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Knicks beat Nets in tuneup for season opener

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Knicks beat Nets in tuneup for season opener

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) Steve Novak made two 3-pointers in overtime, including the go-ahead shot with 1:26 left, and the New York Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 97-95 on Wednesday night in their final tuneup before they meet in their regular-season opener.

Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton each scored 15 points for the Knicks before leaving things to the reserves, who blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter but pulled out the victory to finish 3-3. Rookie Chris Copeland, who has played well in the preseason, led New York with 16 points.

Deron Williams scored 22 points for the Nets, who dropped their final three games and also finished 3-3.

Brooklyn had a chance to force a second overtime, but reserve MarShon Brooks missed a runner in the final seconds.

The local rivals - now residing in the same city - play their hyped, nationally televised opener Nov. 1 at Barclays Center. The Nets, who have watched their home games against the Knicks feel like road contests for years in New Jersey, are hoping the blue jerseys will turn to Brooklyn black-and-white, with their new arena giving them a real home-court advantage.

They sure didn't have one here.

The Nets were technically the home team, playing in an arena they once called home when they were a power in the ABA. But the court was surrounded by fans in Knicks jerseys, and the Nets were booed during pregame introductions and early in the game.

Part of the anger could have been left over from the press conference earlier Wednesday that the NHL's New York Islanders will be leaving this arena to begin playing with the Nets in Barclays Center starting in 2015. An announcement during the game about the move was greeted with scattered boos.

Already without injured big men Amare Stoudemire (ruptured cyst, left knee) and Marcus Camby (strained left calf) the Knicks watched starting center Tyson Chandler fall to the court after a collision on the first possession. He got up and walked to the locker room, but the Knicks said there was no reason to risk his return in calling his injury a sore left knee.

Another forward, Rasheed Wallace, still isn't ready to play as he works himself back into shape following a two-year retirement. Without them, the Knicks could choose to use Anthony as a power forward, especially since Nets coach Avery Johnson said last week his team struggles to defend teams when they go small at that spot.

The Nets jumped to a 23-16 lead after one quarter behind 12 points from Williams, but the Knicks shot 9 of 14 (64 percent) in the second, outscoring Brooklyn 30-20 to take a 46-43 advantage into the half.

The Knicks were ahead by six after three and pushed the lead into double digits early in the fourth as both teams went mostly with bench players in the final period. The Nets rallied to grab an 86-84 lead on Brooks' three-point play with 1:01 left before Copeland's free throws tied it with 47 seconds to go and neither team scored again in regulation.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series