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Lakers beat Jazz 102-84 to snap 4-game skid

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Lakers beat Jazz 102-84 to snap 4-game skid

LOS ANGELES (AP) Metta World Peace hit five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 17 points and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 102-84 on Friday night, snapping a four-game skid.

Dwight Howard had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Steve Nash scored 15 and Pau Gasol added 15 points off the bench. Kobe Bryant had 14 points, a season-high 14 assists and nine rebounds to help the Lakers beat the Jazz for the first time in three meetings this season. Utah's four-game winning streak came to an end.

Howard aggravated his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Lakers' loss at Memphis on Wednesday, the same injury that caused him to miss three games two weeks ago. But he showed no ill effects from the start, scoring six points in a 15-4 spurt that opened the game and gave the Lakers the lead for good.

Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 14 points off the bench. Fellow reserve Gordon Hayward scored 13 and Al Jefferson had 12. Paul Millsap and Randy Foye added 10 points each. Utah had won six of its previous seven.

Utah cut its deficit to 78-69 early in the fourth before the Lakers began dominating the final 10 minutes. World Peace hit his fifth 3-pointer and Bryant scored four points during a 14-5 spurt that pushed Los Angeles' lead to 92-74. The Lakers were 9 of 21 from long range.

The Lakers had lost 10 of their last 12 and remain seven games below .500.

The Lakers led by 12 points early in the third before Utah closed to 61-58, capped by Favors' alley-oop dunk off a pass from Earl Watson. The Lakers fought back from 3-point range. Chris Duhon and World Peace combined for three 3-pointers and Jodie Meeks dunked to keep them ahead 72-63 going into the fourth. Gasol and Millsap got into it verbally and received double technicals as the quarter was ending.

Utah closed to 47-37 at halftime.

The Lakers' 15-4 run to start the game was helped by World Peace and Nash combining for three 3-pointers. The Jazz quickly closed within two before the Lakers stretched their lead to 26-19.

NOTES: World Peace was one 3-pointer shy of equaling his career high of six set on Feb. 28, 2009, against Chicago. ... Bryant's assists were three off his career high of 15 set on Feb. 12, 2002, against Washington. ... Utah fell to 9-16 on the road.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

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USA TODAY Sports

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise. Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Towes intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. Toews' interception led to a 2-on-0 in the second period. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal. He also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board. Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.

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4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

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4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Blackhawks

The Caps were outplayed in just about every facet of the game on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. It is hard to narrow it down to just a few reasons they ultimately lost this game, but here are the most glaring.

The first period

The opening 20 minutes of this game was, to be blunt, awful. The Caps managed only nine shots attempts, six of which went on net. Chicago, meanwhile, fired 21 shots on goal with 29 total shot attempts. Washington was held to 21 shots on goal or less six times this season, so to allow 21 to an opponent in 20 minutes is not a good start. Of course, you can’t allow that many shots and escape unscathed and Washington found themselves down 3-1 at the end of the first. The Caps were outskated and sloppy with the puck and thoroughly dominated by the Blackhawks.

A bad early goal

Chicago did not need any help scoring in this one. The first goal of the game came when Jonathan Toews just threw a quick shot from the corner on net that caught Braden Holtby off guard. Holtby allowed six goals on the night, but only two of them looked soft. It was an inauspicious start to the game and a save Holtby really needed to make.

Two breakaways in the second period

A breakaway represents a breakdown in the defense. When you give up two in a span of 1:10, including a 2-on-0, that means you're not having a good night. In the second period, Brooks Orpik tried a cross-ice pass that was easily picked off by Toews that launched a 2-on-0 with him and Patrick Kane. There may not be a worse tandem in hockey to give up a 2-on-0 against than that. Just about a minute later, Ryan Hartman weaved his way through the defense to spark his own breakaway. It wasn't a good pass that launched him or a bad line change. Hartman's feet were moving and the Caps' were not. As bad as the first period was, it looked as if the Caps had stopped the bleeding as the score remained 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the second which is in no way is an insurmountable deficit. In the remaining four minutes, Chicago extended its lead to 6-1.

Defense

Holtby allowed six goals in this game before he was replaced by Philipp Grubauer for the start of the third period. Of those six, only two were "soft" goals Holtby should have had. The other four were the result of poor defense. The breakaways were already described in detail above. The second goal of the game came when Orpik and Madison Bowey both challenge Brandon Saad as he drove into the Caps' zone, leaving Vinnie Hinostroza to go in on net unimpeded. When Saad got the pass to him, Holtby did well to stop the initial shot, but could not get the Saad rebound shot. In the closing seconds of the first period, Holtby stopped a Carl Dahlstrom shot, but the rebound went to a wide open Nick Schmaltz who had all the space he could want to shoot in the rebound. John Carlson finished the game with a minus-3, Orpik, Bowey and Christian Djoos were minus-2 and Matt Niskanen was a minus-1.