Wizards

Morris scores 14 points, Suns beat Blazers 104-93

201210122145783573381-p2.jpeg

Morris scores 14 points, Suns beat Blazers 104-93

PHOENIX (AP) Markieff Morris scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures and the Phoenix Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-93 in their preseason home opener Friday night.

Morris had an eventful first half, scoring five points and committing four fouls in only 3:47 on the floor. But the second-year forward hit 4 of 5 shots in the second half as the Suns extended a seven point halftime lead to as many as 16.

Luis Scola, Wesley Johnson and Shannon Brown had 12 points each for the Suns, who led for all but the first 2:40 of the game. Michael Beasley added 10 points.

Damian Lillard scored 15 points, and Meyers Leonard and Nicolas Batum had 14 apiece for the Blazers.

Quick Links

Bradley Beal excitedly tweets reaction to signing two-year extension

Bradley Beal excitedly tweets reaction to signing two-year extension

ICYMI, Bradley Beal finally signed a contract extension with the Washington Wizards. The two-year, $72 million deal begins in the 2021-22 season and includes a four-year player option available in 2022-23.

After a career year for shooting guard we know and love to call Panda, as well as a tumultuous year for the Wizards, Beal faced many options, like requesting a trade or holding out. Instead of requesting a trade, he put the pen to paper with a deal that's flexible for what's to come Washington's way over the next five seasons. Making this happen is a huge win for the Wizards front office and is a significant success for general manager Tommy Sheppard to add to his resume.

With all of that said, Bradley Beal is pretty excited about the extension, too.

We're doing the same dance moves over the good news, Brad! The Wizards' future looks bright and filled with panda swag.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Why Nationals fans should be rooting for the Yankees in the ALCS

Why Nationals fans should be rooting for the Yankees in the ALCS

The Nationals wrapping up the NL Championship Series in a sweep has given them an unusually long break of six days before Game 1 of the World Series takes place Tuesday night. That has allowed the team and their fans to stop and soak in the glory of making it this far. It also gives plenty of time to watch the ALCS and consider Washington's next opponent.

When it comes to that, Nationals should have one clear, if undesirable, option. That is to root for the New York Yankees.

Yes, the team everyone loves to hate, the Evil Empire, the team with more bandwagon fans maybe than anyone else in sports. In a sense, the Yankees don't deserve going to the World Series as much as the Houston Astros, as they have won more championships than anyone else. But they also probably represent the Nats' best path towards getting their first.

The Astros, though more likeable than the Yankees, are also better. They are a superteam devoid of weaknesses. They would meet the Nationals in the World Series with an advantage in just about every single category. Their lineup is better, their defense is better, their pitching staff as a whole is better and their manager is more experienced. They won a World Series just two years ago and are arguably better now than they were then.

Even their starting rotation, one could argue, is at least as good if not better than that of the Nationals. They may be the only team in baseball that can match the triumvirate of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin with an equally-imposing trio of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke. Not to mention their vastly superior bullpen.

The Yankees, meanwhile, also have a better lineup and bullpen than the Nationals. But they don't have the rotation the Nationals do. They only had one starter this season post a sub-4.00 ERA and that was James Paxton, who has already allowed four runs in seven innings so far this postseason.

The Nationals' rotation would be a clear strength against the Yankees' and would be the ideal counter to New York's best asset, a power-hitting lineup led by Aaron Judge, D.J. LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton. And while Stanton has given the Nationals nightmares for many years, he is not 100 percent healthy due to a quadriceps strain.

There are also some good narratives in a potential Nationals-Yankees series, for those who are interested in those sorts of things. For one, the last time a D.C. baseball team made the World Series, back in 1933, they played a New York team, the Giants. In fact, the Senators beat the Giants in 1924 to capture Washington's only World Series title.

There is also an angle many Nationals fans may dismiss, but will be a factor for some. Before the Nats arrived in Washington, generations of baseball fans in Washington grew up rooting for the Baltimore Orioles. And not only were those fans trained to view the Yankees as rivals, many were scarred by the 1996 ALCS when a young fan named Jeffrey Maier reached out to catch a fly ball in Game 1 that should not have been a home run. To many baseball fans in this area, it cost their favorite team a chance to play in the World Series.

Playing New York would also give fans an easier way to travel to road games. The drive to New York is only about four hours via car or bus, and the train is even faster. Yankee Stadium would likely have a good amount of red in the crowd.

Travel considerations and media storylines aside, the most important goal for the Nationals is to win four more games and capture the team's first World Series title. Playing the Yankees increases the likelihood of that happening at least a little bit.

It's like a prescription with adverse side effects that is essential for a patient. Nationals fans should know what to do as they watch the ALCS. Just maybe hold your nose as you wash it down.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: