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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 125-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Harden topped 20 points for the seventh straight game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter, as Houston improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

Toney Douglas heated up in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring all 17 of his points.

Reserve Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Philadelphia, which matched its most lopsided loss of the season. The 76ers also lost by 22 points against the New York Knicks on Nov. 5.

Young hit a 3-pointer with less than three minutes left in the third quarter to cut Houston's lead to three, but the Rockets finished the quarter on an 8-1 run and led by 10 at the start of the fourth. Houston forward Greg Smith keyed the rally, scoring eight of his 13 points in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

Chandler Parsons got the rebound on his own 3-point attempt and followed with a powerful dunk that kept Houston's lead in double digits midway through the fourth quarter. Parson finished with nine points and was the only Rockets starter not in double-figures.

Jeremy Lin had 18 points and six assists, and Omer Asik added 17 points and 15 rebounds for Houston, which led by as many as 14 in the first half and was ahead 56-51 at the break.

Dorell Wright scored 20 points in a reserve role for Philadelphia, and Thaddeus Young added 17.

Philadelphia guard Evan Turner left the game with nine minutes left in the third quarter after suffering a left ankle injury. Turner limped to the locker room and returned with less than five minutes remaining, but he only stayed in the game for 17 seconds before heading back to the locker room.

Turner never re-entered the game and finished with six points, three assists and two rebounds, ending a 17-game streak of scoring in double-figures. The 2010 second overall pick has averaged 17.7 points in December and 15.5 this season.

Turner's absence might be the latest setback for the injury-plagued 76ers, who have been without center Andrew Bynum for the entire season.

Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday, the team's leading scorer at nearly 19 points per game, missed his fourth straight with a sprained left foot. Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said he hoped Holiday would be back for Friday's home game against Atlanta but said the team isn't rushing his return.

Notes: Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel attended the game and received a brief ovation when his name was announced halfway through the third quarter. Texas A&M University in College Station is roughly 100 miles from Houston's Toyota Center. ... Houston F Patrick Patterson missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his right foot.

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In light of Patrick Mahomes' extension, which DMV athletes would we give a 10-year contract to?

In light of Patrick Mahomes' extension, which DMV athletes would we give a 10-year contract to?

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sent shockwaves through the sports world on Monday when he agreed to a 10-year extension with Kansas City. Mahomes' contract is worth a maximum value of $503 million -- the richest deal in sports history.

So, in light of the passer's lucrative deal, NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum and Ethan Cadeaux took a look at one athlete from every DMV professional team they would give a 10-year deal to.

Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal

During the 2019-20 season, Beal emerged as an All-NBA-type player putting up outstanding numbers and a 30.5-point average. But not only is he great by himself, he’s also a dynamic player that fits with other stars on the floor. Entering the prime of his career, extending Beal well into his thirties will lock up an All-Star in the nation’s capital with a relatively light injury history. It will keep Washington a playoff threat and could lure other top-level talent to the district.

-Byrum

Washington Capitals: Jakub Vrana

The Capitals guard is aging, and aging quickly with Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Braden Holtby all north of 30. Evgeny Kuznetsov is already locked-up until 2025, so next up is the 23-year-old Vrana who has combined for 99 points over the past two years. 

-Byrum

Washington Nationals: Juan Soto

Giving Soto a 10-year deal is the most realistic of any name on this list. In recent years, we've seen stars such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Mike Trout all sign lucrative deals for a decade-plus. Soto is already one of the brightest young stars in the MLB and just turned 21 this past October. Washington still has multiple years of club control now, but it may be wise to lock him up long-term before it's too late.

-Cadeaux

Washington Redskins: Terry McLaurin

This decision came down to McLaurin and No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, but the player who already has shown success at the NFL level gets the nod here. Despite a revolving QB room, McLaurin was exceptional as a rookie in 2019, finishing just eight yards short of the team's rookie receiving yards record. With consistent QB play, there's no telling how good McLaurin could be.

-Cadeaux

Washington Nationals: Trea Turner

Locking up position players long-term is not a typical practice of the Nationals. Aside from Soto, though, Turner is another obvious option. In five MLB seasons, he has a .291 average with 63 home runs, 159 stolen bases and a 14.1 WAR. A solid hitter with a strong burst bodes well for him to have a long career, with numbers similar to former Red Sox Dustin Pedroia. It will be easier to sign him now on a friendly deal than to re-up year after year before he explodes for a season similar to 2018.

-Byrum

Washington Mystics: Elena Delle Donne

Sure, she turns 31 this year – and hypothetically would be 41 at the end of this exercise – but her age 29 season was the best of her career. She continues to elevate her game as the years go by. Besides, in the WNBA stars push into their forties. Sue Bird (39) and Diana Taurasi (38) are suiting up this year and there is barely a let up in their games. Even if there is a fall-off late in her career, she will have Washington a title contender for a better part of a decade. 

-Byrum

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson

Jackson is coming off an MVP season and has already cemented himself as one of the league's best quarterbacks. Should he parlay his exceptional 2019 season into an even better 2020, Jackson could find himself in the ballpark of Mahomes' contract come next offseason.

-Cadeaux

D.C. United: Paul Arriola

The 25-year old has been a staple of D.C. United lineup since arriving at the club in 2017. Although he recently ruptured his ACL, he's still the best player on United and the only one that's worth the consideration of a lengthy deal like this.

-Cadeaux

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Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

On Tuesday, Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter penned a letter questioning if the NFL is truly prioritizing player safety in its return to work plan, which is expected to begin with training camp at the end of the month.

Hours later, Buffalo Bills wide receiver and former Maryland Terrapin standout Stefon Diggs voiced similar concerns on Twitter, stating "I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable starting back up."

Earlier in the day, he tweeted that he missed football and that he loves the sport.

If and when the NFL does resume this fall, games will be played without fans in some stadiums. Diggs mentioned that it would be "weird" to play in front of an empty stadium, something he's never done before at any level of football.

Even if there are fans at NFL games this fall, they will be away from the playing field. The league has already announced that the first 6-8 rows of each lower bowl section will be blocked off from fans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, those sections will be covered with advertisements, similarly to how the Premier League has done during its restart.

Training camp is set to being on July 28, around the same time both the MLB and NBA will begin/resume their respective seasons. With live-action just a few weeks away, we've seen multiple players across both sports opt-out from playing, including Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

As the NFL season begins to get closer, it's likely only a matter of time before a few players opt-out, too.

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