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Harrison Barnes leads Mavericks to 113-105 win over Wizards

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DALLAS (AP) Harrison Barnes scored 26 points and Deron Williams added 21 as the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Washington Wizards 113-105 on Tuesday night.

Devin Harris had 17 points and Seth Curry 16 for the Mavericks. Williams, Harris and Curry each hit four 3-pointers as Dallas made 17-of-32 from long range.

John Wall led Washington with 27 points and Bradley Beal added 25 for the Wizards, who fell to 1-6 on the second half of back-to-back games. They lost to Houston on Monday night.

Dallas trailed in the third quarter before rallying.

The Mavericks took control early in the fourth quarter, scoring the first eight points and building a 110-100 lead on Barnes’ 3-pointer with 2:51 to play.

The Wizards shaved the lead to five, but Beal missed a 3-pointer and then Wall missed two 3s, any of which would cut the lead to two before Barnes made another 3 with 24.3 seconds left to put the game away.

The Mavericks went on a 21-7 run in the middle of the second quarter to take its biggest lead of the half at 54-43. But Wall took over the final 2:30 of the half, scoring 13 points in a 20-3 Wizards run that gave the Wizards a 67-61 lead at the break.

Wall scored the final 11 points of the half for Washington.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Wall was named Eastern Conference player of the month for December after averaging 24.5 points, 10.7 assists and an NBA-best 2.7 steals per game as the Wizards went 10-5. . Washington has lost 12 of 13 to the Mavericks dating to 2009, their only win coming last season.

Mavericks: Andrew Bogut, who missed 11 games this year with a knee injury, limped to the bench with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and did not return. . Forward Dorian Finney-Smith was a finalist for Western Conference rookie of the month for December but lost to New Orleans’ Buddy Hield. Finney-Smith started 16 of the team’s 17 games in December, averaging 6.6 points.

BURGER ANYONE?

In an effort to promote the All-Star candidacy of Barnes, the Mavericks debuted the Harrison Barnes All-Star Burger at concession stands for all January home games. Barnes is averaging a team-leading 20 points for Dallas.

“I’m more concerned with his day to day progress, that he keeps learning and growing,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s really his personality so I think he’s going to continue to trend upward. He hasn’t plateaued in his work ethic or his thirst to get better.”

UP NEXT

Wizards: Hosts Minnesota on Friday. Washington has won eight in a row at the Verizon Center.

Mavericks: Home against Phoenix on Thursday, the second game of a three-game homestand for a Dallas team that has played six of previous seven on the road.

Lonzo Ball will never be as good as this fan-made video of him destroying people in 2K17

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Ultimately, nobody has any idea how good Lonzo Ball will be as an NBA player. Franchise cornerstone? All-Star? Above average starter? Rotation player? He will fall somewhere on the scale, but even for NBA teams it’s a guess as to where. (His dad apparently thinks he will end his career compared to Jordan, I seriously doubt that.)

However good he ends up being, he may never be as good as he looks in this 2K17 fan video made by Shady00018. The Lakers should pray he does: Dropping Stephen Curry on a crossover, dunking over Rudy Gobert, throwing no-look passes like beads at Mardi Gras? It’s impressive, if unrealistic.

Then again, reality Lakers fans don’t always intersect.

 

LeBron James on the Finals: “I feel good about our chances. Very good.”

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If there is one team in the NBA that can knock off the Warriors in a seven-game series, it’s the Cavaliers. They are the best team in the NBA at creating mismatches and isolating them, and in Kyrie Irving and LeBron James they have two of the best isolation scorers in the game. Cleveland is strong on the boards and is capable of impressive defense. Also, they have the best player on the planet.

If nobody else is confident in the Cavaliers chances, he is.

Here is what LeBron James said his confidence level facing the Warriors in a Finals trilogy.

What else is he going to say?

And if anyone should be confident, it’s LeBron. He can change a series.

From the outside, we saw a series last year where everything needed to go right for Cleveland to win — LeBron playing the best ball of his career for the final three games, Kyrie Irving hitting big shots, Draymond Green getting suspended, Andrew Bogut getting injured, Stephen Curry being off (due to injury or fatigue or just a slump). And even then took the Cavaliers seven games and heroics at the last minute. Now the Warriors add Kevin Durant, and it’s hard not to see this ending differently.

However, LeBron James is the one guy who can alter that vision. And he’s confident he can do it, he’s done it before.

Steve Alford: LaVar Ball never meddled with UCLA Basketball

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Is LaVar Ball just a harmless loudmouth, or will he actually undermine the team that drafts his son, highly touted guard Lonzo Ball?

The Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick, are the most likely team to find out.

President Magic Johnson said LaVar won’t affect whether they draft Lonzo, but coach Luke Walton wants the team to ask UCLA coach Steve Alford about LaVar’s involvement.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times did just that:

Was LaVar Ball around the team much?

“Zero,” Alford said.

Was he ever at practice?

“Never at practice,” Alford said. “Never at practice; never called me.”

Did he ever try to meddle in your coaching?

“Never,” Alford said.

LaVar has said his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, will play for UCLA. So, Alford has incentive to maintain a productive working relationship with LaVar. The players’ high school coach had a much worse experience dealing with LaVar.

Alford vouching for LaVar means something, but the total picture is more complex.

Still, LaVar would hardly be the first difficult parent of an NBA player. He’s just the most public. Even if he’d try to meddle into the Lakers, they might be willing to handle that to get his talented son.

John Wall: Bench was Wizards’ ‘downfall’

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John Wall left the Wizards’ season-ending loss to the Celtics talking about how badly Washington’s bench got outscored.

Now that he has time to reflect and isn’t just speaking with raw emotion shortly after a devastating loss, how does he feel?

Wall, via CSN Mid-Atlantic

“We need to help our bench,” Wall told CSN’s Chris Miller. “Just to be honest, that was our downfall in each series that we had in the [Eastern Conference] semifinals, our bench got out played.”

It starts from upstairs – just building the right bench guys and building the chemistry. That’s all it is.

I think that’s where they won the game at. I heard Marcus Smart say after the game that I had no legs. He’s basically right. I don’t make excuses. I’m going to play. If I miss shots or make shots, I’ll live with it. I know people will say he finished oh for 11, but I play – I took everything I had in me to keep fighting.

It’s just that their bench guys came in and played well. I think Kelly Oubre could’ve played a little bit more. I wish he would’ve played a little more and Jason. But coach makes the decision, and we stick behind him 100 percent. I feel like those two guys could have really helped us.

Wall – eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension but reportedly unsure about signing one – is clearly telling the Wizards what he wants. Marcin Gortat similarly criticized Washington’s bench earlier in the season, and he apologized. Wall has the leverage not to stand by his assessment.

Both Wall and Gortat were right. The Wizards’ bench was the source of much of their problems.

Washington’s starting lineup outscored opponents by 4.7 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs. Its bench (all other lineups) got outscored 15.5 points per 100 possessions.

Only the Thunder had a similar split in net rating:

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The Wizards knew their flaw and tried to hide it. Washington’s starters played 34.2 minutes per game together in the postseason – second only to the Pacers (34.5). Wall’s heavy workload contributed to him running out of gas late in Game 7 against Boston, which Marcus Smart noted.

What can the Wizards do to upgrade their bench? Spend.

They sound committed to keeping Otto Porter, a restricted free agent this summer. But that would push them near the luxury tax – so they could scrimp on the bench in a variety of ways:

  • Don’t re-sign Bojan Bogdanovic, another restricted free agent. He’s in line for a raise.
  • Trade Marcin Gortat, elevating Ian Mahinmi into the starting lineup and therefore weakening the bench.
  • Trade Jason Smith, who might be expendable at his salary but at least still provides depth.
  • Don’t use the mid-level exception. That’s Washington’s best mechanism for adding outside help, but it’d be costly.

Will the Wizards take any of those cost-saving measures? Wall is certainly watching.