Capitals

Clippers outmuscle Wolves in 96-90 victory

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Clippers outmuscle Wolves in 96-90 victory

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers don't take kindly to being pushed around.

Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 12 boards to lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a 96-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Caron Butler had 19 points and Jamal Crawford scored 17 for the Clippers.

Nikola Pekovic had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had coach Rick Adelman on the sideline for the first time since Jan. 5. Adelman missed the previous 11 games while his wife sought treatment for seizures.

Tempers flared in the first half when Matt Barnes was ejected and Wolves center Greg Stiemsma floored Grant Hill. But the Clippers got physical and handed the Wolves their fifth straight loss.

The Wolves went 2-9 in Adelman's absence. But the downtrodden team played with much more confidence with their leader back on the bench.

J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved led an 8-2 burst that tied the game and Andriei Kirilenko's transition layup gave Minnesota an 86-84 lead with four minutes to go.

But the Clippers got a big 3-pointer from Butler and knocked the smaller Wolves to the court for several loose balls. Griffin muscled home a three-point play with 30 seconds to go to close the game out.

Barea had 14 points and Shved 12.

The Clippers entered the game having lost four of their last five and looking a little disjointed without star point guard Chris Paul, who is out with a knee injury.

Griffin has elevated his game in Paul's absence, entering the night averaging 23.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and a staggering 6.8 assists in the last five games, picking up some of the playmaking slack left for arguably the game's best point guard.

They will get little sympathy from the injury-ravaged Timberwolves. Minnesota got Pekovic and Shved back from five-game absences, giving them 12 players on the bench for the first time since Dec. 26. They're still missing Kevin Love (broken hand), Chase Budinger (knee) and Brandon Roy (knee).

The Clippers looked a little groggy as they opened an eight-game, Oscars-related road trip. They picked up a couple of defensive 3-second violations and a bevy of technical fouls to fall behind by as many 11 points in the second quarter. Barnes got things started in the second quarter when he tried to shove his way through a screen set by Stiemsma, then threw a forearm to Stiemsma's chin. Officials reviewed the play and gave Barnes a flagrant foul-2, which brings an automatic ejection. Barnes was furious at the decision, and things got even testier moments later.

Stiemsma flattened Hill when he went up for a rebound under the basket, eliciting strong reactions from Butler and Ronny Turiaf. The two tough guys forcefully confronted Stiemsma, drawing technical fouls of their own. J.J. Barea hit both free throws for a 37-28 lead.

The outburst did seem to ignite the Clippers, who went on a 37-15 surge over the next 11 minutes to take control. Griffin flexed his muscle down low, getting Derrick Williams to pick up five fouls in 13 minutes while he attacked the offensive glass.

NOTES: It was Barnes' second ejection of the season and seventh of his career. He entered the game tied for the league lead in technical fouls with nine. ... The 6-foot-1 Bledsoe blocked the 6-foot-11 Pekovic's layup in transition in the third quarter. ... Shved was named to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge that will take place during All-Star weekend in Houston. The rookie entered the game averaging 10.7 points and 4.6 assists this season.

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”

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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

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Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!

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