Dave Johnson: Lakers Extend Wizards' Losing Streak


Dave Johnson: Lakers Extend Wizards' Losing Streak

Monday, March 22, 2010 12:16 am

By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comLos Angeles--It was never going to be an easy road trip for the Washington Wizards. That reality was driven home with a hard finish to a four-game western swing in a 99-92 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.As hard as the Wizards competed in the second half, they paid the pricefor a bad second quarter and suffered their eleventh consecutive loss.It could have been worse, but the Wizards showed again the fight and determination that has become a hallmark of this revamped team. Off the bench, Nick Young led the Wizards with 22 points including 17 in a second half that saw the Wizards outscore the Lakers 59-40.The Wizards needed that response after only scoring 33 points in the first half. Instead of fading away the Wizards shot 61 percent from the field in the third quarter and started to make some real noise in the fourth quarter when theypulled to within eight points at 94-86 with 1:59 remaining in the game.While the Wizards second half surge made some Lakers fans squirm, the home team was very much in control. The Lakers were able to hurt the Wizards on the inside where Pau Gasol finished with a game-high 28 points and the outside where the Lakers were 9 of 17 beyond the arc.It also should be noted that the Lakers were able to still close the game even with Kobe Bryant, who was not hurt, on the bench for the final four minutes. The Lakers did fail to score 100 points and thus reward fans with free tacos.Underdogs on paper and undermanned on the court the Wizards, after a fairly competitive first quarter, were overwhelmed by the Lakers defense and Bryants shooting in the second quarter. Bryant scored 20 of his 24 points in the second quarter when the Lakers outscored the Wizards 35-15.Perhaps lost in all the glitter surrounding the Lakers is their strength on defense. Lamar Odom played the lead role in double-teaming Andray Blatche and Bryant blanketed Mike Miller. At half the Blatche and Miller, the Wizards top two scoring options, were 3 of 15 from the field.To both Blatche and Millers credit they found ways to get involved in the Wizards improved second half Blatche finished with 16 point and 12 rebounds and Miller added 11 points. The games and cities seem to blur together but what is clear is the Wizards desire to compete and the players eagerness to impress. The team certainly wants to win but this is also a time of discovery as the Wizards prepare for the start of a new future in the off season.Clearly Blatche has just seized the opportunity of more playing tome and is not looking back. Since the All-Star break when he replaced the departed Antawn Jamison, Blatches scoring production has increased by close to 15 points a game.Blatche has gone through growing pains with the increased time and has faced more double-teams, but he is getting better at dealing with that extra pressure. In addition Blatche is not just relying on his step-back fade-away in the lane and is driving more to the basket.The Wizards are learning more about Shaun Livingston who is still trying to resurrect his NBA career three-years after he suffered a horrific knee injury while playing with the Clippers.It was on this trip that Livingston replaced Randy Foye as starting point guard. Livingston does not have the explosive first step he once had but still has a calming influence while running an offense and his 67 size provides match-up challenges for opponents.The trip also served as breakthrough for Alonzo Gee. The undrafted rookie-forward from Alabama earned not only more playing time but a second ten-day contract. While it is too soon to think long term about Gee, unearthing potential gems that were passed over is part of a teams rebuilding.Gee, at 6'6, actually plays bigger than he is and not only rebounds but finishes not only with strong put-backs but explosive drives to the basket. Gee was also effective in defensive assignment against the Nuggets Carmelo Anthony and the Trail Blazers Brandon Roye.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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