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Clippers beat Heat 107-100 for 4th straight win

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Clippers beat Heat 107-100 for 4th straight win

LOS ANGELES (AP) Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had double-doubles, with Paul keying a third-quarter spurt that helped carry the Los Angeles Clippers to a 107-100 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Griffin had 20 points and 14 rebounds and Paul had 16 points and 10 assists to lead five players in double figures in the Clippers' fourth straight win. Jamal Crawford added 22 points off the bench.

LeBron James scored 30 points for the defending NBA champions, who lost their fifth in a row against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Ray Allen added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Heat dropped to 2-2 on their current six-game trip.

Dwyane Wade was held to six points - well below his 18.4 average - playing with a sprained left foot that kept him out of the morning shootaround.

The Clippers were clinging to a 72-70 lead in the third quarter when Paul switched from distributor to scorer, running off 13 straight points and extending their lead to 85-74 going into the fourth. The Clippers hit five 3-pointers in building the game's first double-digit lead after neither team led by more than six points in the first half.

Wade was called for a technical after tangling with Ryan Hollins and then he missed a jumper over Hollins on Miami's last shot of the third.

The Clippers' roll continued into the fourth, with Eric Bledsoe scoring their first eight points for a 93-76 lead. Griffin and Paul were on the bench, giving the second unit its chance to dominate the offense. Bledsoe finished with 12 points and Caron Butler had 15.

Griffin and Paul returned after Miami cut its deficit to 104-93 with 3:47 remaining. But it was only for insurance as the Heat failed to make a serious run in the closing minutes.

Miami led 54-52 at halftime. James wasted no time asserting himself with a driving dunk 12 seconds into the game. The Clippers answered with eight straight points, the biggest run either team managed in the half.

Both teams put on a riveting display of dunks, 3-point shooting and power moves. The crowd cheered when Bledsoe blocked Wade on his way to the basket and then Norris Cole airballed a 3-pointer after the Heat recovered the ball.

NOTES: Wade hurt his foot in the third quarter of Monday's game at Houston when he stepped on teammate Chris Bosh. Wade stumbled out of bounds in the fourth quarter and went down after getting caught on one of the referees. ... Crawford has 164 points off the bench, making him the highest scoring reserve in the league this season. ... The Heat is 13-12 on the road all-time against the Clippers. ... The teams meet once more this season in Miami.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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USA TODAY Sports

John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

The Capitals had two major items on their to-do list this offseason: Sign a coach and re-sign defenseman John Carlson. Now all they need is a coach.

Carlson was on the verge of becoming one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer on July 1. Instead, he has agreed to a major deal to stay in Washington, it has been confirmed to NBC Sports Washington. The deal will be for eight years, $64 million carrying a cap hit of $8 million per year.

The contract also reportedly includes protection for the lockout seasons.

The Caps attached Brooks Orpik and his $5.5 million cap hit along with Philipp Grubauer in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, helping free up a significant amount of cap space to help re-sign the star defenseman.

Carlson, 28, had a career year with 15 goals and 68 points in 2017-18. He followed that up with an incredibly strong postseason performance with five goals and 20 points in 24 games.

The Carlson contract was one of the biggest decisions of the offseason because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the team's remaining free agents. Now general manager Brian MacLellan knows exactly how much he has to spend on free agents like Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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