Redskins

Ilyasova, Jennings lead Bucks past 76ers, 110-102

201301222129773935643-p2.jpeg

Ilyasova, Jennings lead Bucks past 76ers, 110-102

MILWAUKEE (AP) Brandon Jennings is trying to take over close games in the fourth quarter.

Jennings was very successful doing that Tuesday night as he scored nine of his 25 points in the final period to lead the Bucks to a 110-102 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He also added three assists in the quarter.

Jennings said he wants to be the key player late in games and has been focused on it in recent weeks.

``It is something that I've been working on, especially during the (recent) road trip, just trying to take over games,'' he said. ``I'm just trying to get the best possible shot for the team. That's just me growing and learning.''

Ersan Ilyasova also came up big again for Milwaukee as he had 27 points and 16 rebounds. He also had 27 points and 14 rebounds in Milwaukee's 110-104 win Saturday over Portland.

``Ersan gots his groove back,'' said Monta Ellis, who added 18 points and 10 assists for Milwaukee. ``He really has been playing well for the last few games and has given us a big boost.''

Bucks coach Jim Boylan credited Ilyasova for being a very active player.

``He has that knack for tipping the ball to himself rebounding and coming up with the basket,'' he said. ``When you look at Ersan, you don't really see a great athlete, but rebounding is just determination. When he's determined to get the ball, he's bound to get it.''

Milwaukee has won six of eight games since Boylan replaced former coach Scott Skiles, who parted ways with the team following a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Jennings said the team has had a lot of success under Boylan because he is letting them ``just play.''

``Everything is going well right now,'' Jennings said. ``We are playing with lots of confidence. This was a big win for us as in the past when we win a few games, we end up losing to a team we should not lose to.''

Evan Turner scored 23 points to lead the 76ers, Spencer Hawes added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Nick Young scored 20 points. Philadelphia lost its fifth straight on the road, and 15th in its last 21 overall.

Young said the 76ers have to figure out a way to win close games.

``Somehow we have to figure it out, come together and stay together as a team,'' he said. ``We know what the problem is. We've been in every game so far and fought back. If we can come out of the gate and get a couple shots to go in, get our blood going a little bit, it'll be a different ball game.''

Philadelphia hit just 2 of its first 16 shots, a point not lost on coach Doug Collins.

``First quarter again. We were down 10 so you play uphill the entire game again,'' he said. ``You've got to share the ball, you got to help each other out and you've got to talk on defense. We're not good enough to do it ourselves. We've got to do it collectively.''

The Sixers used a 17-7 run to start the fourth quarter, cutting the Bucks' lead to 90-86 when Thaddeus Young stole the ball and scored on a breakaway layup with 6:47 remaining.

Ilyasova made 1 of 2 free throws to extend Milwaukee's lead to 99-92 with 3:56 left. He then hit a jumper with about 2 1/2 minutes to go, stretching the advantage to nine points.

Hawes hit a baseline jumper to trim the lead to 101-94 with 1:39 remaining, but Milwaukee made 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Larry Sanders had two blocked shots, giving him at least one in his last 27 games, the second longest streak in the NBA behind Tim Duncan, who has blocked a shot in 29 straight.

NOTES: 76ers guard Royal Ivey made the start in place of Dorell Wright as Collins wanted more speed in his starting lineup to defend Jennings. ... Bucks F Marquis Daniels was sick and inactive for the game. Rookie guard Doron Lamb, who was recalled Monday from the NBA Development League, suffered a sprained ankle and was also inactive. ... 76ers guard Jason Richardson did not travel with the team due to left knee synovitis.

Quick Links

When I knew: Redskins' Chris Thompson on his journey from untouchable runner to the NFL

thompson-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

When I knew: Redskins' Chris Thompson on his journey from untouchable runner to the NFL

At some point, every sports fan has some form of the same dream. Play quarterback in the NFL. Roam centerfield in the Majors. Splash 3-pointers in the NBA. Whack forehands at Wimbledon.

Along the way, most of us realize we peaked as kids. There's no hope of climbing that mountain or ever coming close, though on certain days and for fleeting moments... Nah, not happening.

That comprehension often comes early in life. For true romantics or delusional souls, perhaps a decade or two later.

For others, the dream turns into reality. Whether they stormed the courts as prodigies or developed their craft over time, a moment occurred when thoughts shifted. When they recognized they might be different. This series of interviews with local professional athletes focus on that moment.

Next up, Redskins running back Chris Thompson

-----------------------------------------------

I think for me it truly started in high school. As a kid, I was always faster than everybody. When I played Little League ball that was no problem for me. I was more nervous about getting tackled. I didn’t want to play.

I had one Little League season -- I think I was in fifth grade I believe -- where I was tackled one time the whole season. That was in the championship game. Other than that, every time I touched [the ball] it was a touchdown.

When I got in high school, I was on varsity since my freshman year. I started at running back my sophomore year, playing against older guys, against teams that were bigger and better than us. I was able to perform well. I was like, alright I can probably make something out of this. That’s when I really got a good feeling about [my ability].

As far as making it to the NFL, honestly, it didn’t hit me until my sophomore year [at Florida State].

We got a new running back coach, Eddie Gran. He just started talking to me, teaching me about what I needed to be good at to make it to the league and be able to play for a long time because he helped produce a lot of running backs that made it (Deuce McAllister, Ronnie Brown, etc).

Just being around him and learning from him really helped me and gave me the confidence that I could make it to the NFL and be a very good player.

Then you reach the NFL. At what point did you think you got this?

That was really the toughest challenge, realizing (I could play in the NFL). It didn’t really hit me until my fourth year.

My rookie year it didn’t really work out too well (Lost role as the primary kick returner after four games before suffering a torn left labrum).

(Released and then signed to) the practice squad my second year so I was doubting everything at that point. Just being cut made me doubt my ability. Really one of the lowest parts of my entire football career.

My third year I knew it was my job because Coach (Jay) Gruden told me that. I could do my job, but excelling and going beyond expectations was really around my fourth year when it hit me. I finished that season out healthy. My first full season. (Thompson played all 16 games for the only time in his career to date, finishing with 49 receptions and 705 yards from scrimmage.)

After that, I was able to go into the offseason feeling really healthy for the first time. Feeling like myself once again like the senior year of college version of myself. As you could see last year (2017), I had a wonderful year.

Any specific moment in the NFL that had you thinking, I got this?

We were playing against the Eagles Week 16 in my third year to win the division. I think the first play I came in was in the red zone and I ended up scoring a touchdown on “choice” route against Kiko Alonso, who is a linebacker I have a lot of respect for. That really gave me some confidence.

I had a few more plays where I was just running routes, kind of getting open during that game and a few more games. I was OK, if I can be consistent, keep catching the ball and keep getting open, I could really be great at this. Then the game started slowing down for me in my fourth year. Then I got more comfortable. I got way more patient in my routes. It was like, dang, dude, with your footwork and acceleration, you can really get open against these guys and make some plays.

The transcript was edited for length and clarity.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

With his rookie contract in rearview mirror, what's next for Redskins WR Jamison Crowder?

ASHBURN — By now it's well-documented that the Washington Redskins' season did not go as planned, and you can say the same for fourth-year wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

Crowder, 25, was limited to just nine games due to a lingering ankle injury for most of the season, and then a separate late-December wrist injury. He finished the year with 29 catches for 388 yards, well off his career norms.

The Redskins have received plenty of production from Crowder (221 catches, 2,628 yards, 14 touchdowns) at a discounted price during his first few years in the NFL. That is about to change.

“I’m comfortable here,” Crowder said. “Obviously, I have a really high interest level in coming back. It’s going to be in discussion with my agent. There hasn’t really been much discussion as far as right now.”

Washington's 2015 fourth-round pick raced out of the gate in his NFL career setting a Redskins rookie record for receptions (59). Barring a contract extension in the next two months, Crowder will be free to sign with any team in March and there is no guarantee that he will return.

That would leave the Redskins even more desperate for proven options at wide receiver, arguably the most disappointing position on the team during a second straight 7-9 season.

Josh Doctson led Washington receivers with 44 receptions, the lowest total since 1998 when Michael Westbrook had a team-high 44 among the pack. Given that uncertainty at receiver, where Paul Richardson also missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, Crowder’s teammates want him back.

“Got to pay him,” running back Chris Thompson said. “I mean – that’s the business side of it. I really, really, really do hope that we can get him back. He’s been a key part of this offense since he’s been here. I’m excited for him. He’s really gonna help himself be in a better situation for him and his family and his kids and his future. He’s made a good resume for himself that he can make himself some really good money. I hope that it’s here.”

Crowder missed those seven games with a right ankle injury sustained in a Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He spent time in a walking boot. After three consecutive years of 59 catches or more, Crowder dropped to 29 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

“You want to keep the nucleus of the team together at all costs,” Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said. “But it’s the NFL and it’s always easier said than done. I try not to get into the whole free agency deal because those guys got to make business decisions for them and their families.”

The Redskins could decide that slot receiver Trey Quinn, a seventh-round draft pick in 2018, could fill Crowder’s production at a much cheaper price and allow them to upgrade the position through the draft or free agency. But that will come at a risk.

Crowder has proven to be one of the league’s better slot receivers when healthy. Quinn was on IR twice with a high-ankle sprain as a rookie. Acknowledging that injuries to quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy hurt the overall production of the group, can the Redskins really afford to let more talent leave the building at wide receiver?

Having completed the final year of his rookie contract, Crowder admitted the uncertainty of his future feels a little different.

"Yeah, I guess you could say it's a little weird. I just don't know, you know, what's going to happen right now. I just have to kind of wait and see what's going on."

Despite the unpredictable nature of Crowder's situation, he didn't mince his words on where his hopes lie going forward.

"I have a really high-interest level in coming back."

Brian McNally contributed to this story.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: