Nationals

Jazz survive late rally to beat Magic 97-93

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Jazz survive late rally to beat Magic 97-93

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Paul Millsap scored 18 points, Gordon Hayward added 17 and the Utah Jazz survived a fourth-quarter rally to slip past the Orlando Magic 97-93 on Sunday night.

Orlando cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but came up empty at the foul line attempting to tie it.

Utah snapped a two-game losing streak with its fifth consecutive regular-season victory over Orlando. The Jazz played without point guard Mo Williams, who is out indefinitely with a thumb injury.

Arron Afflalo had 20 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead Orlando, which has dropped back-to-back games since losing starting forward Glen Davis to a shoulder injury.

The loss also ended the Magic's three-game home winning streak.

Orlando led 73-71 entering the fourth quarter, but the Jazz scored the first seven points of the period and took a 78-73 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

J.J. Redick hit a fadeaway jumper to put the Magic back on top 87-85 before back-to-back 3's by Utah's Jamaal Tinsley and Randy Foye nudged the Jazz back in front 91-87 with 2:19 left.

Trailing 92-90, Orlando rebounded a miss by Millsap with less than a minute to play and called a timeout. The Magic ran a set play for Afflalo, but his 12-foot jumper was blocked by Hayward and recovered by the Jazz.

Foye was then fouled and hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back to four.

Redick hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout to cut it back to one, and Millsap hit only 1 of 2 at the free throw line after getting fouled with 10.1 seconds remaining.

Jameer Nelson pushed the ball upcourt and found Gustavo Ayon underneath, who was immediately fouled by Foye. Ayon missed the first free throw and his intentional miss on the second was rebounded by Tinsley, who hit a pair from the stripe for the final margin.

With Davis sitting for the second straight game since spraining his left shoulder last week, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn started the second-year big man Ayon in his place - his first start of the season. Davis is out indefinitely, with his return dependent on the progress he makes during rehabilitation.

Vaughn had gone with rookie Andrew Nicholson in Davis' place during the Magic's loss to Toronto on Friday, but struggled from the field in just 19 minutes of action. Ayon came on as a reserve in that game and posted a double-double.

At 6-foot-10, Ayon gave the Magic a size advantage over the 6-8 Millsap. Ayon finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, but Millsap clearly won the night.

The Jazz also had to adjust their starting lineup Sunday, inserting the veteran Tinsley at point guard for Williams, who sprained his right thumb in Saturday's loss at Miami. Williams' return in unknown after an MRI on Sunday revealed damage to the thumb. He will have it re-evaluated back in Salt Lake City.

The Magic took a 47-46 advantage into halftime, but led by as many as 16 in the opening 24 minutes.

Afflalo had 13 points in the first half to lead Orlando, which outscored Utah 16-14 in the paint and 13-8 on second-chance points.

Utah battled back, though, connecting on 4 of 9 from the 3-point line.

Millsap led the Jazz with 10 first-half points.

Notes: Sunday was the fifth game this season Williams has missed due to injury. He missed one game in early November with a strained right abductor and three games late last month with a sprained right foot. ... The Magic teamed with Chase and ``Operation Homefront'' at halftime to surprise Army Sergeant First Class Paul Hiltibidal and his family with a new, mortgage-free home and a $2,500 check to help provide holiday gifts for their four children. While fighting in Afghanistan, Hiltibidal was injured and retired from the Army earlier this year.

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Ryan Zimmerman’s return to the Nationals is finally happening

Ryan Zimmerman’s return to the Nationals is finally happening

If Ryan Zimmerman did not return to the Nationals, he at least would have a future teaching how not to negotiate.

Zimmerman openly drove down his bargaining leverage for almost a year before signing a one-year deal on Friday to return to the only professional team he’s known, a source confirmed. The deal is reported at $2 million.

Throughout the season, Zimmerman openly discussed his interest in returning and understanding it would be at a low rate. As if his stance wasn’t already clear, Zimmerman explained at a screening of the Nationals’ championship video he would return or play more golf.

“So, we’ll be good to go,” Zimmerman said.

It’s baseball for now. Zimmerman rejoins the defending World Series champions to play his 16th season. He’s a 35-year-old platoon player this season. Zimmerman’s money and legacy have been established. He’s back in the fold to pursue another title. 

And he makes an already old Nationals team older. Zimmerman turns 36 years old the day after the 2020 regular season ends. Howie Kendrick will be 37 years old by midseason. Asdrúbal Cabrera is 34 years old. Eric Thames is 33 years old. Will Harris is 35, Daniel Hudson 32, Sean Doolittle 33, Max Scherzer 35, Kurt Suzuki 36. Yan Gomes will be 33 just after the All-Star break. 

Zimmerman will share first base with Thames and, occasionally, Howie Kendrick. They provide an intriguing splits-based platoon. Thames hits right-handers well -- 23 of his 25 2019 home runs came against them, as did much of his opportunity in Milwaukee -- and Zimmerman has a .917 career OPS against left-handed pitchers. Zimmerman is the much better defender.

He’s back because he -- and the Nationals -- believe Zimmerman’s production remains directly tied to his health. His September and postseason work showed Zimmerman’s bat speed remains intact. He is quietly one of the better defensive first baseman in the league. They think they can protect him. Overall, the Nationals are so comfortable with an expanse of older players because they plan to shield them with limited usage. Also, Josh Donaldson went to Minnesota, clearing the cash and providing a need for Zimmerman. 

Kendrick, Cabrera and Starlin Castro can play various infield spots. Thames and Zimmerman will reduce the other’s role, as well as pinch-hit when not starting. Davey Martinez has options. He also has the challenge of rotating players. One thing on his side: older players know they are just that. Grousing about playing time should not be an issue with the group, the majority of which played as role players last year on the way to a World Series title. 

One other thing to note about Zimmerman: he’s 30 home runs short of 300. Can he get there with another two years on the field? He has at least one more to add to his total, assuring his driver has another lonely summer.

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Alex Ovechkin named to NHL's All-Decade first team for 2010-19

Alex Ovechkin named to NHL's All-Decade first team for 2010-19

Alex Ovechkin once again was named to one of the NHL's All-Decade teams.

This go-around, Ovechkin was named to the first-team for the All-Decade Team spanning 2010-2019. 

During those 10 seasons, there was no one that totaled more than Ovi's 437 goals. Only two others had more than his 730 points.

Through our eyes, we saw him mature from a unique superstar to a once-in-a-generation athlete. Ovechkin won his first Stanley Cup in the decade after years of heartbreak and dominant Capitals teams that could never escape the second round. 

Now, he's a mere eight goals away from reaching 700 and further etching his name in the fabric of the sport. 

He is joined with fellow forward Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks. Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Drew Doughty of the Kings and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Golden Knights rounded out the six-player first team. 

NHL ALL-DECADE FIRST TEAM

Alex Ovechkin - F - Capitals
Patrick Kane - F - Blackhawks
Sidney Crosby - C - Penguins
Duncan Keith - D - Blackhawks
Drew Doughty - D - Kings
Marc-Andre Fleury - G- Golden Knights

NHL ALL-DECADE SECOND TEAM

Evgeni Malkin - F - Penguins
Patrice Bergeron - F - Bruins
Steven Stamkos - F - Lightning
Erik Karlsson - D - Sharks
Zdeno Chara - D - Bruins
Henrik Lundqvist - G - Rangers

The Great 8 was also named to the All-Decade team in 2000-10. Only Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby, named to the second team for the last decade, received the recognition last decade as well. 

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