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Lynch's past, present meet as Seattle faces Bills

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Lynch's past, present meet as Seattle faces Bills

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Marshawn Lynch has every reason to talk.

The Seattle Seahawks running back is currently the No. 2 rusher in the NFL, trailing only Adrian Peterson. He's already set a new career high with 1,266 yards rushing through 13 games and needs just three more rushing touchdowns to match his career best of 12 from last season.

And his past and present collide this week when the Seahawks travel to Toronto to face Lynch's former team, the Buffalo Bills.

Yet with all those reasons for Lynch to chat about his season or playing his old team, his response Wednesday when asked if had a few minutes was a simple, ``Nah, I'm good.''

``Marshawn is a football player. He's just like, `Who are we playing? All right, let's go play,''' Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. ``That's the type of guy he is and you need guys like that on your team. You don't want guys thinking too much.''

Lynch is coming off a performance last week against Arizona that in some ways was a career-best. His three touchdowns rushing tied the top mark in his career. Lynch played just two quarters plus the first series of the second half and finished with a season-high 128 yards on just 11 carries, averaging a career-best 11.6 yards per attempt.

He's now topped 100 yards seven times this season and could be looking at a second straight trip to the Pro Bowl.

And perhaps more than ever, with the Seahawks on the cusp of a playoff berth and possibly still in contention for the NFC West title, it's apparent that the decision to acquire Lynch from Buffalo via trade early in the 2010 season is probably the most important player transaction coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have made in rebuilding the Seahawks' roster.

``When you build your philosophy about running the football and with an attitude and toughness and all of that, he's a key addition. That's why we stayed with it so long. As we've watched the three years that he has been the factor that we needed,'' Carroll said. ``Fortunately, with the quarterback situation coming around with both of our guys, that's in good shape and that's the most crucial spot, but I don't know if anything is more symbolic than what we've done with Marshawn and him playing the way he plays and the guy that he is.''

When Lynch was traded from Buffalo early in the 2010 season, he needed the change. Lynch had been seeking a fresh start after his reputation in Buffalo took a hit following his off-field troubles that included a June 2008 traffic violation where he struck a female pedestrian with his car and a guilty plea on a March 2009 misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles. Police discovered a semiautomatic handgun in a backpack in the trunk of a parked car Lynch was sitting in. The gun charge resulted in a three-game league suspension.

Until this past summer, Lynch had been a model citizen off the field in Seattle. But he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence near his hometown of Oakland, Calif., in July. His case is still pending in California.

But on the field, the Seahawks have no complaints with what their workhorse has done. The quest to get Lynch via trade was something Carroll started during the 2010 offseason in the hopes a deal could get done. He joked Wednesday that Schneider repeatedly called the Bills on Carroll's behalf eventually led to the deal getting done.

Seattle's running game stumbled initially with Lynch - minus his memorable tremor-causing run in the 2010 playoffs against New Orleans - but finally clicked midway through last season. Lynch was the most productive back in the NFL over the final half of the 2011 season.

That success carried over into this year from the start. And finding that success was significant with Seattle breaking in rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

``I think offensively we knew our identity coming into the season as opposed to last year trying to gather that identity as the season went on,'' Robinson said.

Lynch is on pace to finish with more than 1,550 yards for the season. He would become just the third different running back in Seahawks history to top the 1,500-yard mark. Shaun Alexander did it twice, including his franchise record 1,880 yards in 2005, and Chris Warren did it once.

``This is what we had hoped,'' Carroll said. ``We hoped that he would be a big-timer and we could make him fit in and feel comfortable and like his surroundings and really contribute in a big way. He has done everything. He's done everything we have asked of him.''

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

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USA TODAY Sports

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby. Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.