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LeBron over 20 again, Heat beat Mavericks 110-95

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LeBron over 20 again, Heat beat Mavericks 110-95

DALLAS (AP) This was too easy for LeBron James and the Miami Heat against a Dallas team already missing Dirk Nowitzki when it was plagued by more injuries.

There was no semblance of their two NBA Finals matchups against each other.

James scored 24 points with some early baskets on nifty passes from Dwyane Wade, and the Heat rolled to a 110-95 victory Thursday night, a game in which Miami led by 36 points before James and Wade sat out entire fourth quarter.

``I'm just playing within the game,'' said Wade, who had 19 points and six assists. ``My job is to do a little bit of everything right now.''

Including getting the ball to James, who has scored at least 20 points in all 23 games, the longest streak to start an NBA season since Karl Malone's 24 in a row opening the 1989-90 season.

``I'm just very comfortable and confident in my ability,'' James said. ``I put a lot of work into my game. It's always good when you put in the work and implement that into a game situation.''

Nowitzki, the Mavs' 11-time All-Star, hasn't played this season though he practiced for the first time this week since arthroscopic right knee surgery Oct. 19. Dallas is now without starting point guard Derek Fisher (right knee) and post players Elton Brand (right groin) and Brandan Wright (right ankle).

The Heat never trailed after James drove for a short floater 3 minutes into the game. They had their first double-digit lead, 22-11, when James made a 3-pointer with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.

``We don't want to give a team too much confidence at home. We understand this team was short-handed,'' Wade said. ``We wanted to come out here on the road and make a statement.''

Chris Bosh added 17 points as the Heat played only their second road game since Nov. 17. They return home to play Utah on Saturday before an NBA Finals rematch against Oklahoma City on Christmas Day.

Rookie Jae Crowder had 15 points to lead six Dallas players in double figures. Dahntay Jones and Bernard James had 12 points each.

LeBron James' first 3 came in between two impressive passes from Wade, who didn't yet have James or Dallas native Bosh as teammates when the Heat clinched their first NBA title in the same building in June 2006.

Dallas is much changed team since winning the 2011 NBA title over the Heat, in the star trio's first season together. Miami is now defending a championship this season.

``Much better team than we were. We know each other,'' James said. ``We can close our eyes and where we're going to be offensively and defensively.''

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wholeheartedly agrees with that assessment, and is dealing with the opposite side of that since Nowitzki and Shawn Marion are the only current Dallas players who actually played in the NBA Finals only two seasons ago.

``They're so much better now since they've been together and there's a lot to be said about being together,'' Carlisle said. ``Right now one of our struggles, we have a group that hasn't been together too much. ... And it's been challenging.''

Bosh rebounded a missed 3-pointer by the Mavericks and got the ball to Wade, who had a perfect alley-oop pass to James, who caught the ball in midair near the rim and slammed it through with both hands.

After another missed 3 by Dallas later in the first quarter, Wade grabbed the rebound under the basket and then threw a football-like pass the length of the court to James. Even with Darren Collison and Vince Carter fronting him, James leaped and reached over to grab the ball, then finished with a layup to make it 27-13.

Dallas pulled to 36-33 after Dominique Jones had consecutive assists to rookies, a 3-pointer by Crowder and a reverse layup by Bernard James.

But Miami then responded with a 16-4 run.

Miami stretched the lead to 91-55, its largest of the season, when Shane Battier made a 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

Nowtizki practiced for the first time Wednesday, and had an individual workout Thursday. It's still unclear when he will make his season debut, but got a huge cheer when he was shown on the video screen during a timeout.

Collison, who lost the job as the starting point guard when the Mavericks signed Fisher on Nov. 29, was back in the starting lineup and had 11 points.

Fisher was hurt in the first quarter of a win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night. He will skip a two-game trip for games at Memphis on Friday night and San Antonio on Sunday. The team said there is no timetable for the 38-year-old Fisher's return and that he would be re-evaluated next week.

NOTES: Mavs guard O.J. Mayo made only three of 14 shots for eight points before facing his former team on Friday night in Memphis. ... The Heat's largest lead this season before Thursday night had been against Washington last week, when they led by 35 points in the fourth quarter. ... Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the freshman quarterback from Texas A&M, was sitting courtside early in the second half. He watched Philadelphia at Houston on Wednesday night. ... When play resumed after a timeout with about 7 minutes left, many fans were watching a fight in the stands instead of the game.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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The 10 best dog parks in the D.C. area

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The 10 best dog parks in the D.C. area

During one of the hottest summers on record, getting the dog out to exercise amid the 100-degree heat has become a daunting task. The sidewalks burn their oh-so-adorable paws and canines living in the big city don't have ample space to expend their energy. 

Fortunately, the D.C. area offers several dog park options for pups to run around, play fetch and cool down with a splash while their owners unwind in a nice shady spot. For anyone looking to switch things up from the everyday walk around the neighborhood, these locations are worth taking a look at. 

10 best dog parks in the D.C. area 

1. Swampoodle Dog Park

3rd and L St NE

Less than a year old, this dog park has become a fun location for both dogs and children. The park is entirely turf so dogs don't get dirty or muddy, and there's a multiple-level jungle gym for kids to swing around on. For a family with young kids and dogs, this park has something for everyone. 

2. Bundy Dog Park

470 P St NW

One of the biggest parks on this entire list, this is the spot for those high-energy dogs that could run all day. It provides plastic bags for easy doggy doo-doo cleanup, but there are no water fountains so make sure to bring your own. 

3. Shaw Dog Park

1651 11th St NW

Like Bundy Dog Park, this location is one of the biggest in the D.C. area. Double gated entry keeps the dogs from running off, and the availability of bags and water bowls keep the area healthy and clean. It's got lights installed for an evening excursion, and there's a separate area designed for smaller dogs. 

4. Shirlington Dog Park 

2710 S Oakland St

Although a little far for D.C. residents, this park is worth the trip. It spans the length of several football fields, has a puppy specific enclosure plus poop bags and water bowls to make sure everything is clean. For those extra hot days, there's a stream for dogs to play in and even a washing station adjacent to the park. It doesn't hurt there's a dog-friendly brewery next door either. 

5. Newark Street Dog Park

39th St NW and Newark St NW

One of the highest-rated parks on Yelp, it has separate play areas for large and small dogs complete with water fountains and bowls. It also features a Children's Garden with monthly learning sessions, picnic tables, and children’s garden equipment.

6. Glencarlyn Park

301 South Harrison St

This is a peaceful haven for dogs and owners who want to get back in touch with nature. There's a stream and waterfall for dogs to douse themselves on hot days, and a small playground for kids to enjoy as well.  The park is unenclosed, however, so this isn't the best spot for dogs who don't obey voice commands well.

7. Lincoln Park

East Capitol and 11th St

Smack-dab in the middle of Washington, D.C., Lincoln Park is ideal for city residents who want to branch out from their usual walk around the block. There are two playgrounds for children and a mile-long circle dirt path for those owners who love to run with their dogs. 

8. Langdon Dog Park

2901 20th Street NE

One of the newer parks on this list, the word is still spreading about Langdon Park. It's spacious and fenced-in, giving dogs ample space to run around and there's a separate area for the especially little balls of fur.  

9. S. Street Dog Park

S St at 17th St NW Washington

Another AstroTurf option for minimal mess, this park even offers wading pools for dogs in the summertime. It can get fairly busy during the evening hours, but it's a great place for dogs to play while owners find a spot on one of the many benches. 

10. Montrose Park

R St and 32 St NW

Although not strictly a dog park, this is still a great location to take your pup. It's recommended to keep dogs on-leash here as it's got tennis courts, a children's play place and picnic areas bustling with people. Traditionally a best-kept secret of D.C. residents, this is the perfect space to escape the sights and sounds of the city. 

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