Wizards

NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

ATLANTA (AP) Tony Parker had 23 points and 12 assists, and the San Antonio Spurs held off the short-handed Atlanta Hawks 98-93 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Matt Bonner added 17 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter each had 14 for the Spurs.

The Hawks announced about 90 minutes before the game that guard Lou Williams faces season-ending surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee. Williams was hurt Friday at Brooklyn and the tear was found when Williams was examined on Saturday by Dr. Michael Bernot in Atlanta.

Then the Hawks lost guard Devin Harris to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 21 points. Kyle Korver, who started at shooting guard, had 19 points.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan was not in uniform as he was given the night off by coach Gregg Popovich.

GRIZZLIES 85, BULLS 82, OT

CHICAGO (AP) - Marc Gasol scored 19 points, Zach Randolph had 13 points and 19 rebounds, and Memphis beat Chicago in overtime.

Memphis scored the first six points of the extra period, Gasol's putback making it 82-76. The Bulls cut it to 83-80 on Jimmy Butler's layup and had a chance to tie, but Nate Robinson missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.

Robinson made a layup with 6.6 seconds left, but Jerryd Bayless scored with 4.8 seconds remaining to make it 85-82. Carlos Boozer missed a 3 as time expired.

Chicago, playing its third consecutive overtime game in four days, didn't have enough in overtime. The Bulls played without forward Luol Deng and had to fight back from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit.

CLIPPERS 94, WIZARDS 87

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists, Blake Griffin added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Los Angeles hung on to beat pesky Washington for its 24th win in 27 games.

The Clippers won despite shooting a season-low 36.6 percent from the field. Paul, the NBA player of the month for December, returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a bruised right kneecap and scored seven points in the final 3:14.

The surging Clips are within a half-game of idle Oklahoma City for the NBA's best record, a full game ahead of San Antonio. The top teams in the Western Conference will go head-to-head on Tuesday night at Los Angeles in a rematch of their overtime battle on Nov. 21, when the Thunder beat the Clippers 117-111 in Griffin's hometown.

John Wall scored 24 points off the bench for the Wizards, whose league-worst record dropped to 8-30 even though they had won four of their previous five games.

WARRIORS 116, HORNETS 112

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Klay Thompson had a season-high 29 points, Jarrett Jack scored seven of his 25 in the final minute and Golden State beat New Orleans.

The Warriors trailed 110-108 in a topsy-turvy game when Jack hit two free throws with 52 seconds left to tie the score. He converted a tough floater to give Golden State a 112-110 lead, and he finished off the Hornets with three free throws.

Thompson scored 24 in the first half as the Warriors led by as much as 16. Jack, who played for the Hornets last season, added 12 assists. Stephen Curry, returning after missing two games with a right ankle sprain, had 17 of his 20 points in the second half.

Eric Gordon scored 23 points for the Hornets, who lost despite shooting a season-high 57 percent. Rookie Anthony Davis added 20 points and 12 rebounds.

BUCKS 110, TRAIL BLAZERS 104

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Brandon Jennings had 30 points and eight assists, Ersan Ilyasova added 27 points and 14 rebounds, and Milwaukee beat Portland to wrap up a 3-1 road trip.

Damian Lillard had 26 points and 10 assists for Portland, which has lost a season-high five straight games. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews added 21 points.

Mike Dunleavy had 14 points and Monta Ellis added 13 for Milwaukee, which is 5-2 since Jim Boylan took over as coach from Scott Skiles. Ilyasova shot 10 of 14 from the field and made all three of his 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws.

TIMBERWOLVES 92, ROCKETS 79

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale signed 10-day contracts with Minnesota on Saturday morning, then scored the first 23 points of the fourth quarter to lift the Timberwolves over the slumping Houston Rockets.

Johnson, signed from Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League, scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth. Gelabale, a forward who arrived from France on Thursday, had 10 of his 11 points in the final 12 minutes to help the injury-plagued Wolves snap a five-game skid.

James Harden scored 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting for the Rockets, who have lost seven straight games. Houston shot 32 percent and committed 20 turnovers in another lethargic effort that had coach Kevin McHale scrambling to find anybody who could give them some energy.

KINGS 97, BOBCATS 93

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Marcus Thornton scored 18 points off the bench, Tyreke Evans came up big down the stretch, and Sacramento held on to beat Charlotte for its third win in four games.

After scoring just 69 points in a 16-point loss to Memphis a night earlier, the Kings made sure there would be not be another offensive letdown.

They led most of the way but needed a late burst from Evans, who scored six of the team's last nine points in the final four minutes.

Evans finished with 16 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and James Johnson chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds for the Kings (16-25).

JAZZ 109, CAVALIERS 98

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Randy Foye scored 20 points, Derrick Favors had a season-high 19 and Utah beat Cleveland.

Utah (22-19) used a 31-point third quarter to take a 16-point lead into the fourth. The Jazz have won five of their last six, and six straight over the Cavs.

Dion Waiters led the Cavs (10-32) with 23 points off the bench. Kyrie Irving added 18 points but started 1 of 7 from the field before finishing 7 of 20.

Quick Links

Now that the Lakers got Anthony Davis, could the Knicks and others turn to Bradley Beal?

Now that the Lakers got Anthony Davis, could the Knicks and others turn to Bradley Beal?

With all but one of the brick-and-mortar movie stores closed down, there are really only two instances that you hear the word 'blockbuster' these days: when describing Marvel movies and for the type of trade we saw this weekend between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Anthony Davis deal is a blockbuster trade in every sense. It is big in the number of pieces involved and because Davis is one of the best players on the planet.

It is important because it could immediately vault the Lakers into title contention. And it provides a new superteam for the league to revolve around and for people to loathe with the Golden State Warriors currently licking their wounds.

But it is also the type of deal that will have major consequences around the league, one that will affect far more than just the teams at the top. It will force a collection of other teams to redraw their blueprints.

The obvious ones are the Knicks and Celtics, the two teams most closely linked to Davis in trade rumors. Now, it is New York that has more urgency, if not desperation, to strike in free agency. Boston to regroup and will probably need to ponder other trades if they want to reassert themselves in the Eastern Conference.

The Davis trade would be a major deal no matter the year, but it is fascinating to evaluate in the context of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's injuries. The league went from being very predictable to a wide open pasture of possibilities.

Now, the Warriors are good still but are also a beatable team. A window of NBA parity is cracking open and surely the Lakers won't be the only team to pounce.

Houston, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City are always aggressive and will clearly be thinking big. Portland and Denver could see this as the year to go all-in.

Not all teams looking to make a splash will have money to spend in free agency. That points to an aggressive trade market this summer, but there is arguably one big problem. After Davis, it doesn't seem likely many other stars will be available.

Teams seeking stars via trade have enjoyed plenty of options in recent years between Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Jimmy Butler. The formula is generally fairly simple: an All-Star player on an underachieving team with the end of his contract in sight. Recently, the supply has met the demand.

But currently, few fit that description. There are some like Mike Conley Jr. of the Grizzlies, and Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside of the Heat. But none of those players are All-Stars in their prime.

All of that makes it easy to connect the dots to the Wizards and Bradley Beal. They are in an interesting spot, needing to decide whether to retool for playoff contention or take the long view and undergo some degree of a rebuild.

Beal, as their best player, is the catalyst. There are logical reasons to keep him or to trade him. He is one of the best players in franchise history, is only 25 and he's on a team-friendly contract in the era of the supermax. But the Wizards are going to have a tough time improving their roster with John Wall's Achilles injury and contract, which starts at 35 percent of the salary cap. 

The Wizards have held a stance of not wanting to trade Beal and still do. They also likely wouldn't make such an important decision without a long-term team president in place.

But that won't stop teams from calling and there is already speculation around the league about whether Beal will be dealt. One front office executive told NBC Sports Washington that Beal could be the top prize in the trade market if made available now that Davis is gone. 

For a lot of these situations, trades are more likely when a player is entering his walk year. Beal is signed through the 2020-21 season and, even if he grows unhappy, will say the right things.

He won't create necessary drama. And, if you take him at his word in a February interview with NBC Sports Washington, he wouldn't request a trade himself.

Also, there is a reason to believe keeping Beal wouldn't hurt their ability to rebuild through the draft. With the new lottery system, bottoming out doesn't offer the guarantees that it used to. And even with Beal playing all 82 games last season, the Wizards still lost 50 of them and finished with the sixth-best odds.

Just like some have argued the Wizards have reasons to trade Beal, they also have reasons not to. But that won't stop other teams from picking up the phone.

ORE WIZARDS NEWS: 

 

 

Quick Links

Nationals set to enter defining seven-game stretch

usatsi_patrick_corbin1.jpg
USATSI

Nationals set to enter defining seven-game stretch

WASHINGTON -- Most baseball managers try to operate in monochromatic fashion. They see one goal each day, and it only rests in those 24 hours. Some -- like Davey Martinez -- claim they don’t look at the standings in June. His standard message is to “win today” then move to tomorrow.

Human nature often runs interference on compartmentalization. It even crept up on Martinez on Sunday morning when in the midst of an answer about Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner playing daily. 

“For me, this is a big week,” Martinez said. “We have a chance to make up some ground here. I want these guys readily available to play.”

He’s right. The claim of significance is valid for once in mid-June, not a concept drummed up by overzealous television promos or interminable Internet space. 

The Nationals have seven games in seven days against two teams near the top of the division. Damaged Philadelphia arrives Monday. The Phillies’ bullpen is hurting and ineffective. Bryce Harper could miss the All-Star Game for just the second time in his career. Philadelphia is 6-8 in June. Meanwhile, Atlanta is rolling along. Its lineup remains deep, the pitching functional and Dallas Keuchel set to make his debut here in D.C. next weekend. The Braves hold a 2 ½-game lead in the not-so-great National League East. 

“Not thinking too big picture,” Adam Eaton said. “But knowing we have an in-division rivalry, we’ve got to win those games. It’s important. We’re trying to chase at this point. Not to put too much emphasis on it, but we need to play some really competitive baseball. And we shouldn’t beat ourselves these next four games. Play good baseball and not beat ourselves. If we play the brand of baseball we know how to play, and play clean, we have a good chance.”

Washington is five games under .500. Days are clicking off the calendar. Departing along with them are opportunities to chop at an 8 1/2-game deficit in the division. Following this week, only seven games against Philadelphia remain. However, 13 with Atlanta remain on the schedule, including seven in 10 days in September. The question is if those will matter. Sink this week and they won’t. Pull off a deficit-halving six of seven and everything changes. 

This week’s ramifications will first be felt on the phone lines in a month. The non-waiver trade deadline arrives July 31. Drag back to a double-digit deficit this week and plunk down the “for sale” sign. Rocket through the week and perhaps reinforcements will be found.

Monday brings a dreaded series opener. The Nationals are 6-17 in the first games of series this season. No one knows why. It doesn’t make sense. But, here they are, incapable of winning a first game and constantly playing from behind.

Patrick Corbin will be on the mound attempting to counter the trend. He, like the team when a new opponent shows up, has been in arrears the last three games. Corbin’s ERA dipped to 2.85 following a 116-pitch shutout of Miami on May 25. He’s been bludgeoned since. His ERA is up to 4.11, he will start twice this week, and the Nationals need him to right his ills.

Friday, Corbin threw a bullpen session focused on his line to the plate. Pitching coach Paul Menhart describes what they are trying to accomplish to get Corbin back to the version he was earlier this season:

“His lines and his east-west motion have made it very difficult for him to get the ball to where he wants it to be,” Menhart said. “He needs to be more direct to the plate and have more of a north-south rotation with his upper body and being more stable lower-half wise will allow him to do that and have his deception and hide the ball better and keep that tunnel.”

Corbin agreed. He doesn’t watch much video to cure ruts. He also doesn’t want too much information. The team’s analytics trackers have informed him his arm slot remains in a good place. He thinks his body is still in a running at a high level, dismissing any correlation between his struggles and the workload against Miami. He’s also going through the most common element of reduced success: trying not to chew on it too much.

“I think when I’m away from the field, you think about it more,” Corbin told NBC Sports Washington. “You’re frustrated about it a little bit -- what the heck is going on? But when you get here, you just try to work, try to do things to get better. That’s how I approach it. I’m just looking forward to my next start on Monday going out there and trying to get back to how I know I can pitch.”

Philadelphia arrives after being thumped in Atlanta on Sunday, 15-1. Washington had the opposite day in a 15-5 win. Monday night starts a reckoning of sorts for both. The Nationals will send out their three high-end starters during the four games. Philadelphia is trying to right itself and not let the Braves get out of touch at the top of the division. So, even for the one-day-at-a-time crew, the coming seven carry significant weight, and they’re finally admitting it.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: