Washington Football

Clippers win 12th straight to set franchise record

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Clippers win 12th straight to set franchise record

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers weren't ready to celebrate after they set a record for the longest winning streak in the annals of a franchise that has a long and agonizing history of futility.

Chris Paul and company have bigger things in mind after breaking a 38-year-old club mark with their 12th consecutive victory, 97-85 over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

``I think the guys are learning and understanding what it takes to play at a high level consistently,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said. ``It's a good thing to have a target on your back, but that also brings a responsibility to play at a high level as often as possible.''

The previous franchise record was set by the Buffalo Braves during the 1974-75 season, when Del Negro was 8. The head coach back then was Jack Ramsay, whose formidable roster included Bob McAdoo, Garfield Heard, Randy Smith, Jim McMillian, Jack Marin and Bob Weiss.

That team won 49 games - still a record for a beleaguered organization that has called three cities home, wasted first-round draft picks on Benoit Benjamin, Terry Dehere, Michael Olowokandi and Darius Miles, and was labeled ``the worst franchise in sports history'' by Sports Illustrated in an April 17, 2000, cover story.

Paul had 24 points and 13 assists, and Blake Griffin added 21 points and 13 rebounds in the record-setting victory for the Clippers, who have had 20 double-digit losing streaks since their 11-game winning streak in Buffalo - including a dozen of 12 or more. They lost their first 16 in 1994-95, their first 17 of the lockout-shortened 1988-89 season, and the final 14 in 1986-87. The club record for consecutive defeats is 19, set in 1981-82 and equaled in 1988-89.

After the win Paul was thinking about Ron Harper, Corey Maggette and other former players who endured all that losing.

``Most of those guys have been here through tougher times,'' Paul said. ``I know Ron Harper really well. He's a good friend of mine, and he's excited for us. We just played against Corey Maggette, and he was excited to see how it is now. So it's been exciting for me in the short amount of time I've been here, especially knowing some of the people who have been with the team for 25 or 30 years and the season-ticket holders. But we can't be satisfied. We've got to keep it going.''

The Clippers' turnaround got started thanks to the arrival of Griffin, the blockbuster trade that brought Paul from the New Orleans Hornets last December, and a bench that is among the deepest in the NBA. The Clippers, who have the league's longest active winning streak, own the NBA's second-best record at 20-6 and trail Oklahoma City by just one game.

``You have to have players. You have to have talent. You have to have guys believing in what you're doing, and finding ways to win and being consistent,'' Del Negro said.

This is the earliest the Clippers' franchise has ever reached the 20-win mark, and only the sixth time they did it with a winning record - including a 20-11 start last season. The previous club record in that department also was set in 1974-75, when the Braves started out 20-8. Just four seasons ago the Clips finished 19-63 under Mike Dunleavy.

``I remember the year I got drafted. The season before that they had only 19 wins. So what we've accomplished so far is great,'' Griffin said. ``But the best thing about it for me is being a part of something that's much bigger than Chris or I. It takes everybody from top to bottom - the GM, the coaching staff, the players, everybody. And from Day 1 since I've been here, everybody's been serious about changing.''

Los Angeles beat Sacramento for the fifth straight time - including all three meetings last season. The Clippers haven't lost to anyone since Nov. 26 at Staples Center, when New Orleans beat them 105-98 and held Griffin to four points and one field goal - both career lows.

Reserve guard Jimmer Fredette had 16 points for Sacramento, which is 1-11 on the road. DeMarcus Cousins was benched for the entire second half by coach Keith Smart, who ordered him to remain in the locker room after he scored nine points in 20 minutes.

Neither went into detail.

``I won't share that right now, but it's just a conduct issue,'' Smart said. ``We're trying to set a standard here, and when guys move below that standard, things are going to take place. We'll just move on to the next game and I'll make some decisions from there.''

Cousins was contrite after the game.

``What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. But I was wrong. I was wrong,'' Cousins said. ``I'm a player that definitely wants to win every night, and I'm an emotional player. That's never going to change. But I shouldn't have responded back. Something was said, and I just should have stayed quiet. Is it a humbling thing? Yeah, I will say that. I mean, I messed up and I apologize to my teammates for responding the way I did and I'll move on from it.''

The Kings, who had their highest-scoring game of the season Wednesday night in a 131-127 home win against Golden State, have dropped six of seven. Tyreke Evans missed his third straight game and eighth in the last 12 because of a sore left knee. He also was sidelined for the Kings' 116-81 loss at Los Angeles on Dec. 1, when the Clippers posted their largest margin of victory since the franchise left Buffalo.

Caron Butler's 3-pointer gave Los Angeles its biggest lead, 58-41, with 10:05 left in the third quarter. The Kings narrowed the gap to 63-57 with a 16-5 run capped by Fredette's 3-pointer with 4:25 left in the quarter, but that was as close as they got.

Paul helped put the game away with a pair of 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes.

NOTES: The teams the Clippers have beaten during this streak have a combined winning percentage of .401 (116-173). The Kings (8-18) are the only team they have faced twice in that stretch. ... The Clippers are at Phoenix on Saturday night, trying to break a franchise-record road winning streak of five - by those same `74-75 Buffalo Braves. ... The Los Angeles Lakers, who share Staples Center with the Clippers, haven't won 12 or more games in a row during one season since 1999-00, when they had streaks of 16 and 19. ... Fredette missed a free throw with 3:48 remaining, ending his streak at 33 in a row.

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'I think it's a travesty': Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley upset by name change

'I think it's a travesty': Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley upset by name change

For many who have played for -- or even just followed -- the Washington football team over the years, the name change can be seen as a bittersweet moment. It's viewed by many as a necessary change, but also the end of an era filled with history.

Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley sees nothing "sweet" about the switch in monikers, as his feelings toward the decision are mostly bitter.

In an interview with ABC 7 News' Scott Abraham, Moseley shared how he felt about the name change, expressing great disappointment. To him, the ones most negatively impacted by the decision are the Native Americans.

“Well, I’m disappointed naturally that we’ve given up the fight here," Moseley said. "I’m disappointed here because they are the ones that are losing with this. They respected us, they loved the Redskins. That’s all I got.”

“Now, what do they gain from this? What are the Native Americans going to gain from this? Absolutely nothing. What do they lose? The constant representation of their people," Moseley said.

Moseley explained that throughout his life, and especially during and after his time with Washington, he has made an effort to connect with the Native American community. Through visits, football camps and more, he feels he has a strong understanding of how the name change really impacts the community. 

Based on his past conversations, Moseley believes that the Native American community didn't want the name change. Rather, it was the past moniker that was helping people learn about their history.

“That’s not what they wanted, I can assure you from personal experience of meeting with hundreds and hundreds of them, that’s not what they wanted," Moseley said.

"These radicals once again are going to jump up and down holler and scream that we won, we won," Moseley said. "They haven't won a damn thing. All they have done is hurt the Native Americans. I hope they are happy with themselves."

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As for the conversation on how the name change impacts the history of the franchise, Moseley feels that isn't what the focus should be. To him, it's not the franchise past that will be forgotten

“That’s not the point. That’s where this is all gong wrong. That’s not the point," Moseley said. “The point is that people are taking away liberties every day and this is just another one of them. The name Redskins was not doing anything but helping the Native Americans. It was keeping their name out there, it was making people remember who they are.”

Moseley, who played 13 seasons in Washington, always saw it as an honor to represent that Native Americans with the name and logo. It was a reason he spent so much time with the franchise, stating that it was bigger than the game of football.

“Me as a player, I took great honor and respect to that name," Moseley said. "Every game, every year, year after year after year that I played here I played because that name meant something.”

“I think it’s a travesty that they’re taking that away from the Native Americans here," Moseley said.

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Though Moseley is strongly against the name change, he's accepted that change is sometimes inevitable. He personally believes it was the wrong choice, but is now going to "learn to live with it."

He believes others against the decision will as well. When it comes down to it, the name is only one part of the franchise. For Moseley, as much as he loved what it represented, it's the players past and present that truly make Washington football what it is.

“It’s not really the name so much as it is the players. That’s who the fans, the fans love the players. Those guys that are out there every Sunday, those guys that every day they work their butts off to get bigger, stronger, faster so they can improve and make the team a better team," Moseley said. "That’s what it’s all about, and that’s going to continue."

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Which Nationals would have been named All-Stars in a normal season?

Which Nationals would have been named All-Stars in a normal season?

July 14, 2020 was supposed to be a day for celebrating the best players in Major League Baseball. The 2020 MLB All-Star Game, set to take place that evening at Dodger Stadium, had the promise of putting some of the biggest names on display such as Mookie Betts in his new LA threads, Gerrit Cole still fresh off signing a $324 million deal last winter and Mike Trout from only a few miles down the road.

However, the coronavirus pandemic had other plans. MLB suspended spring training on March 12 and spent three months on hold before ultimately settling on a 60-game season that begins July 23. As a result, there will be no All-Star Game for the first time since 1945.

The Nationals, coming off their first World Series title in franchise history, have plenty of stars who would’ve merited consideration. Even with 2019 NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon departing for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency, there’s no shortage of talent in D.C.

Here are the players that stood the best chance of representing the Nationals in this year’s All-Star Game.

The favorites

SP Max Scherzer

Name value alone could’ve gotten him in if fans could vote on pitchers, but even a 35-year-old Scherzer can’t be counted out of making another run at the NL Cy Young.

SP Stephen Strasburg,

The reigning World Series MVP is already a three-time All-Star and coming off an offseason in which he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal to return to Washington.

LF Juan Soto

Making his first All-Star team would seem like something of a formality for Soto, who has already established himself as one of the game’s best young stars.

RELATED: DANIEL HUDSON ISN’T SURE A 60-GAME MLB SEASON CAN DETERMINE THE BEST TEAM

Needed a career year

SP Patrick Corbin

Corbin was given the Warren Spahn Award for the best left-hander in baseball last season and is no stranger to the Midsummer Classic. If he could’ve avoided the infrequent implosion (five starts of 5+ runs allowed in 2019) on the mound, he stood a good chance of posting numbers worthy of a selection.

RP Sean Doolittle

With Will Harris and Daniel Hudson in the fold, Doolittle wouldn’t have been relied on as much as he was last season. By getting more rest and still handling closer duties for a contending team, Doolittle certainly would’ve been in the running.

SS Trea Turner

No broken finger holding him back, Turner had a chance to show he can help replace some of Rendon’s production in what would’ve been his age-27 season. Shortstop is a deep position in the NL (Trevor Story, Javier Báez, Fernando Tatís Jr., Corey Seager) but Turner has to make it one of these years, right?

2B Starlin Castro

Castro may not be the first player who comes to mind when you hear “four-time All-Star” but that’s what happens when a young, healthy infielder plays every day during a rebuild. However, coming off a 2019 second half in which he hit .302 with 16 home runs, Castro came to D.C. looking to show he’s developed into a different kind of player.

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If he made the leap

CF Victor Robles

Though it’s a bit of a long shot considering his struggles at the plate as a rookie, Robles has always displayed the tools that make coaches dream of what he can become. As he gains a few more pounds—Robles is one of the strongest players on the team—and improves his plate discipline, there’s no telling what his ceiling might be.

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