Capitals

Irving lifts Cavaliers past Raptors 99-98

201301262033739837055-p2.jpeg

Irving lifts Cavaliers past Raptors 99-98

TORONTO (AP) Kyrie Irving made a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 99-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

Headed to his first All-Star game, Irving added to his credentials by calmly draining a pull-up jumper from the top of the arc to send the Cavaliers to their third straight win.

Irving finished with 32 points and Marreese Speights had 17 for the Cavs. Tristan Thompson scored 14 and Wayne Ellington had 12.

Toronto had five players score in double figures. Amir Johnson had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Alan Anderson scored 17 and Ed Davis finished with 16.

The Raptors had won seven of their previous nine meetings with the Cavaliers.

Anderson's layup to begin the fourth gave the Raptors an 11-point cushion but Ellington hit two 3-pointers as Cleveland answered with a 12-2 run, cutting it to 79-78 with 9:21 left.

The Cavaliers took their first lead since the first quarter on a layup by Thompson, but Terrence Ross restored Toronto's lead with a 3 less than a minute later.

Ellington's third 3-pointer of the fourth put the Cavaliers in front again, making it 88-87 with 4:44 left. Irving followed with a pair of free throws and then a driving layup for Cleveland's biggest lead of the game, but another 3 by Ross cut it to 92-90 with 3:19 remaining.

Toronto tied it with 2:12 left when Jose Calderon stole the ball from Irving and fed a streaking Ross for a layup. The Raptors reclaimed the lead on a driving dunk by Johnson with 1:16 to play.

Irving tied it again on a driving layup but Calderon promptly answered with a layup at the other end, putting the Raptors up 98-96 with 12 seconds to go.

The Cavaliers then called timeout and Irving made the decisive 3 while topping 30 points for the third straight game.

DeMar DeRozan, whose buzzer-beating jump shot gave Toronto a 97-95 victory at Orlando on Thursday, got off to a strong start, making six of his first seven field-goal attempts and scoring 12 points to help the Raptors to a 25-19 lead after one. But DeRozan had just three points the rest of the way.

Irving scored eight points in the second and Speights added seven as Cleveland closed the gap, but an eight-point effort by Davis gave Toronto a 50-46 lead at the half.

NOTES: Cleveland's Daniel Gibson left at half with a sore right big toe and did not return. ... Toronto's Landry Fields started despite suffering from flulike symptoms. ... Cleveland F Luke Walton did not play because of soreness in his left foot and ankle. ... The Raptors wore camouflage uniforms to mark Canadian Forces Appreciation Night. More than 500 Canadian Forces members and their families attended the game.

Quick Links

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

capture_carlson.png
USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

nhldraftaalexeyev16x9.png
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: