Capitals

Lakers hit 17 3-pointers, win 122-103 over Denver

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Lakers hit 17 3-pointers, win 122-103 over Denver

LOS ANGELES (AP) Antawn Jamison scored 33 points while leading an outstanding game by the Lakers' reserves, and Dwight Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds before hitting Los Angeles' 17th 3-pointer in the final seconds of a 122-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Jodie Meeks scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers for the Lakers, who improved to 3-3 under Mike D'Antoni while playing splendidly at the furious tempo favored by their new coach.

The Lakers tied the club record for 3-pointers in a regulation game, getting five from Jamison in the first 30-point game by a Lakers reserve since 1998.

Howard capped it with just the second 3-pointer of his career with 9.8 seconds to play.

Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points for the Nuggets, who lost three times on their three-game trip.

Kobe Bryant had 14 points and eight assists for the Lakers, who had lost three of four after scoring 77 points against Indiana three nights earlier.

Just three days after the Lakers' reserves managed just five points in that ugly loss to the Pacers, they produced 61 points against Denver.

The Lakers' bench has been unimpressive for two straight seasons, but Jamison and Meeks shot exceptionally well against Denver, while Chris Duhon had a strong playmaking game with eight assists and five points.

Jamison, the high-scoring veteran who signed with Los Angeles for a shot at a title, found the shooting stroke he has lacked for much of the season so far, going 13 for 19 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal was the previous Lakers reserve to score more than 30 points in a game.

Meeks was even more accurate, missing just one of his eight 3-point attempts.

Los Angeles led 71-57 at halftime, making 60 percent of its shots in an impressive stretch of offensive basketball. Howard controlled the first quarter with 16 points and five rebounds, playing with obvious motivation, while Meeks put on his shooting clinic in the second quarter, draining his first five 3-point attempts to match his highest-scoring game in his first season with Los Angeles.

The Lakers' lead dwindled to seven points before a 12-2 run, but Jamison and Meeks led a strong fourth quarter while three Lakers starters rested. Jamison hit the Lakers' 16th 3-pointer with 6:51 to play, and the Lakers rolled to the win capped by Howard's improbable 3.

The clubs met for the first time since the Lakers eliminated Denver in the first round of last season's playoffs despite a lively effort by the Nuggets, who fought off elimination twice before Los Angeles won a thrilling Game 7 at home.

The Lakers have changed greatly since that series, with major roster additions and a new coaching staff that likes the same up-tempo style of basketball favored by the Nuggets.

Denver coach George Karl expects the Lakers to be a force in the Western Conference playoff race, saying before the game that he can already see their adjustments to D'Antoni's style.

NOTES: Jamison and Meeks were the first Lakers reserves to score 20 points apiece since Bryant and Nick Van Exel did it in April 1998. ... The Lakers finish their final multigame homestand before Christmas against Orlando on Sunday night. Los Angeles will have played 12 of its first 17 games at Staples Center, plowing through more than a quarter of their entire home schedule in the season's opening five weeks, before playing nine of its next 12 on the road. ... Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Chad Smith attended the game.

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Max and Erica Scherzer announce ‘Nats for Masks’ initiative

Max and Erica Scherzer announce ‘Nats for Masks’ initiative

Max Scherzer and his wife, Erica, have announced the formation of a new organization called 'Nats for Masks' that will help provide masks to underprivileged and at-risk populations in DMV area.

As part of the initiative, the Scherzers will auction off some of their personal collection of memorabilia to support COVID-19 relief efforts in the DMV. Some of the auction items available included autographed game-used jerseys, caps, and even Max’s 2019 All-Star Game nameplate.

Giving back to the community is nothing new to the Scherzer family. As animal lovers, back in 2017 during the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Scherzer’s rallied to cover adoption fees for all animals at the Washington-based Humane Rescue Alliance in order to make space for animals brought in from Houston.

Erica is also on the Board of Directors of the Humane Rescue Alliance, and Max has also contributed in the past in a PSA to raise awareness for the shelter.

https://twitter.com/HumaneRescue/status/861982319892193284?s=20

As if we needed another reason to adore the Scherzer family and what they do for our community, just add this to the list.

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