WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards are back in the postseason after a one-year absence. They also appear back in the groove that helped them overcome a dismal start and become a true contender in the Eastern Conference. John Wall scored 22 points and Bradley Beal had 19 as the Washington Wizards defeated the Brooklyn Nets 129-108 Friday night and clinched a playoff berth. Brandon Jennings had 18 points and nine assists off the bench for the Wizards (44-28), who shot 50.5 percent from the field, made 21 of 22 free throws and led by as many as 28 points. Washington, which swept the four-game season series from Brooklyn, has won two in a row after losing four of five. The latest victory, combined
LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA's Lonzo Ball, has repeatedly proved that he is not short on confidence in either himself or any of his three basketball-playing sons. Host Stephen A. Smith challenged Ball on his recent comments that he could have beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one in his prime. This got Smith even more fired up than usual, and Ball was up to the task.
Three weeks ago, even relatively devout 76ers fans could be forgiven for not recognizing the name Shawn Long. You might've recalled his pretty strong showing for the Sixers at Summer League last July, and if you were on the press mailing list for the Delaware 87ers -- lucky you -- you might have noticed him popping up in a lot of "LONG'S 22 HELPS SEVENS DOWN RED CLAWS" type headlines. But however D-League dominant-he was, it seemed unlikely he'd factor into a Sixers season where the team already had four young, high-upside centers on the roster. Then of course of those four bigs, one of 'em got surgery, one of 'em got traded and one one of 'em got hurt (and/or maybe just stinks). So with 20