Capitals

Calderon's triple-double helps Raptors top Rockets

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Calderon's triple-double helps Raptors top Rockets

TORONTO (AP) Jose Calderon had 18 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds and to lead the short-handed Raptors to a 103-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, giving the Raptors consecutive wins for the first time in eight long months.

Alan Anderson had 24 points, while DeMar DeRozan added 19 points for the Raptors (6-19), who hadn't won consecutive games since April 13 and 15 of last season.

Ed Davis added 13 points for Toronto.

James Harden scored 28 points for the Rockets (11-12), while Marcus Morris added 19.

The Raptors took a 77-71 lead into the fourth quarter, and stretched their advantage to nine points. But Houston made for some tense moments late in the game, cutting Toronto's lead to four points with a couple of minutes to go.

Former Raptors sharp-shooter Carlos Delfino drained two baskets in the final 1:04 to pull the Rockets to within two points, but Calderon sunk two free throws to put Toronto back up by four.

The teams traded free throws for most of the final minute. Harden, last season's Sixth Man award winner for Oklahoma City, drained a pair, Anderson went to the line to sink two, and then Chandler Parsons missed one of two with 13 seconds left.

Anderson scored on a driving reverse layup with 11 seconds to go to seal the victory for Toronto.

The Rockets have now lost seven straight on the road, a stretch that goes back to Nov. 2. It's their worst road losing streak since they dropped eight straight in 2001.

The Raptors played their third consecutive game without second-and third-leading scorers Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry. Bargnani is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his right elbow and a strained right wrist, while Lowry has a tear in his right triceps.

Jeremy Lin, who had plenty of fans in the Air Canada Centre crowd cheering him on, was held to just seven points and two assists.

Lin was in the midst of ``Linsanity'' on a previous trip to Toronto last February, draining a three at the buzzer to lead the New York Knicks to a victory over the Raptors.

``If you go on anybody's career and look at it, they're going to have a period where, man, you put up ridiculous numbers,'' Rockets coach Kevin McHale said before the game. ``I think he had one of those periods last year where everybody was, well, jeez, that's what Jeremy Lin is.

``No one in our league is a 27-point, 11-assist guy, even LeBron doesn't do that. He's figuring himself out as a young player, he really is just a young player, this is the first time he's come in and started from training camp on. Jeremy's fine, he's just going to continue to improve.''

NOTES: The Rockets beat Toronto 117-101 last month. . . The Rockets wore a green stripe on their jerseys in memory of McHale's daughter Sasha, who died last month of lupus at the age of 23. Green was her favorite color. . . Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas was presented with the Lithuanian player of the year award from Lithuanian legend Arvydas Sabonis before tipoff. . . The Raptors are in Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Tuesday. They return home to host Detroit on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler