Capitals

Dallas stuns loaded Lakers in opener, 99-91

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Dallas stuns loaded Lakers in opener, 99-91

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers have spent a month together now, and they still haven't won a game. They acknowledge it's a struggle to blend this new combination of talents into a cohesive team.

The Dallas Mavericks were happy to show them how it's done in a stunning season opener.

Darren Collison scored 17 points, Brandan Wright added 14, and the Mavericks spoiled the Los Angeles debuts of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash with a 99-91 victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night.

O.J. Mayo had 12 points as the Mavericks comfortably beat the star-studded Lakers, pulling away steadily in a drama-free second half without any help from injured Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas and Los Angeles both made big offseason moves that upended two contending teams, yet the Mavericks were much more together than their high-profile rivals.

``It was very satisfying to be up 16 points against that team, with all the low expectations (people had) for us,'' said Elton Brand, who had eight points and 11 rebounds in his first game for Dallas.

While the Mavericks celebrated an energizing win, the Lakers' superstar newcomers both had debuts to forget.

Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds while missing 11 of his 14 free throws before fouling out with 2:02 to play. That's hardly what he anticipated after arriving in a trade with Orlando last August, but not much has gone according to plan in the first month for the Lakers' starters, who barely played together during their 0-8 preseason due to Kobe Bryant's nagging injuries and Howard's deliberate return from back surgery.

``It's not an excuse, but it will all come with time,'' Howard said. ``We haven't had an opportunity to really play together as much as we want, but we're going to get it. ... We're going to chip away, and we're going to get better.''

Nash managed just seven points and four assists while trying to balance the Lakers' new motion offense with his own strengths on the pick-and-roll - all while getting roundly outplayed by Mavs newcomer Collison.

``It's growing pains, and it's a struggle,'' the two-time NBA MVP said. ``We're out of sync, and we're going to probably have some more moments in games like that.''

Bryant scored 22 points while playing on an injured right foot for the Lakers, whose loaded lineup produced a largely passionless second-half effort in front of a sellout crowd expecting to see a super team capable of contending for the franchise's 17th championship - a fact acknowledged by Bryant when he addressed the fans before the game.

``As you know, we have a lot of expectations this season,'' Bryant said. ``We're trying to live up to the expectations. We're trying to bring another championship back to where it belongs, back to Los Angeles.''

Instead, the Lakers showed how much work they will have to do to challenge Miami and the NBA's best.

``It's not the way we wanted it to go,'' said Pau Gasol, who led the Lakers with 23 points and 13 rebounds. ``We know it's not going to happen for us right away, but we've just got to stick with it.''

Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois scored 11 points apiece for the Mavericks, who snapped a six-game skid against the Lakers over the past two seasons.

``It's a great win,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ``If you execute in this league and have talent, you have a chance to win, and we did that. The Lakers are going to be fine. They've got a lot of new guys and a new system, but we were opportunistic tonight and got the job done.''

Dallas also contained Howard by using his career-long free-throw ineptitude against him - hardly a novel strategy, but one that worked particularly well when combined with Howard's opening-night nerves. The Lakers were 12 for 31 altogether from the free-throw line, including Jordan Hill's 1-for-6 effort - a major factor in their inability to close the gap on Dallas in the second half.

``I've just got to stop thinking so much and get up there and make them,'' Howard said.

Jae Crowder scored eight points in his NBA debut for the Mavericks, who are likely to be without Nowitzki for at least six more weeks while the German superstar recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. Dallas also played without new center Chris Kaman, yet had little trouble matching up with the Lakers down low.

``It was energy and effort tonight for us,'' Marion said. ``We were resilient, we kept coming, and we did what we needed to do to get a win.''

NOTES: Dallas opened its season on the road for the first time since 2007. The Mavericks had opened the season against the Lakers three previous times, losing all three games. ... Howard was called for a flagrant foul in the third quarter for hammering Brand on an open shot in the lane. ... Katy Perry, Russell Brand, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Adam Levine, Jon Cryer and Los Angeles Galaxy stars David Beckham and Robbie Keane attended the game.

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

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.