Redskins

Lakers rally past Warriors in OT in Nash's return

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Lakers rally past Warriors in OT in Nash's return

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant had 34 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash finished with 12 points and nine assists in his first game in almost two months, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors 118-115 in overtime on Saturday night.

Metta World Peace and Nash each made a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minutes of regulation before the Warriors came back. World Peace scored 20 points, and Nash converted a step-back shot for the final points in overtime to lift Los Angeles to its fourth straight victory.

Jarrett Jack scored 29 points and David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a disappointing collapse for Golden State, which had won 11 of 14 games to get off to its best start in 20 years. As so often has happened in this one-sided California rivalry, the Lakers took over when it mattered most.

The 38-year-old Nash missed the previous 24 games because of a small fracture in his lower left leg. He was injured in the second game of the season, the former Phoenix star's first with the Lakers.

Los Angeles' rejuvenated point guard showed no signs of rust in the crucial moments.

Nash's 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 103-102 lead with a little less than 2 minutes left in regulation. Festus Ezeli answered with an alley-oop from Jack to put the Warriors back ahead, only to watch Bryant swish a pull-up jumper from 20 feet on the other end.

After Lee's jumper gave Golden State the lead again, World Peace made a corner 3 to put Los Angeles ahead 108-106 with 24.1 seconds remaining. Jack followed with a tying, step-back shot, and the Lakers took over with 14.9 seconds left before Bryant missed a jumper over two defenders at the buzzer.

Bryant made three quick jumpers in overtime, including a fadeaway that left him pumping his fist near the Warriors bench, to put Los Angeles ahead by four. He has scored at least 30 points in eight straight games.

After Curry's 3-pointer trimmed the Lakers' lead to one, Nash's step-back shot in the paint over Curry extended Los Angeles' cushion again. Curry missed a potential tying 3-pointer before Los Angeles grabbed the rebound - and the game.

The Lakers had handed Golden State its most lopsided-loss of the season on Nov. 9, a 101-77 rout in Los Angeles. In the past two months, the Lakers had continued to slide while the Warriors had become surprising winners.

The matchup Saturday marked the first time the Warriors faced the Lakers with a better record through at least 25 games since April 23, 1994.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game that Nash's return could be a fresh start for the franchise, especially with more difficult matchups looming, including a showdown against the New York Knicks (19-7) on Christmas. He said the lineup with Nash is what he had envisioned when the Lakers called him in November to replace Mike Brown, who was fired after a 1-4 start to his second season.

With Nash anchoring D'Antoni's fast-paced system, the Lakers still had no problem settling in offensively.

They scored 15 points off 10 turnovers in the opening quarter to take a 31-27 lead. Dwight Howard was in foul trouble throughout, and the center's absence hurt Los Angeles on the other end, with the Warriors moving in and around the paint almost unchallenged.

At one point, Jack juked Nash and every other defender Los Angeles threw his way. He scored 15 points in the second quarter, sparking a 14-0 run that helped put Golden State ahead 61-53 at halftime.

The up-and-down pace had everybody winded. Curry had to ask coach Mark Jackson to come out for a moment in the third quarter as Golden State played its fourth game in five nights. After a brief rest, Curry keyed another surge to give the Warriors an 88-74 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Bryant practically willed the Lakers back by himself as he has done so often in his illustrious career. He finished an alley-oop from Nash on the next play with two hands, sliced Golden State's lead to 90-88 when he dunked after a give-and-go bounce pass from Howard midway through the fourth, and tied the game at 95 with a 3-pointer in the face of Harrison Barnes minutes later to set up the frantic finish.

NOTES: Darius Morris started at shooting guard for the Lakers ahead of World Peace. D'Antoni said he likes World Peace's energy off the bench, but he will still make some starts depending on the matchup. ... The Lakers have swept the Warriors in three of the last four seasons, including all four during the 2011-12 campaign. They have two more games against each other this season. ... Carl Landry's put-back layup at the halftime buzzer was waved off after officials reviewed television replays.

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Austin Hooper on free agency: 'It really came down to Cleveland and Washington'

Austin Hooper on free agency: 'It really came down to Cleveland and Washington'

Austin Hooper signed the richest contract ever for a tight end last week when he agreed to a four-year deal with the Browns worth $42 million, and that includes $23 million guaranteed. 

With a giant hole at the tight end position and plenty of cash to spend, multiple reports suggested the Redskins would be aggressive in their pursuit of Hooper. And it sounds like they were. 

"It really came down to Cleveland and Washington," Hooper said. "At the end, I chose to be a Brown."

Hooper's comments came during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio and the talented tight end explained that he thought highly of Washington but just liked the situation in Cleveland better. Much of that was the chance to play with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

"It's too exciting of an opportunity to pass up," Hooper said of playing with the Browns. On Mayfield specifically, Hooper cited "how hungry he is to win that’s something that really jumped out to me."

Mayfield is well known for his on-field intensity and fiery attitude, but despite lofty expectations and a talented roster, 2019 was largely a mess in Cleveland. The Browns went 6-10 and Mayfield completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. That's an ugly ratio. This offseason Cleveland overhauled their coaching staff and front office, and the team still has Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and now Hooper. 

Despite choosing to play for the Browns, Hooper still complimented Washington and QB Dwayne Haskins.

"Redskins were definitely a team that had shown interest I would say," Hooper said. "Definitely a solid organization with another talented young quarterback so that was going to be my next landing spot."

Once Hooper signed in Cleveland the Redskins decided to shop in the bargain rack at tight end, signing Richard Rodgers and Logan Thomas. Rodgers has the higher profile after playing with Aaron Rodgers for four seasons in Green Bay, but has been hurt the last two years. Thomas, a college quarterback at Virginia Tech, played 16 games last year and made 16 catches. 

For Redskins fans that expected major activity in free agency, it must be disappointing to hear that Washington got close for Hooper but couldn't close the deal. The team also got close with Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper before he re-signed with Dallas. 

In pro football, close just isn't good enough. 

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Bradley Beal hits game-winning three to lift Wizards over Bucks in 2K simulation

Bradley Beal hits game-winning three to lift Wizards over Bucks in 2K simulation

In perhaps the most exciting 2K simulation yet, the Wizards were able to get their third straight win while getting revenge on the Bucks with a thrilling 80-79 win. 

Bradley Beal was the hero in this one, drilling a game-winning three with just 2.1 seconds left on the clock.

The Bucks, both real and virtual, might want to rethink how they guard Beal. He's torched them in every possible setting this season. He finished with 28 points and shot 12/28 from the field, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. Stop me if you've heard this song before. 

A game of runs

This game was all over the place, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

The Bucks started the game with an 8-0 lead, which was then followed by an 11-2 run by Washington. Then in the second, Milwaukee went on 12-2 run, only to be answered with a 7-0 run by the Wizards thanks to Troy Brown Jr. 

The Wizards led by four points at the end of the first half, but then the Bucks used a 15-6 run in the third to build a lead going into the final frame. 

The fourth quarter featured four lead changes in just eight minutes of play, with the Bucks leading by five with 1:20 left in the game. That was, of course, until the Wizards went on an 11-5 run to end the game. 

A back-and-forth contest in the way you'd least expect, but at least it made for some entertaining hoops. 

Wizards overcome Giannis

In consecutive 2K simulation against the Wizards, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been an absolute monster. 

On Friday night, the reigning MVP went off for 38 points and 14 rebounds and shot 16-for-21 from the floor. Once again, he was impossible to keep out of the paint and the Wizards' front line, like every other team in the NBA, didn't have much of an answer for him. 

Still, the Wizards were able to overcome such a performance this time, mostly thanks to Eric Bledsoe.

The Bucks point guard had a terrible shooting night, going 2-12 from the field for a measly seven points. He even had a chance to redeem himself at the final buzzer, but his potential game-winning shot rolled right off the rim as the final buzzer sounded. 

Other parting thoughts

Before Beal hit the game-winner, Jerome Robinson had the highlight of the night with a no-look pass to Thomas Bryant for a dunk. Since the 2K version of Scott Brooks swapped Robinson for Brown in the starting lineup, both players have played really well in their new roles. 

Brown had 12 points in 14 minutes, while Robinson had 13 of his own to go along with a few impressive dunks. 

Something interesting happened during the second quarter. The 2K broadcast crew consisting of Kevin Harlan, Greg Anthony and Chris Webber mentioned how there has always been a rift between Beal and teammate John Wall. Beal denied the idea in-game, which goes right along with how he's addressed the situation in real life. Just an interesting moment in the first half.

Bryant continues to be an exceptional shot-blocker in a video-game setting. He had several impressive swats against the Celtics earlier in the week, and he did so again Friday in Milwaukee. 

Now, winners of three straight, the 2K Wizards will have their work cut out for them Saturday as they'll play host to LeBron James and the Lakers at virtual Capital One Arena. 

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