Capitals

Clippers beat Mavs 99-93 for 13th home win in row

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Clippers beat Mavs 99-93 for 13th home win in row

LOS ANGELES (AP) Chris Paul had 19 points and 16 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 99-93 on Wednesday night, extending their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games.

Matt Barnes added 19 points off the bench, and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (29-8), who took sole possession of the NBA's best record from Oklahoma City with their third straight win overall.

Darren Collison scored 22 points for Dallas. O.J. Mayo added 17 and Dirk Nowitzki had 15. At 13-23, the Mavs fell 10 games below .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000, two months after Mark Cuban bought the team. They've lost four in a row overall and three straight on the road, where they are 5-16.

The Clippers led the entire first half, fell behind by 10 points in third quarter and then regained the lead for the first time in the fourth on Paul's steal and layup that made it 82-80.

They took the lead for good on Barnes' 3-pointer that keyed an 8-0 run. Los Angeles forced former Clipper Chris Kaman into two misses while Collison airballed another shot in that stretch as the Clippers went ahead 90-83.

Nowitzki's jumper pulled Dallas to 95-93. Griffin hit a turnaround jumper to give the Clippers a four-point lead before Collison missed a 3-pointer in the right corner.

Caron Butler came up with two big offensive rebounds off consecutive misses by Griffin and Paul with 39 seconds left. After taking two timeouts, Paul missed an 18-footer with 24 seconds left and Dallas called timeout. Collison scrambled looking for a shot before he passed to Vince Carter, who missed.

Paul got fouled and made both shots for a 99-93 lead while fans chanted ``MVP!''

Los Angeles played flatly in the third, when the Mavs used a 22-8 run to take a 75-65 lead. Shawn Marion's 3-pointer early in the spurt gave Dallas its first lead of the game and snapped the Clippers' streak of leading for 10 straight quarters. The Clippers rallied at the end of the period, scoring seven in a row, punctuated by Barnes' 3-pointer that beat the buzzer to trail 75-72.

The Clippers led the entire first half, sparked by Barnes' 11 points, including three 3-pointers. The Mavs scored seven straight points to tie the game at 50-all on Collison's hook before Paul got around Mayo to hit a running jumper at the buzzer, keeping the Clippers ahead 52-50 at the break.

NOTES: Clippers G Jamal Crawford returned after missing the last two games because of a sore left foot. ... Clippers F Grant Hill did not make his expected return after missing all season with a right knee bone bruise. Coach Vinny Del Negro said Hill has not had any setbacks and would practice a couple more days before being evaluated for Saturday's game against Orlando. ... The Mavs signed free-agent guard Mike James to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. The 10-year NBA veteran had played two games with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League.

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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.