Redskins

Durant's triple-double leads Thunder over Warriors

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Durant's triple-double leads Thunder over Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant notched his first career triple-double with 25 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors 119-109 on Sunday night.

The three-time NBA scoring champion has endured some growing pains this season trying to improve his floor game, with a bump in his assist number coinciding with an increase in his turnovers, too. He came in averaging four turnovers per game, the fourth-worst in the league.

He turned it over just twice in this one and pumped his right fist after he set up Kevin Martin's 3-pointer with 4:57 to play for his 10th assist. The play also helped the Thunder hold on after Golden State cut a 21-point deficit to seven in the fourth quarter.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, and David Lee chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Russell Westbrook scored 30 points and passed out seven assists, and Martin scored 23 off the bench as Oklahoma City had a season-high 31 assists for the second straight game and had a season high in points.

It looked for a while as though Durant might be stuck on nine assists.

Durant and Westbrook teamed up to score eight straight points late in the third quarter, with Westbrook's 3-pointer from the top of the key extending Oklahoma City's lead to 86-67. Durant had a chance to pick up his 10th assist before the end of the third period, but instead kept the ball on a fast break and wound up with a three-point play that put the Thunder ahead 94-73.

He started the fourth quarter on the bench, but got a chance to come back in when Oklahoma City's reserves let the lead start slipping away.

Coach Scott Brooks put his All-Stars back in with 8:18 left, after Curry's 3-pointer drew Golden State to 101-88. Nick Collison used a nifty touch pass off an offensive rebound to set up Serge Ibaka's layup, and Durant assisted on Martin's 3 on the next trip as Oklahoma City stemmed the tide.

Carl Landry had 14 points and Jarrett Jack scored 12 for Golden State, which lost despite shooting 52 percent from the field. Warriors reserve Richard Jefferson pulled himself out of the game late in the first quarter after straining his right calf, and he did not return.

The Warriors wiped away an early seven-point deficit as Scott Brooks continued to fiddle with his rotation following the trade of James Harden and other bench players just before the season started. But just as soon as Andris Biedrins finished off a 7-0 run with a hook shot to put Golden State up 32-31, Eric Maynor answered with a 3-pointer to start a 19-6 response that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay.

The Thunder had a final flurry to finish the first half, with Durant hitting a 3-pointer before Westbrook's right-handed throwdown on a fast break made it 59-46.

Notes: Asked before the game how he would have defended Westbrook during his playing days, Warriors coach Mark Jackson responded: ``Chapel first, and then stay late when all the guys leave to get some extra prayer in.'' ... Oklahoma City had held its opponents below 44 percent shooting in each of its first seven wins this season. ... Golden State had also held seven opponents below 44 percent this season, tying Chicago and Oklahoma City for the NBA lead.

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Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

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USA Today Sports Images

Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

We don’t know if there will be major changes on the Redskins if they don’t make the playoffs this year but getting into the postseason and getting a win when they get there would make a decision to keep going in this direction very easy.

Yes, a lot of the pressure lies on the shoulders of Jay Gruden but winning games usually comes down to the players on the field. How do the players the Redskins have today compare to those on the last team that made the playoffs?

Here are the players who started in the last playoff game that involved the Redskins, a 35-20 Wild Card round home loss to the Packers, side-by-side with the anticipated starting lineup for the 2018 season with some unscientific comparison of the quality of the two teams.

Offensive line

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
LT—Trent Williams, Williams
LG—Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao
C—Kory Lichtensteiger, Chase Roullier
RG—Brandon Scherff, Scherff
RT—Morgan Moses, Moses

How do the 2018 versions of Williams, Moses, and Scherff compare to the ones who started the playoff game? They’ll be about three years older but they have gained valuable experience. Remember that Lichtensteiger was activated off of injured reserve the week before the playoff game after missing 11 games with a neck injury so he was not close to 100 percent against the Packers. Josh LeRibeus was center for most of the year. Roullier is at least a good as he was. Long is no All-Pro but he is better than Lauvao. Comparison: Even

Offensive backs and receivers

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
QB—Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith
RB—Alfred Morris, Derrius Guice
WR—Jamison Crowder, Crowder
WR—Pierre Garçon, Josh Doctson
WR—DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson
TE—Jordan Reed, Jordan Reed

We can debate Smith vs. Cousins all day but we really won’t know until they start playing games. Guice has the potential to be better than the 2015 version of Morris, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry while gaining 751 yards. Reed has his best season in 2015 with 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was arguably the best tight end in the game in 2015. Reed has to demonstrate that he can be that guy again. Crowder will be better than he was as a rookie but there are clear downgrades at the wide receiver positions. Comparison: Edge to 2015

Defensive front

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
DE—Chris Baker, Matt Ioannidis
NT—Terrance Knighton, Daron Payne
DE—Jason Hatcher, Jonathan Allen
ILB—Mason Foster, Foster
ILB—Will Compton, Zach Brown
OLB—Ryan Kerrigan, Kerrigan
OLB—Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

I don’t think we need to go into much discussion here to sort out which team has the better front seven. The interior line plus Brown makes this year’s front clearly superior. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

Secondary

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
CB—Will Blackmon, Josh Norman
CB—Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar
SS—DeAngelo Hall, Montae Nicholson
FS—Dashon Goldson, D.J. Swearinger

Breeland was very good in 2015, tallying two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two recoveries. Dunbar could be a downgrade but I don’t think he’ll be a significant one. This year’s team is clearly better off at the other three positions. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

If defense wins championships then you have to give the overall edge to this year’s team. But the offense will be important and Smith, Guice, and the wide receivers will need to come through if the Redskins are going to play a game in January of 2019.

More 2018 Redskins

- The secondary: What's the outlook in the secondary?
- Tandler’s Take: The pressure's on Gruden and he knows it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

 

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

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Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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