Capitals

Don't expect to see this guy in the All-Star Game

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Don't expect to see this guy in the All-Star Game

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have all but ruled out injured slugger Matt Kemp for next month's All-Star game in Kansas City. "It's a long shot at this point because he's not healthy," general manager Ned Colletti said Monday before the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco. The slugging center fielder is still recovering from a strained left hamstring that landed him on the disabled list for a second time this season May 31. The 2011 NL MVP runner-up first missed time from May 14-29. Manager Don Mattingly is supportive if Kemp wants to participate in the Home Run Derby, as Los Angeles' medical staff has given him the go-ahead to do so. Kemp said last week in Oakland he had discussed the Midsummer Classic with Mattingly and wants to make sure he is fully healthy for the second half with NL West-leading Los Angeles. "You wouldn't expect anything else out of anybody else," Colletti said of Kemp's team-first focus. "We're talking about All-Star games and things like that, it's tough for us to look into the future when we don't even have a rehab game scheduled." Mattingly hopes Kemp might begin a rehab assignment before the break, but the thinking is the Dodgers will want Kemp to return to playing big league games before clearing him to play in the All-Star game -- and there isn't much time left for him to do both. "I think he feels the same way," Mattingly said. "He's not ready to play yet." Ideally, Kemp would play in five or six minor league games first. He leads the National League in votes, with his total at 3,322,009 in baseball's latest count. New NL numbers will be released Tuesday. "As an organization we're kind of the bad guy in this," Mattingly said. "That's the way it has to be." Kemp, who predicted in spring training he might just become the first player to ever hit 50 home runs and steal 50 bases, is batting .355 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs in 36 games and has two stolen bases. Mattingly left open the slim possibility of Kemp appearing in the All-Star game July 10 at Kauffman Stadium if he has already returned to the Dodgers' lineup first. "We talked about him playing for us before we get there, so if he's been able to do all that and play for us before the All-Star game ... we're talking about all this guessing when he's going to be ready," Mattingly said. "It seems silly to me, honestly. He's not ready to play yet, he's still going through the process of running bases and running curves. We're talking about an All-Star game, we're talking about practice." Second baseman Mark Ellis, recovering from left leg surgery, also is close to going on a rehab assignment and is considered to be slightly ahead of Kemp, schedule-wise. He also is expected back in the lineup after the All-Star break.

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4 reasons why the Caps beat the Senators

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USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Caps beat the Senators

The Capitals head into Thanksgiving on a high note after a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Here's why they won.

Line changes

Barry Trotz surprised everyone by changing up the lines and reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom despite coyly telling the media that he would use the same "group" just two hours before the game. The move worked, however, as an energized Caps team took the ice. The moves were not just felt on the top line, there was a boost all throughout the lineup to start the game and the energy the team played with was evident.

The Caps’ best offensive players looked like their best offensive players

Much has been written in recent days about the Caps’ top-six and its offensive struggles, but they seemed just fine against Ottawa. Ovechkin (1 goal), Backstrom (1 assist), T.J. Oshie (2 assists), Evgeny Kuznetsov (1 goal, 2 assists) and Jakub Vrana (2 goals) all had big nights.

Ovechkin's late first period goal

Multi-goal leads have been hard to come by for the Caps of late. Despite a strong first period, Washington held only a 1-0 lead as the first frame drew to a close. Instead of having a chance to regroup in the locker room, Ottawa found itself suddenly down by two as Ovechkin scored with just five seconds left. That goal set the tone for the start of the second period where Washington was able to tack on another two goals to take the 4-0 lead. Does that momentum carry over to the second without Ovechkin's late tally? I'm not so sure.

Killing a 5-on-3 power play in the second period

Despite the 4-0 deficit, the Senators hung around and scored in the second period to make it 4-1. Then Ovechkin was called for a high-stick and Backstrom got into a bit of a tussle with Ben Harpur after getting a high-stick from him. The ref sent Ovechkin, Backstrom and Harpur to the box. Just 44 seconds later, Tom Wilson joined them after getting called for a slash giving the Senators 1:16 of a two-man advantage power play. One goal would have pulled them within two with over a period left to play. This game was not over. This was a critical moment for Washington and the penalty kill delivered by killing off both penalties. After that, the game really was no longer in doubt.

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:

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Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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