Nationals

Appling helps Michigan State rally past Boise St

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Appling helps Michigan State rally past Boise St

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Keith Appling scored 22 points while Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine made key contributions to help slow-starting Michigan State rally twice to beat Boise State 74-70 on Tuesday night.

Appling was 8-for-14 from the field and delivered the critical three-point play in the final minute. Valentine had 12 points in his first career start, while Dawson added 10 points, five rebounds and three steals for the No. 15 Spartans (3-1), who suffered a major blow for at least one night when high-scoring freshman Gary Harris suffered a shoulder injury in the opening minute.

Derrick Marks scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half before fouling out with 2:37 left for Leon Rice's Broncos (3-1), who had already beaten Texas Southern, Oakland and Louisiana in the five-team Spartan Showcase.

With former Spartans' great Magic Johnson watching, Appling had the best game of his career. He added five rebounds and three steals.

Michigan State tried to build on a six-point halftime lead by working the ball inside to Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, then having them wheel to the basket or pass the ball back out for open shots, the kind of inside-out attack Izzo had wanted all season.

But a pair of Payne errors with shot selection and a sloppy pass brought Boise State back into the game. A series of moves to the basket paid off for the Broncos when the Spartans lost focus on defense and the ball on offense. When Marks hit four straight free throws after a flagrant and a technical, Boise State led 59-56. A steal and layup by Marks made it a five-point game.

A Payne roll to the basket, Brandan Kearney's two free throws after an Appling steal and a Valentine dunk after a Dawson block and a long outlet from Appling put Michigan State ahead to stay. Appling did the rest with a sweet move in transition, a steal and slam and another three-point drive.

Michigan State scored the game's first points on a Denzel Valentine 3, then watched Boise State take control of the first nine minutes. It didn't help that Harris, the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week and a 16-points-per-game scorer, jammed his shoulder on a routine sideline exchange and didn't return.

Boise State fell to 0-6 against Big Ten opponents and 5-34 against ranked teams, despite giving Michigan State a scare and plenty to work on before Friday night's game with Oakland. It was the Broncos' second four-point loss in East Lansing in less than three months. The Spartans prevailed 17-13 in football in late August.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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