Capitals

Horford, Smith lead Hawks past Nuggets 108-104

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Horford, Smith lead Hawks past Nuggets 108-104

ATLANTA (AP) Josh Smith's steal, jam and free throw with 31 seconds remaining extended Atlanta's lead and the Hawks held on to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-104 on Wednesday night.

Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds on his 27th birthday. Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Ty Lawson paced Denver with a season-high 32 points. Corey Brewer had 19.

Two free throws by Danilo Gallinari with 2:34 remaining gave Denver its first lead of the final period at 98-97. Lawson's 3-pointer gave the Nuggets a 101-99 advantage before Horford hit a tying jumper.

Following a missed jumper by Denver's Kenneth Faried, Lou Williams made two free throws. Smith then stole the ball from Lawson and completed a fast break with a dunk over Brewer, who was called for a foul. Smith added the free throw for a 106-101 lead.

The Nuggets were without center Kosta Koufos, who remained at the team hotel with the flu. Timofey Mozgov had six points and 13 rebounds in his first start of the season.

Gallinari had 16 points and JaVele McGee added 11 for Denver.

Williams scored 16 points and Devin Harris had 12 for Atlanta.

The Hawks had first-half success with their big lineup, with Zaza Pachulia at center and Horford shifting from center to power forward. The big lineup usually benefits Horford, who has room for more scoring opportunities away from the basket.

Pachulia also thrived with extended playing time, scoring all 11 of his points in the second quarter as the Hawks took a 55-51 halftime lead.

The Hawks' biggest lead was 73-62 at the end of a 10-0 run in the third period.

NOTES: The Hawks ended a four-game losing streak in the series with their first win over the Nuggets since Nov. 7, 2009. ... Hawks G Kyle Korver was away from the team and with his wife, who is expecting the couple's first child. The team recalled rookie G John Jenkins from its Bakersfield NBA Development League affiliate. Jenkins did not play.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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