Fever are 'here for real' with 1-0 lead on Lynx


Fever are 'here for real' with 1-0 lead on Lynx

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Midway through the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, Minnesota power forward Rebekkah Brunson rose in the lane toward the basket with her team trying to mount a rally.

Indiana center Erlana Larkins delivered the emphatic rejection.

Brunson was knocked to the floor as her shot was swatted, and Minnesota's chance to win the series opener essentially fell down with her. The Lynx were trailing 65-62 with about five minutes left, but they never came closer. The Fever quickly tacked on a layup on the other end and cruised to a 76-70 victory on Sunday night.

``It was what I call a thunder block,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ``She is rising up and she just slides that ball, and it just kind of set the tone: `Hey, we're here for real, and we are ready to play.'''

The Lynx, looking to become the league's first repeat champion in 10 years, are at full attention.

``We want to make sure that we're not a team that gets out-hungered. That is really important,'' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, adding: ``We've got a lot to overcome, and we'll see if we're able to.''

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Target Center, before the best-of-five series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Friday night.

``We've got a lot of competitors on our team that really hate to lose, so I guess in Game 2 you'll see the difference,'' Lynx shooting guard Seimone Augustus said. ``You'll see us come out and be a little bit more aggressive from start to finish. We're going to play and give it all that we have.''

The Fever spent Monday getting massages at a spa before reconvening for practice on Tuesday. The two-day layoff between games probably wasn't enough for veteran shooting guard Katie Douglas, though. After spraining her left ankle in the last game of the Eastern Conference finals, Douglas was missing from Game 1. Dunn said she's improving but unlikely to play Wednesday.

``Hopeful for Friday,'' Dunn said.

So the Fever will continue to lean on their tallest ladies, with Larkins and Tamika Catchings inside. They combined for 36 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks in Game 1 and held Lynx post players Brunson and Taj McWilliams-Franklin to a total of 16 points and 14 rebounds.

``We had a great week of practice. We went over everything we could have possibly gone over, but they came out and they were ready to win,'' Brunson said. ``They played great.''

Catchings is still chasing her first WNBA championship at age 33. Larkins was out of the league the last two years before joining the Fever this season. No matter the perspective or the experience, the motivation is the same.

``When you've never won a title you approach it a little bit different than trying to defend a title,'' Dunn said. ``We've got players that had a taste of the finals in 2009, and they know what it was like and how close they came. It was almost like they had their hands on the trophy and it got snatched away.''

The Fever lost to the Phoenix Mercury in five games in 2009. So they're not comfortable by simply taking the home-court advantage.

``We know that they're going to come out Wednesday, and they're going to be a much different team and much better,'' Catchings said. ``And for us, we have to continue to get better too.''

Added point guard Erin Phillips: ``They're going to come in so hungry, so aggressive. They're the defending champions, and they're here for the second time for a reason. They're a great team. ... We can't just sit around and be satisfied that we won Game 1 and give ourselves a pat on the back, and that's it. It's going to be a much harder game.''

The Lynx pride themselves on their bounce-back ability, so they're expecting the same: a more aggressive performance.

``I'm hoping we won't lose two in a row,'' Augustus said. ``We've been good at that point, bouncing back in tough-game situations, and this is the perfect example, the perfect time for us to be able to bounce back and go to Indiana and steal one on the road or steal two on the road and pull this championship out.''


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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197