Nationals

Knicks overcome Irving's 41, hold off Cavs 103-102

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Knicks overcome Irving's 41, hold off Cavs 103-102

NEW YORK (AP) Raymond Felton scored 25 points, Tyson Chandler had 23, and the New York Knicks overcame Kyrie Irving's career-high 41 points and the absence of Carmelo Anthony to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-102 on Saturday night.

The Knicks won their fourth straight when Anderson Varejao missed the second of two free throws with 1 second left. They improved the NBA's only unbeaten home record to 10-0, their best start since the 1991-92 team won its first 11 at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony, the NBA's No. 2 scorer, missed the game after spraining his left ankle Thursday in the third quarter of a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. But Chandler scored 21 in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Felton and Jason Kidd combined for 15 assists.

It almost wasn't enough thanks to Irving, who had no problems wearing a black protective mask after breaking a bone in his face on a hard fall Friday night against Milwaukee.

Rookie Chris Copeland scored 11 points in his first career start in place of Anthony, who scored 30 points in 22 minutes Thursday before getting hurt when he landed awkwardly after a hard foul by Dwight Howard. The Knicks improved to 2-1 without him, adding this to a surprising rout in Miami on Dec. 6.

Leading by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, the Knicks had their lead cut to 102-101 when Irving made two free throws with 10.1 seconds left. After Steve Novak made one free throw, Irving pushed the ball up and seemingly the whole Knicks team converged on him, leaving Varejao uncovered toward the left sideline. Irving threw him the ball and Varejao dribbled into the lane, where he was fouled with a second left. After making the first, he may have been distracted when the officials took the ball back from him so the Knicks could make a late substitution, and the second shot fell out.

Irving scored 17 points in the final period, the second-year pro surpassing his previous best of 34 points despite saying he arrived less than three hours before the tip and with only about four hours of sleep after getting fitted for the mask.

CJ Miles finished with 17 points for the Cavs, who had three masked men in uniform as they dropped their third straight. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller were already wearing them for previous facial injuries.

J.R Smith scored 13 points and Novak had 13 for the Knicks, who continue their six-game homestand Monday against Houston in Jeremy Lin's return to Madison Square Garden.

Copeland made all three shots in the first quarter, but Thompson was 4 for 4 as the Cavs took a 28-27 lead. The Knicks opened a seven-point lead in the second but the Cavs came back to tie it before Novak's 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining sent New York to halftime with a 48-45 advantage.

The Knicks scored the first seven of the second half, opening a 55-45 lead on Felton's 3-pointer a little more than 2 minutes into the third quarter. Cleveland didn't let them get any further away, getting the deficit down to two late in the period before trailing 78-73 going to the fourth.

NOTES: The Knicks were also without reserve forward Rasheed Wallace because of a sore left foot. ... Longtime Knicks TV and radio announcer John Andariese was honored with the fifth annual Dick McGuire Knickerbocker Legacy award, given by the family of the Hall of Fame player and team employee to a person who ``exudes the qualities of what it means to be a Knickerbocker.'' Andariese retired before the season after more than 35 years of broadcasting the Knicks.

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Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

Adam Eaton calls Todd Frazier ‘childish’ after the ex-teammates get into it again

NEW YORK -- Normal is not something the Nationals do this season.

Monday’s pivot from the mundane -- an otherwise run-of-the-mill 5-3 baseball game -- came when Adam Eaton was jogging toward the visitors dugout in the bottom of the third inning when he stopped to respond to New York third baseman Todd Frazier, whom Eaton said was chirping at him all night.

This is not new. The two were teammates on the Chicago White Sox in 2016 and did not get along. Last year, Frazier and Eaton also had an exchange. The one Monday night at Citi Field prompted several members of the Nationals to hop over the dugout railing while Frazier and Eaton were being restrained near the first base bag. First base umpire Mike Estabrook cutoff Eaton who was walking toward Frazier after initially heading to the dugout following a 4-6-3 double play which ended the inning for the Nationals. When Frazier came toward the Mets dugout from his position at third base, the two began their spat.

Afterward, Frazier declined to comment in the Mets’ clubhouse, saying only, “It was nothing.” Eaton took the opportunity to expound on his displeasure with the incident, its continuation and Frazier himself.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Eaton said. “Gosh, who knows what goes through that guy’s mind? He’s chirping all the way across the infield. He must really like me, [because] he wants to get my attention it seems like every time we come into town, he really cares what I think about him. I don’t know what his deal is, if he wants to talk to me in person or have a visit or what it is. But he’s always yelling across the infield at me, making a habit of it.

“He’s one of those guys who always says it loud enough that you hear it but can’t understand it. So, he’s making a habit of it. I ignored him a couple times chirping coming across, but I had it to the point where I’m not going to say the saying I want to say but you got to be a man at some point. So, I turned around, had a few choice words with him. It’s funny, I was walking towards him, he didn’t really want to walk towards me but as soon as someone held him back then he was all of a sudden he was really impatient, like trying to get towards me. Just being Todd Frazier. What’s new?”

Asked if he is surprised such exchanges are still happening three years after they played together, Eaton said he was.

“Yes, absolutely,” Eaton said. “He’s very childish. I’m walking with my head down, play’s over, I’m walking away. I can still hear him. I’m a 30-year-old man with two kids, got a mortgage and everything. He wants to loud talk as he’s running off the field. At the end of the day, I got to be a man about it. I tried to stay patient with the childishness, but it is what it is. I got to stand up eventually.”

He did, and what could have been merely Game 47 for a struggling team turned out to be something else.

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Patrick Corbin’s rough beginning a hole Nationals can’t emerge from

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Patrick Corbin’s rough beginning a hole Nationals can’t emerge from

NEW YORK -- The Washington Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 5-3, Monday to drop their record to 19-28. Here are five observations from the game…

1. A wondrous, very Mets day preceded the game.

Their general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, held a press conference to announce...Yoenis Cespedes -- already out because of dual heel surgeries -- suffered multiple ankle fractures during a ranch accident over the weekend. Van Wagenen then went on to profess his support for maligned New York manager Mickey Callaway -- for the most part. Last, and most important to writers, three boxes of donuts were in the press box with a note: “Have a great series! -- BVW”.

Things are always a little different in Flushing. That was a problem for the Nationals.

In what could be labeled a “reverse-lock” situation, Washington’s $140 million starter, Patrick Corbin, was outpitched by unknown and often ineffective Wilmer Font, whom the Nationals smacked around just five days ago. The Nationals, as they often do, dragged themselves back into the game after trailing 4-0. A Juan Soto single drove in Anthony Rendon in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3. Rendon was on base four times.

And, again, it was just enough to produce a close loss. Washington put two runners on with none out against dynamic New York closer Edwin Diaz before Kurt Suzuki flew out, Trea Turner grounded into a fielder's choice and Adam Eaton flew out.

The Nationals drop to nine games under .500 following one-run and two-run defeats. They also fell to 2-14 in series openers.

2. A rough, short evening for Corbin.

He trudged through the night on 98 pitches. Corbin lasted just five innings. He walked three, gave up four earned runs, struck out seven.

His night was a mess early. Amed Rosario and Pete Alonso homered in the first inning. Two walks in the third -- one with two outs -- led to two more runs scoring. He zipped through the fourth and fifth before being removed.

Corbin has endured two blowups this season in an otherwise quality first two months: Monday and April 29 against St. Louis. The latter outing featured four walks and a homer allowed against one of the league’s better offenses. Monday’s bad outing came against a Mets lineup which did not feature Robinson Cano to start and entered the evening 21st in wOBA.

Bad timing. Bad night.

3. Tanner Rainey made his Nationals debut Monday. He was interesting.

Rainey gave up a hustle double to pinch-hitter Cano -- yes, hustle and Cano -- but otherwise showed a sharp fastball-slider combination.

Rainey was the return for Tanner Roark in the offseason trade that sent Roark to Cincinnati during the Winter Meetings.

He has command trouble. He also throws 98-100 mph with ease. Asked in spring training where that velocity comes from, Rainey said his legs and weight lifting. No secret sauce. He lifted more, he threw harder. And he subsequently repeated the process.

Rainey’s velocity will always intrigue. The question is if he can command his two-pitch arsenal enough to become an actual bullpen weapon. The baseline tools are there.

4. A shuffle in the relief corps is coming.

Tony Sipp (oblique) was activated from the 10-day injured list Monday. Dan Jennings was designated for assignment. That experiment is over. Jennings signed a minor-league contract April 15. He was in the majors April 30. He’s gone less than a month later. He did not pitch well.

The Nationals claimed right-handed Javy Guerra off waivers Monday. Guerra was designated for assignment by Toronto. Guerra pitched 14 innings for the Blue Jays this season, with a 3.86 ERA and 3.17 FIP. In other words, distinctly better than most in the Nationals bullpen.

Washington expects Guerra to arrive in New York on Tuesday. Kyle McGowin is likely to be sent back to Triple-A Fresno to make room. So, two fresh pitchers in the bullpen early in the week.

Trevor Rosenthal should also be back shortly. He is expected to throw an inning for Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday. Rainey will likely be sent back to the minor leagues to make room there.

And, a situation in West Palm Beach, Fla., to keep an eye on: reliever Austen Williams had to be shut down to allow his shoulder to rest. Williams threw 40 pitches at the spring training facility the first week of May, when he appeared on his way back from the 10-day injured list. However, he has stopped throwing after experiencing further shoulder soreness. He was placed on the injured list April 19 because of a sprained right AC joint.

5. Matt Adams worked with the team on the field Monday, which he expects to do the next two days.

He’s on the verge of being activated before the week is out.

“I watched him [Monday] and he took some really good swings,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how he feels [Tuesday]. I’m assuming that he might be a little sore, because he did take some swings and he’s going to continue to do baseball activities [Monday]. But we’ll see how he feels.”

Adams’ 15-day absence has handcuffed Martinez in multiple ways. Take Sunday. Right-handed slider-thrower Steve Cishek on the mound. Left-handed hitters’ OPS against Cishek is 143 points higher than right-handers. But, no Adams meant no left-handed pinch-hitter.

Those issues should be over soon.

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