Nationals

Durant, Thunder send Lakers to 6th straight loss

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Durant, Thunder send Lakers to 6th straight loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kevin Durant scored 42 points, Russell Westbrook had 27 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder easily sent the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers to their sixth straight loss, 116-101 Friday night.

Kevin Martin scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers for the Thunder, who romped to a 27-point lead in the second half of their seventh win in nine games. Oklahoma City (28-8) matched the Clippers for the NBA's best record with a virtuoso game from Durant, who had 38 points midway through the third quarter.

Kobe Bryant scored 28 for the Lakers, on their first six-game skid since March 2007.

Antawn Jamison added 19 points as Los Angeles looked lost and overmatched in its third straight game without starting big men Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

The Thunder eliminated Bryant and the Lakers from last season's playoffs in five games, but Los Angeles has shown few signs of being able to compete with Oklahoma City this season. Injuries aren't the only problem, but Howard likely is out for at least another week with a shoulder injury, while Gasol still hasn't been cleared to return from his concussion.

Steve Nash had seven points and seven assists in a quiet 30 minutes for the Lakers, who announced during the second quarter that backup big man Jordan Hill likely needs season-ending surgery on his left hip. Metta World Peace added 12 points, going 1 for 9 on 3-point attempts.

The Lakers (15-21) hadn't lost this many consecutive games since the year before they acquired Gasol and embarked on a run to three straight NBA finals. With Cleveland and Milwaukee visiting over the next four days, the Lakers have a chance to get competitive again - but they're facing an uphill climb just to get into playoff contention.

Oklahoma City inexplicably lost to lowly Washington four days ago, but made none of the same mistakes in another meeting with a short-handed opponent. The Thunder also beat the Lakers 114-108 in Oklahoma City last month while Los Angeles was without Gasol and Nash.

The Thunder jumped to an 11-point lead in the first quarter, but Bryant led an 11-0 run to tie it heading into the second. That run was the extent of Los Angeles' competitiveness against the defending Western Conference champions: Oklahoma City calmly reclaimed control, with Durant scoring 16 points in the quarter capped by a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left before halftime, putting the Thunder up 64-48.

Along with predictable defensive struggles against Durant and Westbrook, Los Angeles missed its first 12 3-point attempts before Nash connected midway through the third quarter. Durant scored 15 more points in the third before sitting out much of the fourth, finishing nine points shy of his career high.

Hill's prolonged absence would be another big blow to the Lakers, who would lose one of their few reliable reserves.

The fourth-year pro is averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in his first full season with Los Angeles. He'll get a second opinion on his hip before scheduling season-ending surgery on loose fragments and a possible labral tear.

NOTES: Before the game, Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, announced they've called off their divorce proceedings. Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce in December 2011. ... The teams meet again at Staples Center on Jan. 27. Oklahoma City also visits to face the Clippers on Jan. 22. ... Charlize Theron, Adam Sandler, Robin Thicke, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mehmet Oz and Chad Johnson watched the game from courtside.

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:

  1. Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.

  2. Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.

  3. Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.

Download the MyTeams app (https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/myteams-nbc-sports ) for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

Friday saw the Toronto Maple Leafs pull ahead 3-2 and the Colorado Avalanche eliminate the favored Calgary Flames. Saturday provided another elimination game and two teams pulled ahead 3-2 in their series.

Here are the results from Saturday.

St. Louis Blues eliminate Winnipeg Jets with 3-2 win

The Blues return to the second round of the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Blues rally started 23 seconds into the game, when Jaden Schwartz put home a Brayden Schenn rebound.

Schwartz followed with two more goals, completing the hat trick. It's the second natural hat trick in a playoff series clinching game since Geoff Courtnall in 1992.

The Blues await the winner of the Nashville-Dallas series.

Dallas Stars pull ahead of Nashville Predators in 5-3 victory

The Stars were able to steal one from the Predators at Bridgestone Arena thanks to Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov's two goal performances.

Tyler Seguin added a goal of his own to pull the Stars ahead 4-2 at the end of the second period, and Ben Bishop recorded 30 saves.

The Stars have a chance to close the series at home Monday night.

Washington Capitals take upperhand on Carolina Hurricanes with 6-0 shutout

After dropping Game 4 in Carolina 2-1, the Caps exploded for six goals against the Hurricanes in a 6-0 win.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the opening two goals. He leads the Capitals in playoff goals with five and had a four point night.

The Caps also got production from their bottom six with Brett Connolly's goal and Nic Dowd's converted penalty shot. It's the first penalty shot a Caps player has successfully made in the playoffs.

Braden Holtby's shutout gave him seven in the playoffs, surpassing Olaf Kolzig's six for the franchise lead. The Caps have a chance to win the series in Carolina Monday night.

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