Capitals

Spurs beat Wizards 100-85 in preseason finale

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Spurs beat Wizards 100-85 in preseason finale

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Tim Duncan and Stephen Jackson each scored 16 points, and the San Antonio Spurs closed the preseason with a 100-85 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Tony Parker added 16 points and Kawhi Leonard 11 for San Antonio (4-3). Duncan was 7 for 13 from the field and had 13 rebounds in 28 minutes at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs open the regular season Oct. 31 at New Orleans.

A.J. Price and Jan Vesely each scored 13 points for Washington (3-5), and Earl Barron added 12.

The Wizards visit Cleveland on Tuesday in their regular-season opener.

Washington sat its starters for much of the fourth quarter after leading most of the game.

Jackson hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run at the close of the third quarter as the Spurs took a 74-66 lead after a slow start.

Washington held a 40-27 lead with 9 minutes left in the first half following an 18-8 run. The Wizards built their lead as the Spurs' starters sat for about eight minutes bridging the first and second quarters.

San Antonio rallied once its starting lineup returned, with Parker scoring eight points in an 18-5 run.

Boris Diaw scored on a fast-break layup to give San Antonio a 61-59 lead, its first since holding a 4-2 advantage. Parker set up Diaw's basket with a diving save out of bounds on a Washington miss.

The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, who sat out with back spasms.

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How Evgeny Kuznetsov could have changed Tuesday's outcome

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USA TODAY Sports

How Evgeny Kuznetsov could have changed Tuesday's outcome

With the score tied at 0 in the second period, the Caps had a chance to put the first goal on the board on their second power play of the night. Specifically, Evgeny Kuznetsov had a chance to score the first goal of the game and his first of the season. But with a golden opportunity on his stick, Kuznetsov waited too long to shoot the puck the opportunity was lost. It is an issue that has seemingly plagued Kuznetsov throughout his career and one that may have cost the Caps a chance at two points on Tuesday.

After a scrum in the left corner, the puck was fed over to John Carlson on the right near the blue line. With some room to work with, he advanced to the top of the right circle and then fired a pass cross-ice to Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov had set up shop in Alex Ovechkin’s office in the left faceoff circle and the Leafs evidently forgot about him.

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With the puck on his stick and no one between him and Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, Kuznetsov waited. He waited so long in fact that forward Connor Brown was able to backcheck and turned what would have been a very good opportunity into a much easier save for Andersen.

“A guy caught him,” Barry Trotz said after the game. “Just get it off quick. Guys close quick on you defensively.”

Would Kuznetsov have scored if he had fired the shot? Would the Caps have won if he had scored? We don’t know, but Kuznetsov would have had a better chance at scoring had he shot the puck quickly and Washington would have been in a better position to win if they had gotten the first goal on the board.

It was just another moment that made fans watching in Capital One Arena and at home yell in unison, “Kuznetsov, shoot the puck!”

MORE CAPITALS: A SHORTHANDED CAPS TEAM SUFFERED AN EARLY INJURY AGAINST TORONTO

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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

In a rematch of last year’s ridiculously entertaining first round playoff matchup, the high-flying Maple Leafs skated away with a 2-0 victory over the Caps on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. The Caps are now 3-3-1 on the season.

Here are Tarik’s three stars of the game.

1-Connor Brown, Maple Leafs

Most people had Brown scoring the decisive goal, right? The winger started the season on the fourth line but was promoted to the third line ahead of this game—and he made the most of the opportunity. At 5:53 of the third period, Brown fought off Evgeny Kuznetsov, pounced on a rebound and pounded the puck between Braden Holtby’s pads. Interestingly, the Leafs came into the game leading the league in goals per at 5.20.

2-Braden Holtby, Capitals

The Caps’ starter did all he could, turning away 28 of 29 shots he faced. Holts was at his best on the penalty kill, where he stopped all three shots the Leafs put on him. His best save of the game likely came in the opening moments of the game—a right pad stop on James van Riemsdyk, who was looking to finish a 2-on-1.

3-John Carlson, Capitals

With Matt Niskanen week-to-week with an upper body injury, the minutes load has fallen on No. 74’s shoulders. And it did again vs. Toronto. Carlson finished with 27:33 of ice time. He also had a couple of good looks early on but he couldn’t finish.

Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

More Capitals: Must See Photos: Toronto 2 Caps 0 10/17/17