Nationals

Heat escape Cavs with late rally, 110-108

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Heat escape Cavs with late rally, 110-108

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen took a pass from LeBron James and made a 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds left, and the Miami Heat rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:52 to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-108 on Saturday night.

James finished with 30 points for the Heat, who remained perfect at home despite leading for only 2 minutes, 29 seconds. Chris Bosh scored 23 points, Dwyane Wade added 18 and Allen finished with 17 - 15 in the fourth quarter - for the Heat, who lost Shane Battier in the third quarter to a sprained right knee.

Cleveland had a good look at the lead, but Wade blocked Jeremy Pargo's jumper with 3 seconds left, and Allen added one free throw to stretch the lead to two. Cleveland controlled the rebound with 0.6 seconds left, but never got anything near the rim.

The Heat were down 108-101 with 1:58 left, then scored the final nine points.

Of the nine Cleveland players who logged minutes, everyone but Tyler Zeller scored at least 10 points. Pargo and Dion Waiters each scored 16 for Cleveland, which got 15 from Omri Casspi, 13 from Tristan Thompson, 12 from Alonzo Gee, 11 from Gibson, a 10-point, 15-rebound night from Anderson Varejao, and 10 more points from CJ Miles.

Cleveland controlled virtually the entire game, and led by eight midway through the fourth. James and Allen made consecutive 3-pointers to start a Heat flurry, and a free throw by Wade with 3:09 left tied it at 101-all.

But Varejao tipped in a rebound on the next Cleveland trip, Waiters hit two free throws after a clear-path foul against Mario Chalmers, and the Cavs seemed to have all but sealed it on a 3-pointer by Gibson for a 108-101 edge.

The Cavs were thrilled.

It was temporary, as the Heat found a way to survive and move to 6-0 at home, on a night where Cleveland went 14 for 31 from 3-point range.

The second quarter could be summed up by one stat-sheet disparity: While Miami was 5 for 13 from the floor in the period, Cleveland was 6 for 13 - from 3-point range alone.

Sure enough, 3s were wild for the Cavs in the first half.

Casspi's beat-the-clock try from beyond the arc gave Cleveland a 29-26 lead after one quarter, and the Cavs just kept firing. Cleveland held the lead for the entire second quarter, stretching it to 59-48 at the break after an 8-0 run - fueled by 3s from Casspi and Pargo. The Cavs were 10 of 19 from beyond the arc in the half.

And even when the Heat remembered to defend the 3, the plan backfired.

Wade fouled Gee behind the stripe with 9:48 left in the third, Gee connected on all three free throws, and Cleveland held a 65-53 lead - then its largest of the night. The lead was still 12 when the Heat made their first big run, scoring 11 straight to get within 68-67 when Battier made a 3-pointer from the left corner.

But on the next Cleveland possession, Battier landed awkwardly while defending at the rim, remained down for a few moments, then awkwardly ran into the Miami locker room.

A few minutes later, the Heat called Battier's injury a slight right knee sprain, saying it would end his night.

Miami tied the game three times late in the third, still unable to go back on top. And whenever Cleveland needed breathing room in the fourth, the Cavs went to the 3-pointer - Miles connected for a six-point Cavs lead, and Waiters made another with 8:36 left for an 89-83 edge.

That's when James re-entered the game. The Heat loaded up for another fourth-quarter rally, like the one they needed Wednesday against Milwaukee.

NOTES: Miami entered the night having allowed the third-most 3-point tries in the NBA this season, behind only Denver and Houston, teams that had each played one more game than the Heat. ... Injured Cavs G Kyrie Irving was on the court about an hour before the game, doing some work and greeting Battier - a fellow Duke product. ... Miami debuted its ``White Hot'' uniforms, one of several outfits the Heat will don for various games this season. ... Former NFL star Thomas ``Hollywood'' Henderson, who spent most of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, sat courtside.

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Strasburg, Scherzer get in heated conversation after ugly inning

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Strasburg, Scherzer get in heated conversation after ugly inning

The Washington Nationals have had a less than ideal season thus far.

The reigning N.L. East champs entered the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of first place, have a new manager that has gotten his fair share of criticism, are riddled with injuries contributing to a lengthy disabled list and seem to be frustrated to no end on the baseball field.

In his first game back following a right shoulder injury that landed him on the DL for over a month, Stephen Strasburg started Friday night's game in Washington against the Braves, one of tewo teams above the Nats in the East standings.

Following a poor outing in the fifth inning in which Davey Martinez decided to pull Strasburg, fellow ace Max Scherzer attempted to greet the starter. Strasburg brushed Scherzer off as he sat down on the bench and the two got into what seemed like a very heated exchange.

The Nationals never recovered from Strasburg's start and fell to the Braves 8-5 in Washington.

The frustration was evident as Martinez met with Scherzer and Strasburg to hash out the argument, delaying postgame clubhouse access to the media while their meeting was going on.

The meeting was kept under lock by Martinez, Scherzer, and Strasburg, who chalked it up to just being a part of the "family."

According to Martinez, the dugout conversation was hashed out and he immediately brushed it off when pressed for questions.

The Nationals look to even up the series against The Braves in Washington tonight.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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