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HOUSTON (AP) Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 30 points, including 12 straight to start the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked just fine without Chris Paul in a 117-109 win over the struggling Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Clippers won their second game in a row despite missing their star point guard, who is day to day with a bruised right kneecap.

Los Angeles used a big third quarter to take the lead, and Crawford extended the advantage to 20 by outscoring Houston 12-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

James Harden had 23 points for the Rockets, whose four-game losing streak is a season worst.

The Clippers improved to 11-1 this season when Crawford leads the team in scoring.

Los Angeles opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take a 68-59 lead with about nine minutes left in the third quarter.

PACERS 103, BOBCATS 76

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Roy Hibbert had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Indiana handed Charlotte its 13th straight home loss.

The Pacers bounced back from Sunday's 11-point defeat to Brooklyn and won for the fifth time in six games.

With team owner Michael Jordan looking on from the bench, the Bobcats lost their fifth in a row. They've dropped 24 of 26 since Thanksgiving.

Indiana won this one going away behind some dominant inside play, outrebounding the Bobcats 60-31 and outscoring them 52-22 in the paint.

Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while David West added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers. George Hill chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Central Division leaders (24-15) have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 9.

Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 15 points.

NETS 113, RAPTORS 106

NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each scored 21 points, and Brooklyn beat Toronto to extend its season-high winning streak to seven games.

Andray Blatche added 14 points for the Nets, in the midst of their longest winning streak since running off 14 in a row late in the 2005-06 season. A .500 team when they fired Avery Johnson late last month, Brooklyn is 9-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and has pulled within 1 1/2 games of the New York Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead.

The Nets dominated the fourth quarter again, pulling away for their sixth straight home victory.

Kyle Lowry scored 21 points for the Raptors, who have dropped two in a row but still have 10 wins in their last 15 games.

HORNETS 111, 76ERS 99

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Greivis Vasquez scored 23 points and Eric Gordon added 19 to help New Orleans beat Philadelphia.

Ryan Anderson had 14 points, Xavier Henry scored 11 and Anthony Davis 10 for the Hornets, who are last in the Western Conference at 12-26 - with matching 6-13 records at home and on the road.

Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 29 points and 11 assists. Nick Young and Evan Turner added 14 points each while Thaddeus Young scored 12.

Philadelphia hasn't won consecutive games since a three-game streak from Nov. 25-30.

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St. Louis therapy dog makes good on NLCS wager, reps Nationals gear

St. Louis therapy dog makes good on NLCS wager, reps Nationals gear

Friendly wagers are one of the best parts of sports. They're even more fun when they involve two very good boys. 

Thor, a black lab therapy dog from Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, challenged Tabby, a German Shepherd therapy dog at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., to a friendly bet on the Nats-Cardinals NLCS best of seven series. The bet was settled not too long after it began.

Since the Nationals swept the Cardinals, Thor had to wear a Nationals' bandana to work, courtesy of Tabby.

Thor does not look very amused, but at least he was a very good sport.

Hopefully, Thor will decide to cheer on the Nationals in their first-ever World Series against the Astros!

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The Redskins' inability to execute one of football's simplest plays is maddening and costly

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The Redskins' inability to execute one of football's simplest plays is maddening and costly

On the list of factors why the Redskins lost to the 49ers on Sunday, it's not as high up as Adrian Peterson's unfortunate second half fumble, Dustin Hopkins' early missed field goal or the passing game's immense struggles in some disgusting weather.

But Washington not being able to pick up a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter against San Francisco hurt quite a bit. Unfortunately, the Burgundy and Gold are seemingly incapable of executing one of the simplest plays in football, which prevented that 10-play drive from continuing and possibly prevented the game's end result from being different.

In recent seasons, when teams use a QB sneak on third- or fourth-and-1, they convert almost 90-percent of the time. When they opt to hand it off for an inside or outside zone run, meanwhile, they convert a little less than 70-percent of the time.

Yet against the Niners on that second quarter possession, Bill Callahan and Kevin O'Connell called for a Peterson run up the middle. Peterson was stuffed at San Fran's 29-yard line, ending what was one of their better chances at putting up points on a day where they'd ultimately be shut out.

Could that decision have been influenced by something that happened back in Week 3? It's possible.

In their Monday night matchup with the Bears, Case Keenum and the offense were trying to generate a late comeback and found themselves facing a fourth-and-1 at Chicago's 16. They were down 13 points and had seven minutes left. It was a long shot, yes, but they had a shot.

In that spot, thankfully, Jay Gruden and Co. chose to sneak it. However, Keenum tried to go over the top — which is basically an unheard of maneuver anywhere except the goal line — and he was stripped. It was a disastrous disaster.

Maybe that turnover affected the non-sneak versus the 49ers. Maybe it didn't. Either way, the Redskins botched a sneak once this year then went away from it in another key situation. It has now cost them twice already in seven contests. 

In case you forgot, here's a reminder: QB sneaks are successful almost 90-percent of the time when one yard is needed to move the chains. For some reason, Washington can't take advantage of those odds.

It's not exciting. It's not complex. But the QB sneak is as close to automatic as it gets in the NFL. The only thing more automatic these days, apparently, is the Redskins making the incorrect call when it matters most.

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