Nationals

Lillard scores 29, Blazers defeat Spurs 98-90

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Lillard scores 29, Blazers defeat Spurs 98-90

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Rookie guard Damian Lillard had a career-high 29 points and the Portland Trail Blazers handed the San Antonio Spurs their second straight loss with a 98-90 victory Thursday night.

The Spurs, who have lost only six games this season, trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half but Manu Ginobili's layup cut the deficit to 89-85. J.J. Hickson answered for the Blazers with a running hook that made it 91-85 with 2:36 left.

Danny Green hit a 3-pointer to pull the Spurs closer again, but Portland clung to the lead and Nicolas Batum - who has been bothered by a sore back - made a 3 that gave Portland a 96-90 advantage with 1:08 left. Batum hit two free throws with 8 seconds to go for the final margin.

It was Lillard's 13th game this season with 20 or more points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points for the Blazers and Hickson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Tony Parker had 21 points for the Spurs, who were coming off a 99-96 loss at Utah on Wednesday night that snapped a five-game winning streak.

The Blazers were coming off a 92-74 victory over Toronto on Monday during which Portland set an NBA record by going 0 for 20 from 3-point range.

The Blazers were without starter Wesley Matthews for the second straight game. Matthews strained his left hip in the fourth quarter of a loss last Saturday to the Kings. The injury put him on the bench in street clothes for the first time in his four-year NBA career. He had played in 250 straight games, second-most among active players behind Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.

Matthews was replaced by Victor Claver against the Spurs. Batum also missed the victory over the Raptors, but he started on Thursday night.

Luke Babbitt made a 3-pointer to put Portland in front 32-25. But former Trail Blazer Patty Mills hit a 23-foot jumper to tie it 32-all, and Green added a fast-break layup to give San Antonio the lead. It didn't last long, however, and Portland reclaimed the lead with Will Barton's dunk and another 3 by Babbitt.

Lillard made a long jumper to end the first half with the Blazers up 49-45.

His pull-up jumper made it 61-57 midway through a tight third quarter. Already-hurting Portland got a scare a short time later when Aldridge fell hard to the court and took a few moments to get up.

Lillard and Babbitt each hit long jumpers and Sasha Pavlovic added a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 72-61. Lillard had 23 points in the third quarter alone.

Parker's layup and jumper pulled the Spurs to 85-81 with 5:16 left.

San Antonio is 4-2 on the back end of back-to-back games. The other loss came against the Miami Heat on Nov. 29, notable because coach Gregg Popovich did not play starters Tim Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Green. The Spurs were subsequently fined by the NBA.

NOTES: The Blazers held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the shooting Tuesday night at Clackamas Town Center in suburban Portland. Two people were killed and another was wounded by a masked gunman who fatally shot himself. ... The Spurs beat the Blazers 112-109 on Nov. 10 to snap a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. San Antonio rallied for the win after trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter.

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WATCH: Juan Soto goes opposite field for his first home run of 2020

WATCH: Juan Soto goes opposite field for his first home run of 2020

On August 8th, Nationals star Juan Soto hit his first home run of the 2020 season. In a normal year, that would be extremely concerning for the Washington brass. But 2020 is the least bit normal.

Soto missed the first eight games of Washington's season after testing positive for the novel coronavirus -- one he and many in the Nats organization think was a false-positive. The left fielder returned to Washington's lineup on Wednesday, and three days later, Soto notched his first long-ball of the 2020 season.

In his first at-bat in Saturday evening's contest against the Beltway foe Orioles, Soto stayed back on a 79 mph changeup from Orioles starter Tom Eshelman, a pitch that stayed over the plate just a bit too much.

The 21-year-old squared the barrel up and muscled the pitch 370 feet the opposite way, with the ball landing just barely over the left field wall about a free throw's length to the right of his family cardboard cutouts.

The home run was Soto's 57th of his career, tying Mickey Mantle for the eighth-most of any player before turning 22 years old. That long ball from the Nats' phenom puts him in quite the company.

Washington took a 1-0 lead on Soto's home run, a game the Nationals desperately need after dropping two straight following a three-game win streak.

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For Native American activists, Washington NFL name change not the end of their fight

For Native American activists, Washington NFL name change not the end of their fight

It took decades for the football team in Washington to remove the derogatory name from FedEx Field, giving local Native Americans  - and those throughout the United States who had long pushed for change - a win in what seemed like an endless fight. 

"With Mr. Snyder, what put the pressure on him to change the name? Money talks and that's what he realizes. And he realizes that he's fighting a losing battle. And that's the bottom line," Chief of the Piscataway Indian Tribe Billy "Redwing" Tayac said to ABC News.

Residing in Accokeek, Maryland, Chief Tayac has been fighting for a name change since the 1980s when he said he was one of the first plaintiffs in legal action aiming to force Washington to choose another name. After the franchise's field sponsor, FedEx, put public pressure on the organization to change its name - coupled with the national protests against racial injustices - Snyder finally gave in. 

While Chief Tayac's trailblazing efforts laid the groundwork necessary to get to today, modern activists like Laguna Pueblo and Omaha Tribe member Mary Phillips continue to fight for justice.

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"And so it's always been, you know [difficult], trying to educate people to understand that this word, this team celebrates actually celebrates the color of my skin by saying that it is red," Phillips said to ABC News' Abby Cruz. "In the grander sense of things, it's so evaporating from people's minds that they don't even realize how racist it really is."

Survivors of generational injustices and discriminatory practices from the United States government, both Chief Tayac and Phillips know the fight isn't over just because the NFL franchise in D.C is now called the Washington Football Team. 

"Whether anybody likes it or not, I'd like to say this is our country. This is where God put us there. And nobody is gonna shove off of it," Chief Tayac said.

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