was out of the game," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who went with Wall and Gortat after a 14-point third quarter lead devolved into an 85-80 deficit entering the fourth. "He had to be more aggressive because we needed his scoring. ... We got stops. It gave us the opportunity to get out in transtion where he's at his best."

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

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Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards play Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris and the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS at DETROIT PISTONS

Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wizards are red-hot

The Wizards head to Detroit on Saturday in the middle of their best stretch of the season. They have won a season-high four straight games and six of their last seven overall. On Thursday, they even won a road game and the second of a back-to-back, two problem areas for them this season. It was the first time in four tries they swept a back-to-back set.

Now they face a Pistons team that has disappointed so far this season at 20-24, but has won two straight games. The Wizards beat them handily on Dec. in 16 in D.C. by the score of 122-108. Only two teams - the Warriors and Blazers - have scored more against Detroit this season than the Wizards.

[RELATED: Wizards take stock at midpoint of season]

Can Otto keep it up?

The Wizards have been on a roll in recent weeks and lately no one has been hotter than Otto Porter. The 23-year-old set a career-high with six three-pointers on Wednesday at home against the Grizzlies, then did the same on Thursday night at the Knicks. He dropped 25 points vs. Memphis and 23 vs. New York, respectively.

If Porter can reach the 20-mark again on Saturday, it will the first time he has done so this season. He has accomplished that feat once before in his career, from Dec. 28 of 2015 through Jan. 1 of 2016.

KCP may not play

The Wizards could see yet another team missing a top player on Saturday, as Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continues to deal with a Grade-2 rotator cuff strain in his left shoulder. 

Pope, 23, is third on the Pistons in scoring at 14.5 points per game and led Detroit in scoring with 24 points in the first meeting between the teams. He's missed three straight games and without him the Pistons could have a tough time scoring, already being one of the NBA's worst offensive squads.

[RELATED: Wall gives his Eastern Conference All-Star starters]

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NBA concludes Wizards assistant should've been given tech but Knicks benefit from no-calls, too

NBA concludes Wizards assistant should've been given tech but Knicks benefit from no-calls, too

The 113-110 win over the New York Knicks might've ended differently for the Wizards if game officials had assessed a technical foul for assistant coach Sidney Lowe with 7.6 seconds left, according to the last-two minute report released Friday.

The Knicks inbounded the ball to Carmelo Anthony wtih 13.7 seconds left and were attempting to send the game into overtime. As Anthony drove on Markieff Morris, he kicked to Courtney Lee for a three-pointer in the corner. Kelly Oubre was closing him out strong and the play broke down.

They didn't end up getting off a shot as Brandon Jennings turned over the ball and Bradley Beal ran out the clock. John Wall did not foul Jennings on the strip of the ball.

According to the L2M report, it was an incorrect no-call by the officiating crew of Brent Barnaky, Bill Kennedy and Gary Zielinski. Lowe was standing to the left of Barnaky as the play unfoled in front of Washington's bench. 

The league also concluded that Lee picked up his pivot foot on his move and it should've been ruled a traveling violation and that at 1:44 Anthony camped out in the lane more than three seconds when defended by Oubre. Instead, Anthony was able to get an offensive rebound on the play amd draw a foul. He made 1 of 2 foul shots because of the oversight to trim the Wizards' lead to 109-108.

When Wall grabbed a rebound of Anthony's miss with the Wizards up 111-110, he took the rebound and went end-to-end for a dunk that shouldn't have counted. The reason? Wall, who has been dealing with a right pinkie injury and a bad left wrist, touched the ball with both hands on the final dribble before he elevated to dunk. In real time and depending on the camera angle, it's difficult to pick up in real time. 

UPDATE:

Fines are immiment.

The NBA has handed out fines following the incidents.

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards clicking on all cylinders under Scott Brooks