Capitals

Mystics seek relief against Sun

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Mystics seek relief against Sun

Two of the Mystics 12 gloomy losses this season have come against the Connecticut Sun, leaders of the Eastern Conference pack. A home-and-home scenario between the two sides tips off on Tuesday morning. Based on this seasons head-to-head and collective results, the projected forecast for Washington when it comes to avoiding another pair of defeats, ominous.After coming up with a winning formula against Phoenix on July 1, the Mystics (3-12) have dropped two straight including Sundays stunning 16-point road loss to the three-win Tulsa Shock. Looking to reverse the trend, one that has seen Washington lose seven of eight games, against surging Connecticut (12-4) is the epitome of an uphill battle. Its one the last place squad must grapple with and quickly. Only three games remain before the WNBAs month-long Olympic break. The first one tips off at 11:30 AM on Tuesday at home followed by a Wednesday road contest in Connecticut.Our goal is to play better for longer stretches of time and to put together a 40 minute game, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said following the 78-62 loss at Tulsa. There are stretches where we play well and we look good and then we have defensive breakdowns and we turn the ball over. We allow teams to go on runs and that has to stop. After Fridays 78-73 home loss to San Antonio, center Michelle Snow offered a blunt assessment of the current situation. "It's very frustrating. I'm not used to losing,'' said Snow, a 10-year veteran playing her first season in Washington. "You just want to scream, you want to blow up, you want to fight, whatever it takes to wake everybody up. Honestly, a change is going to come. You can be part of that change here or you'll just be part of that rotation (leaving town). That's the way any job is.''The main job for Snow and her fellow post players against Connecticut involves containing Tina Charles. Good luck. The center and 2012 Olympian averages 18.6 points and ranks second in the league with 11.6 rebounds.In a 94-86 win over the Mystics on June 3, Charles exploded for a season-high 30 points, knocking down 13 of 22 field goal attempts. In the June 29 rematch,her13 and 10 double-double spurred ona 77-64 victory at the Verizon Center.Tina is a great player and she is going to do her thing, Mystics leading scorer Crystal Langhorne said after tangling the first time with Charles. We let her get some easy chip-ins in the first half, which got her going, and then she was really hot in the second half and she was hitting everything. We just needed to contain her a little better than we did.Charles is not the Suns only threat, or Olympian. Forward Asjha Jones averages 12.8 points, a number boosted by the she20 points she tallied in the road win. Collectively the Sun, winners of two straight and sixconsecutive against Washington,average 83 points per game. That's nearly 14 more than the Mystics, the leagues lowest scoring team.Only Langhorne reached double figures against Tulsa as the Mystics struggled with consistency and maintaining possession, giving away scoring opportunities with 19 turnovers. Our main focus when we play Connecticut is slowing down our offense, said Langhorne, who is averaging 18 points against the Sun and 16.6 overall. They have great post players and great shooters. We just really need to pick it up.Pick it up, and quickly.

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4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Flames

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USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Caps lost to the Flames

After winning five straight at home a confident Capitals team was dealt a tough blow in a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. Lars Eller scored 62 seconds into the game, but the Flames scored the next four straight goals for the win.

Here's why the Caps lost.

Calgary's quick response to the first goal

The Capitals took the lead just 1:02 into the game, but it lasted only 3:47. The Caps are a team that seems to thrive off early energy. They looked lethargic in the first period in both Nashville and Colorado and they lost because of it. The quick response by the Flames did not allow Washington to take advantage of the energy, the momentum or the crowd after taking the early lead.

RELATED: SEE TARIK'S THREE STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-FLAMES

A bad defensive lapse in the first period

Covering only half of the ice is an inadvisable defensive strategy. In the first period, John Carlson and Brooks Orpik were both caught on the right side of the ice leaving nothing but open ice for Johnny Gaudreau to work with.

From the replay, it did not appear the Caps’ defensemen were caught on a bad line change, it was just a bad defensive lapse. Unfortunately for Washington, Gaudreau is the wrong player to leave wide open and he was able to score Calgary’s first goal.

The second period

The Caps were outshot 13-6 in the middle frame and three of Washington’s six shots came in the final three minutes of the period. Calgary completely dictated the play in the second and took the 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Sean Monahan.

MORE CAPITALS: SEE THE LATEST NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

Special teams

Calgary had the worst penalty kill in the NHL coming into Monday’s game with a kill rate of just 70.6-percent. Advantage Washington, right? Not so much. Washington had three power play opportunities and did not score on any of them. The Caps were also called for five minor penalties of their own. Of Calgary’s four goals, two of them came on the power play and another came one second after a penalty had expired. What should have been an advantage for Washington turned into a disadvantage as the Flames outscored the Caps 2-0 on special teams.

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Wizards continue dominance of Bucks with huge road win

Wizards continue dominance of Bucks with huge road win

The Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks 99-88 on Monday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Statement win: Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks still have a ways to go if they plan on catching up to the Washington Wizards.

In what has become a five-year trend, the Wizards continue to have Milwaukee's number. The Wizards have now won 15 of their last 20 meetings going back to 2012. There is no question the Bucks are one of the most talented young teams in the NBA, but John Wall and the Wizards have absolutely owned them.

Wall was able to return after missing Sunday's game and that was a big storyline, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. stole the show. He came through with 18 points in 22 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting. That included 10 points in the fourth quarter. He was 3-for-5 from three-point range.

All five Wizards starters reached double figures and the same was the case for the Bucks. Marcin Gortat (10 points, 15 rebounds) took advantage of the Bucks being the NBA's worst rebounding team. Otto Porter (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Bradley Beal (23 points) also came up big.

Antetokounmpo had 23 points, but shot just 38.1 percent from the field. The Wizards were playing the second game of a back-to-back, but it was the Bucks who looked sluggish.

Wall played: After missing Sunday's game against the Raptors with a swollen left knee, Wall returned to the Wizards lineup on Monday in time to face one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Wall's presence certainly helped, though it didn't appear like he is fully back to 100 percent.

Wall didn't have the same burst we are used to, and he didn't shoot well, but he was productive. He finished with 15 points and six assists.

Wall looked to be more cautious than he was on Friday night against the Heat, when he was held back by the injury.

[RELATED: BUCKS COACH JASON KIDD MISSES GAME VS. WIZARDS]

Beal makes history: With his first three of the game in the third quarter, Beal made history as the youngest player ever to hit 700 threes in the NBA. Naturally, it was assisted by Wall.

Here's the play:

The list of players with the most three-pointers before their 25th birthday is a great one an dit includes another Wizards:

1. Gilbert Arenas: 24 years, 316 days (779)
2. J.R. Smith: 24 years, 149 days (777)
3. Kyrie Irving: 24 years, 364 days (701)
4. Kevin Durant: 24 years, 198 days (701)
5. Bradley Beal: 24 years, 145 days (700)

Some fireworks: Anytime these teams face each other these days, it's worth recalling how the Wizards didn't like Antetokounmpo staying in late in a game last December to chase his career-high. Though there were no major dustups in this one, there were two moments that suggested the Wizards do not care much for the Greek Freak.

This first one was instigated by Antetokounmpo. Early in the first quarter he drew a foul on Markieff Morris and then talked some trash. The play earned both players technical fouls:

Then, in the second quarter Beal caught Antetokounmpo with a chasedown block. Aftewards, Beal gave him a nice stare as he walked by:

A playoff series between these teams would be fun to watch.

Up next: The Wizards have a day off before heading to Charlotte to see the Hornets for the first time this season. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington Plus.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]