Nationals

Clippers beat winless Lakers 97-91 in preseason

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Clippers beat winless Lakers 97-91 in preseason

LOS ANGELES (AP) Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points, Matt Barnes added 18 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers 97-91 on Wednesday night, keeping their Staples Center co-tenant winless in seven preseason games.

Blake Griffin had 15 points for the Clippers on a night when both teams' All-Star guards sat out.

Kobe Bryant missed his second preseason game with a strained and bruised right foot, and Chris Paul rested after being hit accidentally by a teammate in practice. Bryant won't play in the Lakers' final exhibition against Sacramento on Thursday night in San Diego, while Paul will play the Clippers' finale in Denver that night.

Pau Gasol led six Lakers in double figures with 17 points. Rookie Robert Sacre of Gonzaga, starting in place of Dwight Howard, and Metta World Peace had 13 each. Jordan Hill added 12. Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks, who started in place of Bryant, had 11 each.

Lakers coach Mike Brown said he wanted to rest Howard, who was recovering from general soreness after his team debut on Sunday.

The Clippers opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, including four by Bledsoe, to take an 80-73 lead. Blake hit a 3-pointer that drew the Lakers within one before rookie Travis Leslie ran off six in a row to keep the Clippers ahead 91-86.

Former UCLA player Ryan Hollins made consecutive baskets, extending the Clippers' lead to 95-88. World Peace missed two 3-point attempts on the same possession and then Blake lost the ball with a bad pass in the closing 2 minutes.

Both teams tried numerous lineup combinations during the game, with the Clippers resting Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill. Chauncey Billups is still a ways away from returning after a torn Achilles tendon.

The Lakers led 68-60 with less than 5 minutes to go in the third. The Clippers' second unit outscored them 12-6, including five each by Barnes and Willie Green, to trail 73-72 going into the fourth.

Paced by 10 points each from Griffin, Bledsoe and Barnes, the Clippers led 49-40 at halftime.

NOTES: Howard wore a three-piece suit on the bench, while Bryant didn't sit with the Lakers, but was in the building. ... The Clippers beat the Lakers twice when they met during last year's lockout-shortened preseason in December. ... Rapper-actor Common and former NFL star Terrell Owens attended as part of the sellout crowd of 19,060.

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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