Capitals

Mbakwe suspended after pleading guilty to DWI

Mbakwe suspended after pleading guilty to DWI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Trevor Mbakwe breathed a huge sigh of relief in April when the NCAA granted the star Minnesota forward a sixth season of eligibility, giving him one more chance in a college career full of them.

That chance almost disappeared before his final season even started.

Mbakwe was arrested on July 1 for driving while intoxicated and was sentenced on Sept. 10 to one year of probation and community service. After missing almost all of last season with a torn ACL in his right knee, another run-in with the law was the last thing Mbakwe needed.

``He's lucky to still be around here,'' coach Tubby Smith said Friday, when news of Mbawke's arrest finally became public. Smith said Mbakwe was suspended from all team activities after the arrest and that he considered kicking him off the team before ultimately deciding to let him stay.

Mbakwe led the team in scoring and rebounding in 2010-11 and was considered one of the best big men in the Big Ten when he went down seven games into last season. Smith knows that his return makes the Golden Gophers a contender in the conference, so dismissing him from the team would be a big blow to their chances this year.

Smith also knows the 23-year-old Mbakwe is relying on this season to prove he is fully healthy and take a shot at the NBA.

``I know he made a mistake and we'd come this far with him and he had a serious injury,'' Smith said. ``One of the things is I think Trevor has the possibility of having a livelihood in this profession in pro basketball, so I wanted to make sure we gave him every opportunity, as long as he does the things we expect and require him to do.''

Smith said Mbakwe will start the season on the bench and said he's ``still doing some things that he has to do that are required for him to be a part of this team.'' Smith would not specify what those requirements are, but Mbakwe is practicing with the team as they prepare for the exhibition opener on Nov. 1.

``It's something that happened earlier in the summer time,'' Mbakwe said. ``Coach has been well aware of it. It's something that we're handling internally as a team and at this time I have nothing else to say about that.''

Mbakwe declined to elaborate further on the incident, but did say he is looking forward to finally hitting the court again with a deep team that enters the season with high expectations. His knee is feeling great and he's been working out and is ready to roll.

``I'll definitely have those first-game jitters,'' Mbakwe said. ``I'll definitely be excited and just ready to play again. It'll probably take me a little bit, but hopefully I'll be able to adapt pretty quick.''

He knows he's in Smith's doghouse for his latest incident. He pleaded guilty in December to violating a harassment restraining order when he admitted sending Facebook message to an ex-girlfriend last January and also redshirted a season earlier in his career while a court case stemming from assault charges in Miami played out. Mbakwe entered a six-month pretrial intervention program without admitting guilt and completed 100 hours of community service before returning to play for the Gophers.

So he understands why Smith is not just giving him starting spot back.

``I trust Coach. I know he knows what's best for the team,'' Mbakwe said. ``As long as we're winning games, if I have to come off the bench, that's fine with me. As long as I'm helping the team win.''

Smith clearly was upset by the latest incident, going so far as to say that Mbakwe's status as a player the team can rely on is far from certain. The forward has a couple of weeks to get himself back in Smith's good graces before the games begin.

But he has some work to do.

``You're talking about a guy that played seven games last year,'' Smith said. ``So he's got a lot to do to prove that he's going to be able to contribute.''

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

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

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS