Wizards

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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If All-Star selections were based on play alone, Bradley Beal would be a starter

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If All-Star selections were based on play alone, Bradley Beal would be a starter

Bradley Beal’s stellar play ended the debate over whether the Washington Wizards leading scorer deserved a second consecutive All-Star berth – and started a new one: Should he start in the game?

Now, based on the latest batch of fan results, Beal will not in fact start. Fans account for 50 percent of the vote with current players and Beal ranked 10th among Eastern Conference guards. Current players and selected media members each receive 25 percent of the vote. Beal’s case is not so overwhelming that those factions would stuff the ballot box on his behalf.

Those future results remain fascinating regardless.

Beal’s performance throughout the season and particularly since John Wall went out with season-ending surgery to repair bone spurs in his left foot pushed him into the starter conversation.

Voting for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, set for Feb. 17 in Charlotte, concludes Monday. Televised announcements for the starters (Thursday) and reserves (Jan. 31) come later this month followed by the draft on Feb. 7.

Boston’s Kyrie Irving is the runaway leader among the East guards in the fan vote followed by Dwyane Wade (Miami), Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Kyle Lowry (Toronto).

Unless Wade’s career achievement candidacy gains momentum among players and the media, the future Hall of Fame is not in the running for the other starting guard spot. The other five including Beal have the numbers.

Lowry, named a starter in 2015 and 2016, is second in the NBA with 9.4 assists, but this is not the steadiest of seasons for Lowry (31.1 percent on 3-pointers).

Oladipo continues his rocket ride toward the top of the NBA’s best guards, but the two-way threat missed 11 games for 30-15 Pacers.

That leaves Beal, Simmons, and Walker, who will represent the hosting team in the big event. Walker ticks ahead of Beal in scoring as the Hornets do the Wizards in the NBA standings. Comparing on-off numbers gives Washington’s leading man the edge.

The lengthy Simmons, one of the league’s most unique players, veers close to averaging a triple-double. There is also the weirdness of the 6-foot-10 point-forward attempting literally zero 3-point attempts.

Beal’s numbers, strong throughout the season outside of a 3-point shooting dip, zoomed upward after Washington lost Wall in late December. Overall he joins James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo as the only players averaging at least 24 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.4 steals. The Wizards, in the midst of their best collective work this season, are feeding off Beal’s vibe and all-court game.

Again, the lack of interest from the fans – surely in part of Washington’s struggles this season -- dooms Beal’s starter hope. The recognition from the players and media members might offer a different take on a player performing as well as almost any guard in the league.

That remains true whether Beal starts or not. He will not, but there is a strong argument that he should.

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Report: Dan Snyder was leading Redskins pursuit of Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams

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USA Today Sports

Report: Dan Snyder was leading Redskins pursuit of Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams

Despite speaking with a number of hot candidates on the job market, the Redskins did not make a change at defensive coordinator. Greg Manuksy will remain in that role.

That doesn't mean the team didn't try, as multiple reports showed that Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams were priority targets for Washington. 

On Sunday, a CBS Sports report from Jason La Canfora said that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was the driver in pursuit of first Bowles and then Williams. The story also points out that the Redskins owner was leading the effort, not head coach Jay Gruden.

The story says Snyder put the 'full-court press' on Bowles and offered to make him the highest paid coordinator in the NFL. 

When Bowles decided to go to Tampa and work with Bruce Arians, Snyder turned his focus to Williams. From the story:

Williams and Snyder have a strong relationship from his years serving as coordinator there under Joe Gibbs, and his previous head coaching experience, in Buffalo and Cleveland, also made him attractive. The team set up a formal visit and interview with Williams after he was let go as the Browns interim head coach, but the sides never met. 

La Canfora also contends that Snyder making aggressive pushes for both Bowles and Williams might not be good news for Jay Gruden in 2020.

The 'Skins head coach has two years left on his contract that pays him $5 million per year. Gruden has been assured he will remain the head coach for 2019, but few NFL coaches work in the last year of their deal. A 'lame duck' year for Gruden would come in 2020 unless the team and coach agree to another contract extension. 

The Redskins have not made the playoffs in the last three seasons, and have not won a playoff game in over a decade.

If Snyder is frustrated, he has reasons for it. 

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