As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Case in point, the Mystics contest against the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.To Washington Coach Trudi Lacey, the matinee affair was probably one of our best games. To the Verizon Center scoreboard, it was the latest loss in a season filled with frustration. The Mystics twice rallied from double-digit deficits before succumbing to the first place Sun, 77-70.With the two sides meeting up again in Connecticut on Wednesday, the Mystics (3-12) have an immediate opportunity to turn their perceived strong effort into a much-needed win. Of course, Washington is 0-3 against the Eastern Conference leaders this season and has lost seven straight in the series.In fairness to Lacey and some of her players who sang a similar optimistic tune in the postgame locker room, there were signs of improvement. Despite facing a Sun (13-4) frontline that counts two Olympians Tina Charles and Asjha Jones among its starters, the Mystics dominated the rebounding battle on both ends.Washington finished with a 38-23 edge, 15-3 off the offensive glass. In the first half, second-chance points accounted for half the teams 30 points and fueled an initial comeback which included taking a 39-38 lead in the third quarter. Crystal Langhorne paced five double figure scorers with 15 points while Michelle Snow had 10 points and 11 rebounds, six offensive. The Mystics doled out 17 assists on 28 made baskets. They held Connecticut to eight points in the second quarter.That was probably one of our best games. We had fifteen offensive rebounds, and we took care of the ball and distributed the ball, Lacey said.And yet, victory eluded them and annoyance showed.It gets frustrating because these teams are easily beatable. Its within us to overcome an obstacle thats making us not win these games. We just have to do it, said Matee Ajavon.The Mystics starting off-guard scored 13 points, but played only 19 minutes as Lacey turned elsewhere when a defensive presence was required.Northern Virginia native Kara Lawson scored 17 points and headlined a perimeter shooting effort that saw the Sun knock down 7 of 13 from beyond the arc. Two of those 3-pointers came from Tan White during a 15-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarter that turned a back-and-forth affair into a 63-52 Connecticut lead.We had a great stretch there in the third quarter that spread it out, beginning the fourth, said Lawson who made three 3s in the Suns third straight win. Tan hit some shots for us. When things arent going right for us offensively, we were able to string together some buckets and get some stops. It was a good win for us.Once again, the Mystics rallied, using a 12-4 run capped by Monique Curries bank shot to pull closer at 67-64 with 2:59 to go. However, White converted a conventional three-point play and the Sun shot 8 for 9 on free throws in the final 2:01 to seal the win. I thought down the stretch when we needed to get stops we didnt, Lacey said. We ended up putting them on the free throw line. Really, that was the difference in the game. They shot well from three, which hurt us.Following Wednesdays game, the Mystics close the first half of the season in New York on Friday before the league takes a month-long Olympic break. Washington hosts Connecticut a third time on September 4.The Sun shot well from everywhere early, making 11 straight attempts in the first quarter, four from Charles (16 points). Considering the Mystics hung tough despite that start and had a punchers chance late against a star-studded team, maybe talk of it being one of our best games is indeed fair. Of course, the scoreboard never lies.
Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles.
— The Redskins’ got into the red zone on their first drive with Kirk Cousins passes to Vernon Davis for 31 yards and Jamison Crowder for 20 keying the advance. But they had to settle for Nick Rose’s first NFL field goal.
—Defensively, the Redskins dominated in the first quarter. The Eagles had no official plays before having four penalties, leading to a first and 33. Quinton Dunbar ended that possession with his first interception of the year. The Eagles got their first third-down conversion of the day in the last minute of the quarter.
—The Redskins gifted the Eagles three points by committing consecutive facemask penalties during Carson Wentz runs. Three weeks ago against the Chiefs, a penalty-laden drive helped KC score a touchdown. Not as costly this time but the score is tied 3-3.
—Did you have a parlay bet on Vernon Davis getting two 31-yard receptions tonight? If so, you hit it. His second such catch was the key in the Redskins’ second scoring drive. This time, they got it in from the red zone when the Eagles forgot to cover Chris Thompson, giving him the easiest seven-yard TD reception you’ll see.
—After a sack, the Eagles got the equalizer with a 64-yard bomb from Wentz to Mack Hollins. The Redskins rushed only four for one of the few passing downs so far and Wentz had plenty of time to launch the long pass.
—In the first half, Cousins was 0-3 passing on third down with one or two yards to go. He was 12-13 for 167 yards in all other situations.
—That third failure to convert on third and short eventually cost the Redskins. A few plays after taking the punt Wentz went to Zach Ertz for 41 yards to the Washington 18. That led to a four-yard touchdown pass to Ertz to put the Eagles up 17-10 at the half.
—Jason Peters, the Eagles’ former All-Pro tackle who is still playing well, was carted off the field early in the third quarter with a leg injury. Meanwhile, Wentz completed four passes and scrambled for 21 to set up first and goal at the six. On third and goal at the nine, Wentz escaped a heavy rush and pitched a touchdown pass to Cory Clement. The Redskins just can’t get off the field on defense and they are down 14 points.
—At that point, the Redskins had run six plays since they took a 10-3 lead. The Eagles had run 23.
—The Redskins cobbled together a drive after getting the Eagles to go three and out for the first time since the first quarter. Cousins scrambled for eight yards, and then he passed to Doctson for 17. It was goal to go after Jordan Reed went up and caught Cousins' pass for a gain of 20 to the five. On the next play, it was Cousins to Reed for the touchdown. It was Reed’s first score of the year and it made it a ballgame again at 24-17.
—The Redskins seemed to have the Eagles stopped with another three and out but somehow Carson Wentz got out of a crowd of several Redskins, avoided the sack, and converted a third and eight. That put the momentum back onto the side wearing the green jerseys and they completed the drive with a TD pass from Wentz to Nelson Agholor to restore Philly’s two-touchdown lead.
— The Redskins’ last chance at a miracle rally ended when Kirk Cousins threw a third and six pass right into the arms of Philly safety Corey Graham. Cousins was hit on the play but it still wasn’t a good pass. There was no Redskins receiver in the area. We will await an explanation from Cousins after the game.
—Washington got a cosmetic score with 3:17 on a 75-yard drive that ended with another Reed touchdown reception.
So, this is a weird way to end a basketball game.
The Wizards were up just two points on the Denver Nuggets with :32 seconds left on Monday night when talented third-year center Nikola Jokic made a mistake that may have cost Denver a win. During a timeout, Jokic bumped shoulders with Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. Brooks was immediately incensed and Jokic was awarded a technical.
It was a bizarre moment. Watch it here:
Bradley Beal hit the technical free throw, then sank a layup on the next possession. Jokic made dumb mistake, whether it was intentional or not, and the Wizards capitalized in a 109-104 win.