Wizards

Les Miles and LSU agree to raise, extension

Les Miles and LSU agree to raise, extension

Les Miles has a new seven-year contract at LSU that also will result in a pay raise for one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Tigers' football program.

``I'm a LSU head coach and will be a LSU head coach for as long as I can be,'' Miles said Wednesday. ``Hopefully, we'll look up seven years from now and I'll be looking for another seven-year extension.''

The new contract runs through 2019, which amounts to a two-year extension. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said financial details were still being worked out and will be released after LSU plays in a still-undecided bowl game to close out this season.

A person familiar with the contract said that Miles' new annual pay would be in the range of $4.3 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial details of Miles' deal were not released.

Miles' previous contract paid about $3.75 million annually through 2017. He has not received a raise since 2008, after LSU's last national title, though he has since received an extension and raises for assistants.

``It is not all about winning championships,'' Alleva said. ``It's about being in the hunt to win championships. ``Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out. Only two coaches in the 119-year history of LSU football have coached as many years at this school and only one has won more games.''

Miles has an 85-20 record since arriving at LSU in 2005 with two Southeastern Conference titles, the one national title and two BCS championship game appearances. Only Charles McClendon won more games as Tigers coach (137). The victory over Arkansas last Friday clinched Miles' fifth 10-win season at LSU.

``The coaching business is a competitive one and it is important to compensate our coach for his accomplishments and his worth,'' Alleva said. ``(Miles) has continued to keep LSU on the national stage. Coach made a commitment to LSU and LSU made a commitment to coach.''

Miles said Arkansas representatives reached out to him in a preliminary way, but he also said reports of a five-year, $27.5 million offer to take over the Razorbacks program were ``not true.''

``I have great respect for the AD (Jeff Long), a college friend of mine,'' Miles said. ``My talks were very preliminary. They fell far short of being serious. I can tell you that this Miles family is awfully comfortable in southern Louisiana. I think home is what we call this place.''

Alleva said LSU already planned to offer Miles an enhanced contract after this season, but decided to close the deal now to snuff out speculation that Miles could be lured elsewhere.

``Speculation about other job opportunities accelerated our process a little,'' Alleva said. ``I think we have accomplished the important step of securing Les Miles as our head coach for the long-term good of the program.''

In the short-term, Miles has given his team two weeks off.

The Tigers will find out their bowl destination Sunday with the Capital One Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl being the leaders. LSU will begin bowl practice after fall exams end Dec. 8.

``We look forward to playing in a quality bowl game,'' Miles said. ``We should add two starters (linebacker Kwon Alexander and guard Josh Williford). We should be healthy. I think we'll fill the bowl arena. There is speculation as to which bowl. I know LSU will be in attendance and that will be enough.''

LSU's 21-17 loss to Alabama, for all practical purposes, ended its opportunity to repeat as SEC champion. With a loss at Florida, the Tigers finished with a 10-2 record. LSU posted that mark even though six projected starters missed all or most of the season.

``I would never take 10-2 as a final'' record, Miles said. ``But, as this year played out, I think this team improved. Three games into (the season), the team changed numbers. We had key players not there. Guys stepped in and played big. This team fought like hell and fought adversity.''

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Bryan Lazare contributed to this story from Baton Rouge, La.

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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