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Faried helps Nuggets rally past Magic 108-105

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Faried helps Nuggets rally past Magic 108-105

DENVER (AP) Kenneth Faried scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets rally for a 108-105 win over the slumping Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Ty Lawson also finished with 19 points, including a three-point play with 1:27 remaining that gave the Nuggets the lead for good and sent them to their third straight win.

Orlando just can't get on track since Glen Davis went out with a sprained left shoulder, dropping a 10th straight game in the big man's absence. He currently isn't with the team but it was hoped he might rejoin them at some point during the current four-game trip.

Trailing by nine early in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets roared back and tied the game at 99 on an alley-oop dunk by Faried. But the high-energy forward wasn't done there.

When Andre Iguodala missed a free throw on the next possession, Faried dove on the ground for the loose ball and scooped it up, quickly calling time out.

Out of the break, Lawson hit a layup and was fouled. Moments later, Danilo Gallinari put the finishing touches on the win with a dunk off an inbound pass from Andre Miller.

Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 20 points, while Arron Afflalo added 12 against his former team before fouling out late in the game. Reserve Corey Brewer gave the Nuggets an early spark, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter when the team was struggling.

Afflalo returned to the court against his former team to applause - at least for introductions. Soon after that he was treated like any other opposing player and constantly heckled. When Afflalo made his first basket, someone screamed, ``Who?!''

Afflalo was once a fan favorite, too, especially after signing a long-term contract. But the Nuggets saw an opportunity to upgrade the squad in the offseason and dealt Afflalo, along with Al Harrington, to Orlando as part of the blockbuster deal that landed Dwight Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In exchange, Denver wound up with Iguodala, who hit a big 3-pointer late when the Magic were threatening to pull away. The Nuggets also tried to pick up big man Nikola Vucevic in the deal, but team executive Masai Ujiri couldn't get him included in the trade.

Vucevic showed Nuggets fans why he was so coveted, scoring 10 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for the Magic. He also missed a dunk late in the game before fouling out.

Seeing Afflalo leave town was difficult for Nuggets coach George Karl, who constantly relied on the guard's easygoing demeanor during Afflalo's three seasons in Denver.

Said Karl before the game: ``Someone taught (Afflalo) at a very early age that winning is why you play. It's very deep in his basketball soul. You play the game to win. It's not numbers. It's not stats. It's to win.''

The Magic built a 10-point lead in the first half, only to have the Nuggets tie it. Maurice Harkless managed to send the Magic into the locker room at the break with a 55-53 lead when he hit a layup in the final seconds.

Asked before the game if he was sweating the losing streak, coach Jacque Vaughn turned into a philosopher.

``To be able to fight adversity and see how you respond is a true test of a man's character, which ultimately is his destiny,'' Vaughn said. ``That is who you are. Life is what you make of it. That is your own destiny. It's a great opportunity to forge your own destiny.''

NOTES: A longtime coach in Seattle, Karl has strong feelings about an NBA team potentially returning to that area. According to an Associated Press source, an investor contacted the Maloof family about buying the Sacramento Kings, setting up the possibility of a return to Seattle. ``I'm not going to lie - I'm happy that Seattle is going to have a team more than Sacramento,'' Karl said. ``But I am disappointed that Sacramento can't keep their team.'' ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler (left hip) could be back in the lineup as early as Sunday against Golden State. ... Miller drew a second-quarter technical foul while sitting on the bench when he kept arguing with the officials. ... Magic G J.J. Redick had 17 points.

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Capitals enter All-Star break on sour note in Toronto as losing streak extends to seven

Capitals enter All-Star break on sour note in Toronto as losing streak extends to seven

The Capitals enter the All-Star break losers of seven straight after a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

In desperate need of a win before the All-Star Break, the Capitals kept Alex Ovechkin in the lineup delaying his one-game suspension and started Braden Holtby for the second consecutive night. Yet, the result was the same as they gave up six goals for the third straight game and for the fourth time during the current losing streak. Washington has been outscored 36-18 during the streak.

Here are four reasons the Caps lost.

Nazem Kadri

Kadri is always a thorn in the side of the Caps, most notably for his knee-on-knee hit on Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs back in 2017. He was again a pest against Washington with a hat trick for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

The Caps scored late in the first period, but Kadri scored with 26 seconds remaining to even the game at one. Kadri also extended Toronto’s lead to two goals for the first time at the 2:10 mark into the second period of a one-timer from the high slot. He completed the hat trick later in the third as William Nylander shot the puck, hit both posts and the puck went straight to the stick of Kardi who had an empty net yawning.

Washington has now given up a hat trick in three straight games and in four of their last five.

A quick response

A growing problem for Washington during this losing streak is allowing quick response goals. Nicklas Backstrom put the Caps on the board with less than 90 seconds remaining in the first period.

Great, Washington is headed to the locker room up 1-0, right? Not so fast.

Morgan Rielly dumped the puck and tried to pass it to the middle. Nylander kicked it back behind the net and the play should have been dead, but Michal Kempny tipped it back out to center and no one seemed to know where it was except Kadri who came streaking in and tapped it past Holtby to tie the game.

The goal came just 47 seconds after Backstrom put Washington on the board.

An untimely penalty

Ovechkin is doing just about everything he can to keep the Caps in this games and he scored again on Wednesday. But tonight's game really turned on an Ovechkin penalty in the second period.

Ovechkin was called for cross-checking Kaspari Kapanen about two minutes after Nikita Zaitsev tied the game at 2. At that point, Washington had never trailed in the game. They had yielded leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but overall were playing significantly better than they did on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.

Auston Matthews would go on to score on the resulting power play. That would be the first of three unanswered goals for Toronto.

A rough penalty kill for John Carlson

The Leafs were able to cash in on the penalty kill because of a rough shift for defenseman John Carlson. With the puck on his stick behind the net, Carlson did not try clearing the puck around the boards. Instead, he turned up ice and fired it right to John Tavares. Tavares blocked the clear and kept the puck in. Later on in the shift, Matthews was skating in looking for a shot. Carlson dropped to a knee looking for the shot block, but he was too quick. Matthews curled it around a now helpless Carlson, then fired the puck through Holtby to give Toronto a lead they would not relinquish.

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2019 NFL mock draft: Redskins roundup in the first round

2019 NFL mock draft: Redskins roundup in the first round

A quick reminder about gauging NFL mock drafts three months out before the actual fun in late April: Focus more on the position than the player.

<<GALLERY: 2019 NFL MOCK DRAFT 11.0>>

Public draft boards remain fluid and will remain in this flexible state for several weeks before hardening in early March after the Combine. Compared to pro scouts and front office personnel, outside analysts are always behind the curve. Opinions change once sources share internal projections and rumors spread.

There is also more time for homework on a concentrated batch rather than all of college football.

Alabama safety Deionte Thompson lived in the top 10 before the college football playoffs. Two games later, mock drafters dropped him into the 20’s after struggles against Oklahoma and Clemson. Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen, Oklahoma guard Cody Ford, Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner and Alabama running back Josh Jacobs are among the prospects positively trending.

Team needs, however, remain stable for weeks, outside of the rogue trade or contract extension. Clubs are not permitted to enter into contract negotiations with unrestricted free agents until March 11.

With the knowledge of strengths and weaknesses, study how many players at a position of interest are mocked with a general range of your team’s selection. This is more important for now than a specific prospect at a precise draft slot.

Now, it wouldn't be kosher to put entire mock drafts from other entities on our site (Click here for my latest full two-round mock draft).

Instead, here’s a sampling of what football thinkers are envisioning for the Redskins in the first round.

CBS and USA Today: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

We have a trade. CBS moves the Redskins to the Green Bay’s selection at 12, while USA Today jumps Washington all the way to nine via Buffalo. Both scenarios have Washington selecting a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback reared in the Big 12 Conference. Apologies for the Robert Griffin III flashbacks.

As discussed here, the Redskins may at least need to jump Denver at 10 and Miami at 13 for a passer, assuming Murray or Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins slip past the Giants (6) and Jaguars (7).

NFL.com: Malcolm Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Pro Football Focus: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

Analyst Daniel Jeremiah states Brown, a true speed threat, makes for a “tempting” option assuming Washington sorts out its quarterback situation. PFF’s Steve Palazzolo writes Washington “needs to replenish their receiving corps and Arcega-Whiteside has one of the best combinations of body control and contested-catch skills in the draft.”

All fair points, but consider me a tad dubious about the Redskins going with a pass catcher at 15. The Redskins certainly need receiver help and more offensive playmakers overall. Adding a veteran ready to help meshes more with a coaching staff and perhaps front office likely putting more of a premium on immediate success after missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season. If slot target Jamison Crowder re-signs, that may eat up any remaining dollars directed for a receiver.

ESPN: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida

Mel Kiper Jr. sends an edge rusher to Ashburn, specifically Florida’s Jachai Polite, who finished with 11 sacks this season. This need races to the top of Washington’s list should the team move on from free agent Preston Smith, and does not believe 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson can handle the gig.

SB Nation: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

“There are a number areas Washington could address with the No. 15 pick,” writes Dan Kadar. “Cornerback is one of them, and Murphy is pro-ready corner thanks to his instincts and ability to play the ball in the air.”

Again, fair points, and Murphy’s cover skills have some league voice considering him the draft’s top corner ahead of LSU’s Greedy Williams. However…

The Redskins could not really justify a corner in the first round if Josh Norman stays. Now, should they decide the high-priced defender provides more value as a salary cap casualty, then corner becomes a screaming need. It also looks like there will be a handful of corners potentially around on Day 2, including Clemson's Trayvon Mullen.

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