Redskins

Lopez leads Nets past Timberwolves 91-83

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Lopez leads Nets past Timberwolves 91-83

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Brook Lopez strengthened his push for a spot on the All-Star team with 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting, helping the Brooklyn Nets hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 91-83 on Wednesday night.

The Nets improved to 12-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, and they're 9-1 with their preferred starting lineup: Lopez, the NBA's highest-scoring center, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. Williams and Johnson scored 18 points apiece, and the Nets never trailed despite some sloppy stretches of play.

C.J. Watson added 14 points for the Nets, who won for the first time in their last nine games at Minnesota. The Wolves have lost seven of their last eight overall.

Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points and Dante Cunningham added 14 for the Wolves, who played without shooting guard Alexey Shved (left ankle) and center Nikola Pekovic (right quadriceps) for the third straight game. That's not to mention the four others out with longer-term injuries, a troubling list led by Kevin Love.

With Ricky Rubio guarding Williams and Luke Ridnour on Johnson, the Nets as they often do had mostly favorable matchups in the backcourt with their pair of perennial All-Stars. But whether it was bad passes that sailed out of bounds, a willingness to settle too often for long jump shots or scrappy defense by the Wolves, the Nets never put the game away. They even took a 66-52 lead shortly after halftime, only to let Ridnour lead the Wolves back within two points again.

Johnson went nearly 24 1/2 minutes without scoring until a flurry late in the third quarter. Watson picked up where Johnson left off, playing a game of ``Around the World'' at J.J. Barea's expense early in the fourth period with nine straight points for the Nets.

The Wolves fell to 3-9 in January, 2-8 since Love re-injured his right hand.

Fresh from an important win over the crosstown rival Knicks that moved them within one game of the Atlantic Division lead, the Nets needed to avoid the natural letdown against a reeling, injury-ravaged opponent. ``You talk about Band-Aids,'' Carlesimo said before the game, sympathizing with the Wolves.

The Nets took a 14-2 lead with a 10-for-15 start from the floor against a team whose defense has faded following a solid start to the season. The Wolves allowed an average of 91.9 points over their first 18 games, but in the 21 games since they've given up more than 100 points per contest.

For all their effort to make this a game, the Wolves were just too short-handed to gain control. Derrick Williams found a lane to the basket off a slick give-and-go with Ridnour late in the first quarter, but he missed his dunk with Lopez in his face. Then, when Rubio stole the ball back, the struggling point guard's behind-the-back pass to Williams was intercepted by Wallace.

Chris Johnson, the lean, athletic center signed on Saturday to an emergency 10-day contract from the D-League, at least provided some energy and flair underneath to help counteract Lopez's usual production on the other end. Chris Johnson played all 12 minutes in the second quarter and had 10 points in that stretch. He's 11 of 14 from the field in three games for the Wolves.

Rubio had more trouble finding a rhythm, a common sight in his comeback from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. He had six assists and three steals but only five points on 2-for-5 shooting and looked upset on the bench near the end of the game.

Rubio's season high is eight points, and he is 0 for 11 from 3-point range. Outside shooting is trouble for the whole team, though. The Wolves were the only NBA team coming into the game with a 3-point percentage worse than 30 percent. They went 3 for 15 on Wednesday.

Notes: Barea said he'll appeal his $5,000 fine for flopping. His second violation of the new rule this season occurred in the Jan. 14 game at Dallas. ... The Nets assigned rookies Tornike Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor to their D-League affiliate. Carlesimo said they're good enough to be in the NBA now, but there's little opportunity for them to develop on a contending team. ``They need to play more than anything,'' the coach said. ... Carlesimo was asked what the ceiling is for Lopez, who entering the night was the only player in the NBA currently averaging at least 18 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. ``I don't know, and I think that's a good thing,'' Carlesimo said. ... Ridnour has scored in double digits in 10 of his last 11 games. He's the only Wolves player to start every game this season.

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Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

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Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan had to know the question was coming, and for the most part, his answer was perfectly polite and diplomatic. Until a nice, little elbow at the end, that is.

The 49ers coach was asked on a Wednesday conference call how he'll avoid making this Sunday's game against the Redskins personal. Shanahan was with Washington from 2010-2013 along with his dad, Mike, but the end of his tenure in D.C. was very messy.

In his response, he explained how he'll try to treat the Burgundy and Gold like any other opponent, but then he dropped one comment that indicated he is in fact looking for some major revenge.

"It's not my first time back there," he said. "I've been in three buildings since. I've moved on with my life in many other ways and I think my family has also. I think it's pretty easy not to make it personal. The guys it'd be personal with don't play in the game."

That last portion was no doubt directed at the Redskins' front office, with whom Kyle and Mike had plenty of issues with. It wasn't the only part of the call where Shanahan slighted the Redskins, either. 

At one point, the 39-year-old was pushed to describe how he's gone about rebuilding San Francisco's culture since he took over. He stressed having a united vision with the decision-makers above him and sounded quite pleased to be in a place where he feels like that's happening.

"To me, culture's based off the type of people you have there," he explained. "I knew, during the interview, meeting the owner, then being able to get a general manager like John Lynch, we knew we had the people, the right people with the right intentions that were in it for one thing, and that was to win. And we also could be very honest with where we were at at the time."

"We've got people who live and die football and they know how to treat each other," he added. "It's one of the more fun groups and higher-character groups that I've been around."

So, that wasn't as direct as his first jab, but it still got the job done. Don't worry, though. He found time for one more obvious remark about his old employer before facing them in Week 7.

Near the end of the discussion, Shanahan was given a hypothetical where a young, up-and-coming coach approaches him about possibly working with the Redskins. What would Shanahan tell that person? After a quick chuckle, he played along the best he could.

"Just look into it. See what the situation is, who you want to work for," he said. "Anytime you get opportunities, you've got to look into it. But I'm not there, I don't know how it is right now, so that would be up to that person."

Then came the kicker.

"I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice."

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Adding Marcus Peters has John Harbaugh and the Ravens secondary pumped

Adding Marcus Peters has John Harbaugh and the Ravens secondary pumped

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Help is on the way for the Ravens secondary. 

With the addition of Marcus Peters, the Ravens are hopeful to boost a depleted secondary due to injuries. Tavon Young, Iman Marshall and Jimmy Smith have all missed significant time with injuries, and only Smith is set to return sooner rather than later. 

Peters, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, is what the Ravens are hoping will take their defense to a level they haven’t been at all season. 

“We’re looking forward to getting him in there,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ve known him for quite a long time, ever since the draft when he was coming out of Washington. We spent a lot of time with him in that process, and every chance we’ve had to cross paths since, it’s been very positive.”

After two seasons in Kansas City, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. There, he played just over a season before being traded to Baltimore. 

In his 67 games in the NFL, Peters has 24 interceptions — a league-best during that time frame — and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice and named First Team All-Pro once. 

Peters figures to slide in on the opposite side of Marlon Humphrey, who is having a Pro Bowl caliber season. 

“I think that’s a great move,” Earl Thomas said. “I think we have two top-five corners playing on the same team with him and Marlon, so it’s definitely going to help out in the back end and the whole defense.”

Included in the imminent return of Smith, presumably either for the Seahawks or Patriots game, the Ravens cornerback depth is slowly inching to healthy. 

Peters will fly to Baltimore late Wednesday and be ready for practices on Thursday and Friday. Harbaugh said he’ll play on Sunday as much as he can. The Ravens have made it a sort of habit to get players quickly acclimated to the defense in recent weeks, something they’ll try and fastrack once again with Peters. 

The move also presents flexibility for the Ravens secondary as Brandon Carr could slide back to safety, something he did during training camp.

“Let’s move around, man,” Carr said. “Let’s keep the offense on their toes, let’s be aggressive, let’s make plays, so I’m all for it.”

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