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Austin Hollins leads No. 9 Minnesota past NW 69-51

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Austin Hollins leads No. 9 Minnesota past NW 69-51

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Austin Hollins hit five 3-pointers during an impressive three-minute stretch in the second half, finishing with 19 points and sparking ninth-ranked Minnesota to a 69-51 victory over Northwestern on Sunday night.

Hollins missed his career scoring high by one, collecting 17 points during a 26-7 run that gave the Gophers a 45-25 lead. Minnesota (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) has won 10 in a row for its longest winning streak since it opened the 2008-09 season with 12 straight victories.

Dave Sobolewski had 10 points, five assists and four steals for the Wildcats (9-6, 0-2), who were outrebounded 47-20. That's the fewest rebounds by a Gophers opponent all season.

Reggie Hearn returned for Northwestern after missing two games because of a sprained left ankle, finishing with 11 points. But the Wildcats, missing star Drew Crawford because of season-ending shoulder surgery, couldn't keep up down the stretch.

Hollins hit his first four 3-pointers from almost exactly the same spot on the left wing. After a timeout, he moved to the right corner and swished one from there, too, drawing a chant of his name from the impressed crowd.

Northwestern hasn't won at Minnesota since coach Tubby Smith took over for the 2007-08 season.

This was an important win for the Gophers, who play at No. 11 Illinois and No. 5 Indiana next week. It was the fewest points allowed by Minnesota in a Big Ten game in almost two years, since giving up 45 to Iowa on Feb. 13, 2011.

The Wildcats were stuck with a daunting start to the Big Ten season, with five of their first seven conference games against teams ranked this week in the top 11 of The Associated Press poll, though a lot of teams will face similar stretches this year in this top-heavy league.

In a 94-66 loss to No. 2 Michigan on Thursday, the Wildcats were lured by the Wolverines into an up-and-down, faster pace they can't play. So in this one, coach Bill Carmody made sure his team stayed with the usual deliberate offensive style that complements the tricky 1-3-1 zone defense.

The strategy worked for a while.

The Gophers helped the Wildcats by missing their first five free throws, ending the slide in the final minute of the first half when Williams swished a pair, prompting a mock cheer from the restless crowd and pushing Minnesota's lead to 17-13.

What gives this Gophers team a true advantage over a lot of opponents is defense - currently the conference leader in blocks and steals - to endure a shooting slump in an ugly game. The first offensive highlight came with 14:22 remaining when Mbakwe drove into the lane and finished with a tomahawk dunk to bring the fans to their feet and put the Gophers in front 26-18. He set that up, though, by jumping in the lane and using his exceptional reach to swat a short shot by Alex Olah.

Then Hollins took over. He made two of three foul shots, and Williams cut across the lane to catch the rebound of his miss with one hand and smoothly tip the ball for a banked-in put-back.

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Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': You'll absolutely love this Ron Rivera halftime speech

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Amazon Prime

Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': You'll absolutely love this Ron Rivera halftime speech

Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode five, "It Happens."

The first four episodes of 2018's All Or Nothing, which closely followed Ron Rivera's Panthers from the start of the season to the end, have led to thoughtful reviews about the coach's steady leadership and how he believes in building confidence in his young players.

This review, however, is going to be simpler than the previous installments. In fact, it'd be difficult to get much simpler, honestly.

That's because the climax of the fifth episode involves Rivera ripping into his team at halftime, and the ripping goes on for 60 straight and intense seconds, and few things are cooler than getting access inside of a locker room where this level of ripping is occuring, so this story exists just to highlight the ripping.

The reason Rivera goes off on the Panthers is because of a very poor first half on the road against the Steelers. Carolina went into Pittsburgh hoping to make a statement on prime time, but instead, they got worked to the tune of a 31-14 deficit through two quarters.

So, Rivera lets his guys have it. First, he addresses corner Donte Jackson, who was losing his one-on-one battle with Antonio Brown. After that, he goes in on everyone else. Here's a transcript of it all (pretty much every sentence could have an exclamation point at the end of it, by the way, so read this in your best yelling voice):

Don't lose your mind. Don't let him get inside your head. You got just as much skill and ability as anybody on that damn field. You don't let that (redacted) push you around. You're too good, but you've got to keep your mind in the game and stay focused, all right? Don't let him get to you. You are too good of a football player to worry about (redacted) like that, all right? You go out and do your job.

Now, the rest of you (redacted), the same thing. The only thing they've gotten on us has been what? Two (redacted) long passes. You have to challenge these (redacted) guys. You can't sit there and accept it. This is their (redacted) history. This is who the (redacted) they are. They expect you guys to (redacted) roll over. You can't. You've got to defy them and challenge their (redacted). You've got to hit the (redacted) (redacted) center in his (redacted) mouth. That's how you beat these (redacted) teams. These (redacted) teams come out because they think they've got (redacted). And they challenge your (redacted). Well (redacted) them. Challenge them back. Find out what they're really made of. 

While All Or Nothing is a produced show, Rivera's passionate speech wasn't followed by a made-for-TV comeback. In fact, the second half was worse than the first, with the Panthers losing the contest 52-21. That said, the rant was 1) still compelling as (redacted) and 2) a look at a side of the 58-year-old Redskins fans obviously haven't seen yet.

Since taking over the Burgundy and Gold in January, Rivera gave an introductory press conference that featured only hints of his competitive nature. After that day, he's done plenty of other interviews, but they've been fairly typical or even lighter conversations.

The version of Ron that lit up the Panthers that night in 2018 will probably only show up from late-summer to late-winter or so, when meaningful practices and games are taking place. Until then, the calm and thoughtful (though still serious) vibes he's given off so far with the Redskins when behind a microphone or on-camera should continue.

However, as episode five of Amazon's project highlighted, Rivera's not afraid to turn the dial up so much it snaps off in his hand. 

In recent years, big-name Washington players like Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Allen have made it clear that they didn't like how easygoing Redskins Park felt at times, specifically when the results on the field suggested a need for more accountability and discipline.

When watching Rivera sound off on his old team, it was hard not to think how that approach will be more than welcome on his new team.

Here is a link to the uncensored speech. If around family, you may want to put some headphones in before watching.

Links to past reviews:

Episode 1: Rivera doesn't flinch after adversity hits

Episode 2: Rivera shows his feelings on distractions

Episode 3: Special teams truly mean something to Ron

Episode 4: Young Redskins will have a chance in 2020

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This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

With the NBA season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wizards, or any team for that matter, are currently unable to make their mark on the NBA history books. 

So on this day, March 28th, we roll the clocks back 17 years to a major moment in not only Wizards history, but in NBA history as well. The final meeting between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. 

2003 was Jordan's second season in Washington and his last in a legendary 15-year career where he won six championships, five MVPs, 10 scoring titles and nine All-Defensive selections.

If anyone came close to being the next MJ, it was Bryant. By their final meeting, the 24-year-old prodigy already had three titles and more than enough reason to put on a show against his idol. 

Bryant went for 55 points against the Wizards, scoring 42 in the first half. He went 15-for-29 from the field and made 9-of-13 from three. Safe to say, Bryant was on a mission following a one-point loss to the Wizards earlier that season. 

He scored an inefficient 27 points on 8-21 shooting and was outplayed by a 40-year-old Jordan. According to Gilbert Arenas, Jordan told Bryant he would never fill his shoes following the loss. In true Bryant fashion, he held onto that moment, apparently didn't talk to his teammates for two weeks leading up to the rematch and took it all out on the Wizards. 

Jordan didn't have a bad game by any stretch. He still scored 23 points on 10-20 shooting to go along with four assists, but he was simply no match for Bryant. 

The Wizards would go on to finish 37-45 miss out on the playoffs and take Jarvis Hayes with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The Lakers went for the first run of four-straight titles since Bill Russell's Celtics but fell short in the Western Conference Semifinals to Tim Duncan and the Spurs. They'd return to the Finals the following year only to lose to the Pistons. After that, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami and the Lakers didn't win a championship for another five years. 

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