Nationals

Fisher defends questionable calls in FSU's loss

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Fisher defends questionable calls in FSU's loss

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State's dream of contending for a national championship may have disappeared on a pair of fourth quarter decisions by coach Jimbo Fisher.

Not that the third-year coach was second-guessing himself on Monday.

``I wouldn't do it differently,'' he said. ``There's nothing we regret.''

The most mystifying call may have been Fisher's decision to not attempt a 51-yard field goal that would've given the Seminoles a nine point lead and virtually sealed a win at North Carolina State. Instead of giving Dustin Hopkins a shot at his fourth field goal in Saturday's game, the Seminoles punted and moments later watched their 16-point lead completely disappear in a 17-16 loss.

``Could he have made the field goal, yeah,'' Fisher said during Monday's news conference. ``It had nothing to do with that.''

Fisher also doesn't feel the loss can be pinned on questionable play call on third down, which cost the Seminoles 15 yards.

Instead of playing it safe, the Seminoles ran a play on third-and-two at the N.C. State 19 that resulted in quarterback EJ Manuel being sacked for a 15-yard loss - a play called during their second timeout of the game.

Fisher blamed his team's failures on poor execution.

``A technique issue,'' Fisher said. ``Offense and defense. There's no one guy. They're costly.''

This one may have cost Florida State a shot at the national championship. The Seminoles dropped nine spots in the poll to 12th.

``All losses, truthfully, they hurt,'' Manuel said. ``This hurt especially.''

It's the second straight year that Florida State's hopes for a possible run to a national title seemingly have disappeared by midseason- this time after the Seminoles blew a 16-point halftime lead. Fisher's 13-7 record against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents includes five losses in games Florida State was favored by double-digits.

Apparently no one recalled Graham Gano's heroics at North Carolina State just four years ago when Fisher was in his second season as Bobby Bowden's offensive coordinator.

Gano's 53-yard field goal, his fourth in that game, sealed the outcome with 1:53 left, giving Florida State - that's right - a nine point lead.

Hopkins, who is likely to become the ACC's all-time leading scorer this Saturday against Boston College, had already kicked three field goals in Saturday's game, including one from 48 yards out. He's kicked several of 50 yards or more in his career at Florida State, including a 55-yard game winning field goal as time expired to beat Clemson two years ago.

Florida State has handled the likes of intrastate rivals Miami and Florida not to mention South Carolina and Notre Dame since Fisher became head coach in 2010. It's the unexpected losses in games where the Seminoles are heavy favorites that have been troublesome. In the past year, the Seminoles have lost at Wake Forest and to Virginia in Tallahassee and North Carolina State for a second time in three years - all games in which they were heavy favorites.

``It's all about 12 games, it's about one win, one loss,'' Fisher said. ``What's the odds that you're gonna lose one during a season? That's part of it and you have to deal with it.''

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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