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Bobcats beat Magic 106-100 to end 5-game skid

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Bobcats beat Magic 106-100 to end 5-game skid

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Kemba Walker had 25 points and eight rebounds, and Gerald Henderson added 17 points as the Charlotte Bobcats snapped a five-game losing streak with a 106-100 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

The Bobcats evened the season series with the Magic and now return home for four consecutive games, beginning with Sacramento on Saturday.

Charlotte started fast and shot the ball well throughout, with its field goal percentage hovering above 50 percent for most of the night. The Bobcats also shot 17 more free throws than Orlando, including some crucial ones in the final minute to secure the victory.

Arron Afflalo led Orlando with 23 points, followed by Jameer Nelson with 22.

Orlando has lost its last six games against teams with records below .500.

The Magic seemed to be making some progress following their convincing win over Indiana on Wednesday, when they got production from both the perimeter and inside.

Meanwhile, Charlotte came in rested following a 27-point loss to Indiana on Tuesday.

The Magic were flat throughout against the energized Bobcats, but trailed by just five entering the fourth quarter.

A pair of free throws by Nelson trimmed it to 98-94 with 1:13 to play, but he left the game on the ensuing Charlotte possession following a collision near midcourt.

Afflalo was called for a technical foul for making a demonstrative gesture after a no-call by a referee. Walker knocked down the resulting free throw, and two more to make it 101-94.

Afflalo redeemed himself with a three-point play to close within four, but Charlotte made enough free throws the rest of the way to hang on.

Henderson scored nine of Charlotte's first 11 points and finished the first half with 17 as the Bobcats took a 57-45 lead into the locker room.

Henderson and Walker combined for 33 points in the opening 24 minutes, pacing a Charlotte team that shot 59 percent (23 for 39). It was the best an opponent has shot against Orlando in any half this season.

The Magic didn't have many crisp halfcourt sets and got only 11 minutes out of Glen Davis before he went to the bench with three fouls.

Notes: Charlotte earned its first road win since Jan. 6, improving to 5-14 on the season. ... Magic C Nikola Vucevic finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, ending his string of eight straight double-doubles.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.