Redskins

Gallinari, Nuggets spoil Nowitzki's return, 106-85

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Gallinari, Nuggets spoil Nowitzki's return, 106-85

DALLAS (AP) Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points and the Denver Nuggets spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating the Dallas Mavericks 106-85 on Friday night.

Nowitzki had five points in 17 minutes in his third game back, and the Mavericks lost their fifth straight for the first time since January 2011.

Gallinari scored five points in the last 5.3 seconds before halftime and opened the second half with a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up by 11. Andre Iguodala hit four 3-pointers in a 32-point third quarter and finished with 29 points.

O.J. Mayo led Dallas with 15 points.

Nowitzki, who missed the first 27 games after knee surgery late in the preseason, entered the game to a loud ovation midway through the first quarter and made two of his first four shots. But he missed his last six and didn't score after the first quarter.

The Nuggets led 50-47 in the final seconds of the first half when Gallinari hit a 3-pointer and got a tip-in just before the buzzer after Vince Carter's long inbound pass was knocked away near midcourt.

Gallinari's 3-pointer started the third quarter, but Iguodala took over from there. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Nuggets up 13 and dropped in another after the Mavericks had pulled within five. Gallinari and Iguodala scored 12 straight points to help the Nuggets rebuild the lead to 14.

Kenneth Faried outrebounded the Mavericks by himself in the first quarter and finished with 18 rebounds and 11 points, his seventh double-double in the past 10 games.

Mayo broke out of a four-game slump to keep Dallas close before halftime. He had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting before halftime after matching his season low with four points and missing two of three free throws with a chance to tie the score in an overtime loss at Oklahoma City a night earlier.

Gallinari capped a 15-2 run in the first quarter with a 3-pointer and two free throws to give the Nuggets a 21-8 lead. The Mavericks, who fell to 3-10 against teams with winning records, answered with a 10-0 run in the second quarter and got as close as 40-38 on a 3-pointer by Carter.

NOTES: The Mavericks were given a technical foul when coach Rick Carlisle called a timeout with 3:02 remaining when he didn't have any timeouts left. ... Mavericks G Darren Collison fell three points shy of his career high with 32 in Thursday's 111-105 overtime loss at Oklahoma City. He had his career high at Dallas in February 2010. ... The Nuggets had double-digit 3-pointers for the second straight game after going the first 29 without one. They were 8-0 last year when they had 10 or more 3s. ... Nuggets G Ty Lawson had 14 assists and no turnovers against the Lakers, the first Denver player to do that since Nick Van Exel against the Mavericks almost 11 years ago.

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10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

10 Training Camp Questions: After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

When Reuben Foster collapsed to the Ashburn turf in May, time stopped for a second. Signing Foster brought such outrage towards the Washington team, and after being cleared by the NFL for the 2019 season, it seemed like the worst was behind Foster and the Redskins.

Then, in a blur, he was lost for the season with an ACL tear. 

The 2019 rebuilt Redskins defense lost a key cog before he ever even played a game, and suddenly a mediocre linebacking group from 2018 was largely back in the fold. Foster represented a potential game-breaking talent, a former first-round pick with elite pedigree in college. Add in the fact that the Redskins released Zach Brown before free agency, and the group looked humble. 

So going into training camp, one of the most intriguing position groups on the team now looks similar to 2018.

Mason Foster will start at one inside linebacker spot. Write that in Sharpie. And despite some public dustups with fans via social media, Foster is a team leader and a sure tackler. He's lost weight to help in coverage this year, and twice in the last three years has totaled more than 120 tackles. Of all the worries on the Redskins roster, Mason Foster isn't one of them.

After Reuben Foster went down, the team signed former second-round pick Jon Bostic. He's bounced around in his NFL career, as the Redskins will mark his fifth team in six years, but since he's landed in a 3-4 scheme, he's found his game. In the past two seasons with the Steelers and the Colts, Bostic proved highly capable as a run defender. On pass downs, he probably needs to come off the field. 

That's where things get interesting. 

Reuben Foster was the one player that coaches expected to be able to stay on the field for all three downs. Mason Foster might be able to, and it's too early to really determine what best suits Shaun Dion Hamilton.

In just his second year out of Alabama, and a year removed from a major knee injury, Hamilton could emerge as the starter next to Foster. He could emerge as a capable cover linebacker. But he didn't quite show enough last season to be confident in that assessment. 

Josh Harvey-Clemons will be the nickel linebacker, and watching him in minicamp, he finally looks like an NFL linebacker. Harvey-Clemons played safety in college at Louisville, and his first two seasons in Washington seemed like he didn't have the bulk to play in the front seven. If he's really added muscle, it will show up in Richmond. 

Then there's rookie Cole Holcomb. A speed 'backer that should make the team, Holcomb needs to learn to play instinctually. It won't be easy, but if it comes quick, his speed could make plays. 

Add it all up and the Redskins linebacker looks solid, but not spectacular. Reuben Foster was supposed to be that special piece, but he definitely won't play this season. 

If the defensive front plays as well as many think they're capable of, that could change things for the linebackers. And of course, players get better every year. Maybe Hamilton or Harvey-Clemons is on the verge of a breakout. 

That's why they practice and train all offseason, and that's what the fans will be watching for in Richmond. 

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Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

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USA Today

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

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