Capitals

Gasol help Lakers hold on to beat Pistons 98-97

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Gasol help Lakers hold on to beat Pistons 98-97

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds and was the last line of defense for Los Angeles, contesting Detroit's last-second alley-oop attempt and helping the Lakers hold on for a 98-97 victory over the Pistons on Sunday.

Los Angeles blew an 18-point third-quarter lead but went back ahead for good on Kobe Bryant's driving three-point play with 1:09 remaining. That gave the Lakers a 98-95 lead, and they held on despite missing four free throws in the final 16.8 seconds.

The normally reliable Steve Nash missed two with 2.7 seconds left, giving Detroit one more chance. Down by one, the Pistons inbounded from midcourt with 1.2 seconds to play. They tried a lob to rookie big man Andre Drummond, but with Gasol contesting the play, Drummond couldn't convert his one-handed dunk attempt.

The Lakers have won five of six, including their last two games without Dwight Howard. The All-Star center has been out with a right shoulder problem.

Detroit was still without guard Jose Calderon, who the Pistons acquired from Toronto on Wednesday. Calderon has not been available to play because of unresolved visa issues.

The Lakers trail eighth-place Houston by 3 1/2 games in the Western Conference playoff race.

Bryant scored 18 points but shot poorly from the perimeter. After an airball with the score tied at 95, he decided to drive to the basket the next time down. Bryant muscled through a foul and scored a basket that was counted on a continuation call.

Detroit's Will Bynum cut the lead to one, and after Gasol missed, Drummond missed a baseline fadeaway that would have given the Pistons the lead. Earl Clark missed two free throws for Los Angeles with 16.8 seconds left, but Bynum's driving shot over Gasol went off the glass and rattled in and out.

Nash entered the game as a 90.4-percent free throw shooter for his career - the top mark in NBA history for players with at least 1,200 attempts.

When he missed two in the final seconds, the Pistons shockingly had a chance to win, but Drummond just missed his dunk attempt and looked surprised that no foul was called on the play.

The Lakers scored 10 straight points early in the third quarter to take a 72-54 lead. Bryant highlighted that run with a one-handed dunk while Detroit's Brandon Knight tried in vain to prevent an easy basket.

The Pistons rallied quickly, with the 6-foot-11 Drummond showing off his athleticism around the basket. Drummond's two-handed dunk over Gasol made it 76-70, and the Lakers led 78-72 after three.

Bynum had 18 points and 10 assists for the Pistons, and Greg Monroe added 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Clark had 17 points for Los Angeles. Nash had 11 points and 10 assists.

Detroit's Rodney Stuckey was called for his third foul in the first quarter, then picked up a technical to boot. The Pistons did their best to exploit the Lakers in transition, but Knight missed a layup in the second quarter, and Kyle Singler missed one of his own moments later.

Detroit turned the ball over nine times in the half, and the Pistons finished the second quarter with a terrible defensive breakdown. Bryant was inbounding around midcourt with 0.4 seconds left in the half, and Clark somehow slipped free for an alley-oop dunk at the buzzer that gave Los Angeles a 62-51 lead.

The Lakers did a better job defending that situation on the final play of the game.

NOTES: Knight became tangled with Metta World Peace of the Lakers with 1:43 left in the first half. That got a rise out of the crowd, which no doubt remembered World Peace's role in the infamous ``Malice at the Palace'' brawl on the Pistons' court in 2004. World Peace was assessed a flagrant foul this time, but the situation didn't escalate. ... Bryant had five assists, snapping his streak of five straight games with at least eight.

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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