Up-tempo Lakers race to 114-102 win over Phoenix


Up-tempo Lakers race to 114-102 win over Phoenix

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant had 31 points, Metta World Peace hit five 3-pointers while scoring 22 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers played Mike D'Antoni's style of up-tempo basketball in a 114-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

Dwight Howard had 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 3-1 under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff with a performance that must have impressed D'Antoni, who watched from the locker room inside Staples Center.

Although D'Antoni wasn't quite ready for sideline duty while recovering from knee replacement surgery, the Lakers played with aggression and urgency after just one practice under their new coach on Thursday. The former Suns and Knicks coach replaced Mike Brown, who was fired one tumultuous week ago.

Goran Dragic scored 22 points for the Suns, who have lost three of four.

Luis Scola scored 18 points, while Michael Beasley added 14 points and a career-high nine assists. The game is Phoenix's only road contest in a six-game stretch through Thanksgiving, but the Suns must rush home to face defending champion Miami on Saturday night.

D'Antoni got treatment on his new knee in the Lakers' locker room while he watched his new franchise run past one of his former employers. And even though it happened against the defensively questionable Suns, the Lakers quickly lived up to D'Antoni's bold Thursday prediction about their offensive capabilities: ``If we're not scoring 110, 115 points, we need to talk.''

The veteran coach is still on crutches after surgery earlier this month, but he's expected to debut on the Lakers' bench Sunday night against Houston. Bickerstaff pledged to run some of the new coach's offensive sets against the Suns, who still follow many of D'Antoni's tenets under coach Alvin Gentry.

Los Angeles took charge of an entertaining game with a 17-2 run spanning the final two quarters, including six consecutive points from Bryant and several big plays from backup big man Jordan Hill, who had 10 points and five rebounds. The Lakers surpassed 100 points with 9:26 to play on a three-point play by Howard, who is widely expected to thrive in a pick-and-roll offense.

World Peace also embraced his chances to be a 3-point shooter in D'Antoni's offense, while Pau Gasol scored 12 points on a series of spot-up jumpers in the first quarter before finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Steve Nash missed his seventh straight game for the Lakers with a small fracture in his left leg, keeping him out of his first potential matchup with the franchise with which he spent the past eight seasons, winning two NBA MVP awards and reaching two Western Conference finals with D'Antoni on the bench.

During the third quarter, the Lakers announced Nash will miss at least another week before getting re-examined next weekend. The Lakers are in the midst of a heavy slate of games, meaning the point guard is likely to miss 12 straight games before the Lakers' next projection on his return.

The results of D'Antoni's arrival seemed obvious from the opening quarter, when the Lakers scored 35 points and ran the court with an urgency they haven't consistently shown in years. Both teams traded significant runs in the second quarter, with the Lakers taking a 62-57 lead at halftime after closing with a 12-2 surge.

NOTES: Before the game, Staples Center unveiled a nearly 16-foot-tall bronze statue of NBA career scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shooting his famed skyhook. A long list of NBA greats attended the dedication ceremony, including Julius Erving and Magic Johnson. Abdul-Jabbar got a lengthy standing ovation while waving to the Lakers crowd from center court at halftime. ... The Suns have trailed by double digits in nine of their 10 games this season. ... Eddie Murphy, Andy Garcia, Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll and ``2 Broke Girls'' stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs attended the game.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

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


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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