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Hammel contemplating surgery on right knee

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Hammel contemplating surgery on right knee

Jason Hammel, who had an MRI on Saturday afternoon is considering surgery on his right knee.Hammel injured his right knee and left Fridays game in the fourth inning. The knee has troubled him for most of the season."Ijust want my knee to feel normal again. So Im kind of leaning toward surgery but I havent made that decision yet," Hammel said after Saturday's game."Its got to be soon because I dont want to miss too much time. It a pretty simple procedure to go in there and just let it be scoped but like I said I could let it rest. And it could be fine that way, but itd be better just to get it taken care of."Manager Buck Showalter said Hammel could be back pitching by early September if he gets the procedure.Hammel's absence will shake up a pitching staff already in tumult.Miguel Gonzalez will start on Sunday, a day ahead of plan because Chris Tillman has back spasms. Tillman, who pitched brilliantly in Seattle last week, threw for Bowie on Monday morning.Without Hammel, the Orioles are likely to promote Brian Matusz, who pitched a four-hit shutout in his only game at Norfolk, to pitch in his place.Zach Britton is likely to pitch on Tuesday in Minnesota, and another roster move will have to be made.
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Five observations from Wizards' win over the Lakers, including John Wall's 40 points

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USA Today Sports

Five observations from Wizards' win over the Lakers, including John Wall's 40 points

The Washington Wizards beat the Los Angeles Lakers 128-110 on Sunday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. Despite disappointing overall, the Wizards have had a few brilliant games this season. Only rarely have they thoroughly demolished an opponent, and before Sunday night, those games were against NBA bottom-dwellers. On Sunday, they finally put it all together from start to finish and overmatched a very good opponent.

The Wizards beat LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers by 18 points. They held James to only 13, the lowest scoring game of his long and otherwise distinguished career against the Wizards. 

James has dominated Washington for a decade-and-a-half, in 49 regular season games and 16 more in the playoffs. He once scored 57. But on this night, Jeff Green and others pushed back and wore him down on the second night of a back-to-back.

While James was off, John Wall was all the way on. He was dominant in transition and in the halfcourt, making easy work of Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson and a host of players the Lakers tried on him.

The Wizards snapped a four-game losing streak and moved to 8-6 at Capital One Arena. 

2. This was the best game of the season for Wall and by a good margin. He had it going early and there was nothing the Lakers could do to stop him from scoring and setting up others. 

Everything Wall tried worked. He played with pace, yet was in complete control, seeing passing lanes before they were open and keeping Lakers defenders off-balance.

Wall erupted for 28 points in the first half alone. At one point in the second quarter, he had more points (24) than the Lakers' starting lineup (22).

Wall ended up with a season-high 40 points, 14 assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He shot a masterful 16-for-27 (59.3%) from the field and 4-for-8 from three.

3. If there is one thing Sam Dekker does really well, it's run the floor. Last season, he ranked fourth in the NBA in average speed. That doesn't mean he's one of the fastest players in the league, it just means he's constantly moving.

Players with that trait generally work well with Wall, who is one of the most gifted and willing passers in the game. Sure enough, Dekker was rewarded.

Wall assisted on four different shots by Dekker in the first half alone and all of them were open looks around the rim. Dekker seems to have good instincts on when to cut and has the athleticism to finish in traffic. 

It has only been four games since he joined the Wizards, but the early returns have been good on Dekker. He finished with a season-high 20 points, just the second time in his career he's reached the 20-point mark.

4. The Wizards were without Otto Porter Jr. for the third consecutive game, as he remains sidelined with a right knee contusion. This was the first time Porter has missed three straight since 2015-16, the year before head coach Scott Brooks took over. 

Porter is usually very good at managing injuries. Sometimes he will leave a game or miss a practice, but always bounces back quickly. This injury, though, has proven to be a stubborn one. 

Brooks said Porter sustained it by bumping knees with Myles Turner of the Pacers back on Dec. 10. The team insists it is just a bad bruise. But those things were believed about Wall's knee injury last season and look at what happened.

5. Porter's absence wasn't the only factor that left the Wizards undermanned in this one. Their trade with the Suns is not yet official, so they didn't have Trevor Ariza available. 

The departure of Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers removed two members of their regular rotation. To help fill the void, they brought up three players - Troy Brown Jr., Okaro White and Jordan McRae - from the Capital City Go-Go.

The Wizards also lost forward Markieff Morris in the first half. Morris took a shot to the chin area and left with a neck strain. He went to the locker room after stretching out his hands over and over while on the floor and then on the bench as if he was trying to regain feeling in his fingers.

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Scott Brooks enters Kobe Bryant alongside LeBron James into NBA's 'GOAT' debate

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USA Today Sports

Scott Brooks enters Kobe Bryant alongside LeBron James into NBA's 'GOAT' debate

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- NBA fans and internet inhabitants debate the league’s All-time greatest player relentlessly. The primary side-by-side comparison these days for “GOAT” status centers on Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James. Other legends have supporters. Jordan and James, who made his first appearance in Washington as a member of the Lakers Sunday night, dominate such discussions.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks inferred another former Laker is worthy of such greatest ever talk when answering a question about the expected pro-Los Angeles crowd inside Washington’s arena.

“There are organizations and rightfully so that their crowds are global. You can argue [the Lakers] had the greatest player ever to play the game for 20 years before LeBron got there,” Brooks said.

Do the math. He’s not talking about Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West or Wilt Chamberlain. That’s Kobe Bryant’s music.

“Everybody is a fan of Kobe and now they have LeBron. Now they have another guy who could arguably be the greatest player ever,” Brooks said.

Back it up. Again, many thrust James, a four-time league MVP and three-time NBA champion, into the debate with Jordan, whose cultural reverence exceeds his six titles, 32,292 points scored and countless honors.

Bryant’s résumé is all kinds of impressive. The 20-year veteran and 18-time All-Star passed Jordan as the league’s third-time scorer, and won five championships. Top 5-10 player, perhaps. The GOAT? That’s not an argument often heard beyond loyal Laker fans that grew up during Bryant’s reign. It’s not even clear he’s the best Laker of all-time considering the competition.

Bryant’s career deserves praise. Brooks didn’t go out on the flimsiest of limbs. Still, that’s quite a statement from a longtime coach and former player.

Perhaps the presence of James back in Washington, a place he’s thrived over the years, sparked Brooks’ comment.

“So, [Los Angeles is] going to have fans. Those guys are fun to watch. I love watching LeBron play even when he (scored) 57 (points) last year against us and made 11 of 14 mid-range shots.”

Don’t forget the game-tying banked 3–pointer at the buzzer in regulation during the 2016 regular season. Los Angeles won in overtime, snapping Washington’s 17-game home court winning streak. Brooks hadn’t.

“Even the 3 that [LeBron] sent to overtime with whatever on the clock that he traveled on,” the coach joked.

Clearly, Brooks isn’t over those moments. That alone didn’t lead him to nominate Bryant as perhaps the best ever, although at this moment, maybe. 

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