Capitals

George scores 22 to lead Pacers over Blazers 99-92

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George scores 22 to lead Pacers over Blazers 99-92

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George scored 22 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-92 on Wednesday night.

George Hill added 18 points and David West had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers (10-9) , who have won four of five and moved above .500 for the first time since a 2-1 start. Indiana, the league leader in scoring defense, held the Blazers to 43 percent shooting.

Damian Lillard led Portland (8-11) with 23 points. Wesley Matthews scored 19, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

Indiana outscored Portland 31-14 in the third quarter to take control. The Trail Blazers made a push in the fourth but could get no closer than four.

Hickson's tip-in at the buzzer gave the Blazers a 50-48 lead at halftime. Lillard had 14 points at the break for Portland.

Indiana opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 54-50 lead.

A 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by George gave the Pacers a 67-60 edge, and Ian Mahinmi's basket in close pushed Indiana's lead to nine and forced Portland to call a timeout.

A fast-break layup by George out of the break bumped Indiana's lead to double digits, and a free throw by D.J. Augustin closed out the 10-0 run. During that three-minute stretch, the Trail Blazers went 0-for-3 from the field and committed three turnovers.

West's putback in the final seconds of the third quarter gave Indiana a 79-64 lead entering the fourth. Indiana held Portland to 7-for-19 shooting in the third. George, who had eight points in the first half, scored nine in the quarter.

George picked up where he left off, draining a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening minute of the fourth to give the Pacers an 18-point lead.

Portland battled back in the early minutes of the fourth. Matthews hit two free throws to trim Indiana's lead to 85-79 and Lillard added a layup to make it 85-81.

But Indiana regrouped. A drive by George and a last-second dish for a dunk by Hill gave Indiana a 93-86 lead with just over four minutes remaining.

Portland had a chance to cut Indiana's lead to three, but Hibbert blocked Hickson's shot and pulled in the rebound with 50 seconds to play.

Notes: Pacers F Danny Granger remains out with left patellar tendinosis. . Hibbert entered the game second in the league with 3.06 blocks per contest. He had three more on Wednesday . West was issued a technical foul in the second quarter. . Lillard was named Western Conference rookie of the month on Wednesday. . Mahinmi scored a season-high 12 points to help Indiana's reserves outscore Portland's 31-13. . Portland fell to 2-5 on its road trip.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.