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Collison leads balanced Mavs over Wolves 113-98

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Collison leads balanced Mavs over Wolves 113-98

DALLAS (AP) Darren Collison led six players in double figures with 23 points and the Dallas Mavericks matched their season high with a third straight win in a 113-98 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

The Mavericks overcame an early spark from former Dallas guard J.J. Barea, who became a starter midway through the 2011 NBA finals against Miami and helped the franchise rally to its first title.

Barea, who was injured in two previous trips to Dallas, led the Timberwolves with 21 points. He kept Minnesota close in the first half and had a hand in a fourth-quarter rally that cut a 23-point deficit to eight.

The Timberwolves finished a 0-4 road trip that coach Rick Adelman missed for personal reasons.

O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand had 20 points each for Dallas. It was a season high for Brand. Mayo also had nine assists.

Minnesota trailed by nine in the third quarter when Dallas guard Jae Crowder beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer moments before Ricky Rubio was called for a technical foul from the bench. Less than a minute later, Alexey Shved was called for kicking out his leg when he made a 3-pointer, negating the shot. Shawn Marion scored on other end, and Mayo followed with a 3-pointer to put the Mavericks ahead 83-67 late in the third quarter.

The Dallas run eventually reached 19-5 for a 91-68 lead before the Timberwolves rallied. They thought they were within seven after Barea hit a 3-pointer with 3:16 left and the Mavericks called timeout. During the break, the deficit grew to eight at 101-93 after officials reviewed an earlier 3-pointer by Rubio and made it a 2 instead.

Collison hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 11 and keep Minnesota from getting any closer. Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

After helping Dallas win the title, Barea didn't play in his first trip to Dallas but did get a championship ring in Minnesota's only trip last season. He sat out a game earlier this season with a sprained foot.

Coming off the bench late in the first quarter, Barea had two quick assists then scored eight of Minnesota's first 10 points in the second. Barea hit three 3-pointers and a driving layup and led the Timberwolves with 11 points and four assists before halftime.

Barea, who had about 15 family members and friends in the crowd, helped Minnesota cut an 11-point deficit to 40-38 before Vince Carter converted a three-point play to start a 15-5 run that put the Mavericks up 55-43 late in the second quarter. Brand had eight points during the run and led Dallas with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half.

Marion missed all five of his shots in the first half for Dallas two nights after scoring a season-high 20 on 9-of-13 shooting against Memphis. But Marion led the Mavericks with six rebounds before halftime and finished with a team-high eight. Collison had 10 points and five assists in the first half.

NOTES: Interim Minnesota coach Terry Porter said there was nothing new on the status of Adelman, who has been out since the last home game, Jan. 8 against Atlanta, attending to his wife, who was hospitalized. Minnesota plays at home Thursday against the Clippers. ... The Mavericks matched a season low with nine turnovers Saturday against Memphis. They entered Monday with 13 or fewer in five straight games in a season notable for turnovers being a persistent problem. ... The Timberwolves were 4 of 16 from 3-point range Sunday against San Antonio, dropping them to 29.7 percent for the season heading into Monday night. In the past 10 NBA seasons, only one team has finished below 30 percent from long range.

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3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

This one is going to go the distance.

The Washington Capitals staved off elimination on Monday with a 3-0 Game 6 win to force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked unbeatable for much of the game, but T.J. Oshie finally got one past the Lightning netminder on the Caps' first power play since the second period of Game 4. Devante Smith-Pelly finished them off with a third-period tally.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

Here are the three stars of Game 6.

1.  T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the goal that saved Washington's season.

The Caps were doing everything right, but they just could not get one past Vasilevskiy. Finally, Oshie struck with a one-timer from the high-slot that just managed to beat Vasilevskiy.

Oshie also added an empty-netter to ice the game away.

We will never know how close frustration came to really wearing down Washington, but it probably came closer than you think. Just seconds before Oshie's goal, John Carlson rang a blistering slap shot off the inside of the post. It was so close, the horn went off briefly, but play continued. Had Washington not been able to finish off the power play, would they have recovered or would Vasilevskiy officially have Halaked them?

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don't let the score fool you, Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant. He really stood out in the first period when he denied great chances again and again to keep the score locked at 0-0. You knew he was on his game when he denied a great chance from Alex Ovechkin from the slot with the blocker. His best save, however, was saved for Evgeny Kuznetsov when he was on the ice and desperately extended the arm just in time to deny Kuznetsov.

Vasilevskity made a total of 32 saves in the losing effort.

3. Braden Holtby: Though he was not tested as much as his counterpart, Holtby was equally as brilliant in his 24 save performance for his fifth career playoff shutout.

The Lightning made a real push in the second and third period and some key saves by Holtby ensured the Caps did not give up the first goal or the game-tying one. The most critical save came on Anthony Cirelli in the second period with the game still tied at 0-0. A Lightning 2-on-1 resulted with Cirelli coming in all alone on Holtby, but the Caps' netminder just managed to extend the toe for the save.

Smith-Pelly had seven goals in the regular season. he has four in the playoffs. Smith-Pelly put the exclamation point on the game with his third period goal to extend the Caps' lead to 2-0.  He was set up by a phenomenal pass by Chandler Stephenson.

It was clear from the outset that the Caps wanted to be very physical in this game and Smith-Pelly really took that message to heart with 

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.