Nationals

Beninati: Laich Beating Philly

Beninati: Laich Beating Philly

Sunday, January 17, 2010

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-By-Play

Whether or not fans have met Brooks Laich in person they can tell that he's a class act and a good guy. That's why the Verizon Center faithful was so thrilled to see Laich lead the charge today over the Flyers. After a lunchtime meeting with Bruce Bourdreau, Brooks came out energized against a Philadelphia team, he and his mates don't necessarily like.The first period was a bit rocky for Jose Theodore. The Flyers grabbed the lead when Jeff Carter cashed in a snap shot on the power play that caught Theodore between the skates. Each time the Flyers scored in the opening period, the Caps had an appropriate response. The guys were talking about a playoff atmosphere today inside the building and the arena was buzzing like it was spring time. When Laich dug a rebound out from Ray Emery to end the first period scoring summary, folks had the feeling that D.C. had taken Philly's best punch and was ready to take over.

Before I move ahead, it was deserving to mention the kinship Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble are developing in front of the net. Knuble had to love scoring from the doorstep against his old club. Once Theodore recovered from that first period he produced another solid effort in the final two frames.

This was another physical battle as most Caps-Flyers games have become. Alex Semin's power play goal gave the Caps the lead for good in the second period, but thank goodness that Mike Richards wide open slap shot caught the post.

When Brooks converted a shorting breakaway late in the middle period the roof nearly came off Verizon Center. The same thunderous applause was delivered when Ovechkin faked Emery into the the next zipcode on a penalty shot in the third.

The Caps played a solid in-your-face type game today and they have tremendous momentum with them whenever they play here surrounded by almost 19,000 red-clad rockers.That will be the color of the night on Tuesday when Detroit enters D.C. Even though they've been saddled with injuries, the Red Wings are always formidable. Don't miss that one on CSN!

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

Despite an unsuccessful season, Nationals fans have something to celebrate. Bryce Harper has hit his 100th RBI of the season.

100 RBIs is the most-ever for Harper. His previous personal best being 99 in 2015. 

Harper's 100th came off of a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Adam Eaton.

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Additionally, Monday night's game against the Miami Marlins was the 154th game played for Harper, who appeared in 153 last season.

The Nationals-Marlins series will be the final homestand for the Nats who will end their disappointing season next week in Colorado against the Rockies. 2018 is the first time in three seasons that the Nationals did not clinch at least a playoff berth.

As Harper nears free agency status with next week's season-end, his time in Washington may end but his legacy with the Nationals will live on.

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Otto Porter, Jr. wants to be more like Klay Thompson on offense and Kawhi Leonard on defense

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Otto Porter, Jr. wants to be more like Klay Thompson on offense and Kawhi Leonard on defense

Otto Porter, Jr. has heard it from coaches and teammates for over a year now, that they want him to shoot the ball more often.

He is the team's most efficient player and the more he shoots, many believe the better off the Wizards will be.

Porter took that idea, and his general quest to be a better player, in a new direction this offseason.

He specifically wants to take after Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Kawhi Leonard of the Raptors.

If Thompson can get his while playing with Curry and Durant, Porter should be able to do the same with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Thompson has averaged 16 field goal attempts or more in the past four years while running with other superstars, while Porter topped out at a career-high 11.5 shots per game last season.

"That's definitely going to be a goal of mine, just to be ultra-aggressive. I think it's best for the team and best for me to put out that effort and be more involved and kind of be like Klay Thompson and take my shots. I'm very confident in that. I'm going to instill that in every game," Porter said.

As for Leonard, Porter hopes to take after him on the defensive end. Leonard, who was traded from the Spurs to the Raptors in July, has won two defensive player of the year awards and he's only 27 years old.

Also a small forward, Porter believes he can model parts of his defensive game after Leonard.

"I watched tons of film," Porter said of his regimen this summer. "I'm learning how to guard on-ball; take my angles and be able to master that. I studied Kawhi Leonard a lot, and the angles he takes. He's very strategic with how his movements are. He never seems tired. I was able to get in [better] shape this summer. There are a lot of games, so I wanted to be in the best shape possible."

Porter has proven he can shoot at a high percentage. Now, he wants to put up volume numbers like Thompson.

Porter has proven a solid team defender. Now, he wants to become a dominant on-ball force like Leonard.

Both of those things should be good news to the Wizards.