Capitals

NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Darrell Arthur scored 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 as the Memphis Grizzlies beat Los Angeles 106-93 Wednesday night, handing the Lakers their fourth straight loss and 10th in 12 games.

Los Angeles lost its seventh consecutive road game, and center Dwight Howard missed the second half after aggravating his sore shoulder in the first half.

Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen added 12 points apiece as Memphis improved to 12-0 when scoring at least 100 points. Randolph also grabbed 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies had a 60-34 edge in the paint with Howard sidelined during the second half.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points for the Lakers and Metta World Peace added 15.

HEAT 123, RAPTORS 116, OT

MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade scored 35 points, LeBron James got his 34th career triple-double and Miami rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Toronto.

James finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for Miami, getting the last board on Toronto's final shot of the night. Wade added seven assists, including the one that set up Ray Allen for the 3-pointer that clinched the win with 59.3 seconds left in overtime.

Allen scored 18, Mario Chalmers added 14 and Chris Bosh had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Miami. The Heat finished overtime on a 13-2 run, climbing out of a four-point hole.

Alan Anderson scored 20 points for Toronto, leading seven Raptors in double figures.

NETS 91, TIMBERWOLVES 83

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Brook Lopez strengthened his case for a spot on the All-Star team with 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting, helping Brooklyn hold off Minnesota.

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 eight overall.

Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points for the Wolves, who played without shooting guard Alexey Shved (left ankle) and center Nikola Pekovic (right quadriceps) for the third straight game.

BULLS 85, PISTONS 82

CHICAGO (AP) - Nate Robinson had 11 points and seven assists in 21 minutes off the bench, leading a furious fourth-quarter comeback that carried Chicago past Detroit.

Joakim Noah sacrificed his body to save a loose ball, which Marco Belinelli converted into a game-winning basket with 7 seconds left. Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey each missed potential tying 3-pointers at the other end.

Robinson put the Bulls on his back, scoring nine straight points early in the fourth as Chicago overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Pistons for the 17th straight time.

Detroit (16-26) fell to 4-15 on the road. The Pistons had won nine of 13 overall.

HAWKS 104, BOBCATS 92

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Josh Smith had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Atlanta snapped a six-game road losing streak with a win over Charlotte.

Kyle Korver added 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc as the Hawks sent the Bobcats to their 16th straight home loss, three shy of the NBA record.

Smith finished two assists shy of a triple-double. Ivan Johnson added 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Ramon Sessions led the Bobcats with a season-high 27 points.

The win gave the Hawks a four-game sweep of the season series and extended their overall winning streak to seven against the Bobcats.

NUGGETS 105, ROCKETS 95

HOUSTON (AP) - Ty Lawson scored 21 points, Wilson Chandler had 20 and Denver pulled away in the third quarter against mistake-prone Houston.

Danilo Gallinari sank three 3-pointers and scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who converted 28 points off 23 Houston turnovers to beat the Rockets for the fifth straight time.

James Harden scored 23 points and Omer Asik grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who have lost eight of nine. Jeremy Lin watched the fourth quarter from the bench for the second straight game.

Denver took control with a 21-5 burst late in the third quarter, turning a flurry of Rockets turnovers into easy baskets.

SPURS 106, HORNETS 102

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tony Parker had 24 points and 13 assists as San Antonio rallied past New Orleans, overcoming the absence of Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich for its 15th straight win at home.

Tiago Splitter added 25 points and seven rebounds, and Stephen Jackson scored 15 for the Spurs.

Eric Gordon had 17 points for the Hornets and Ryan Anderson added 16.

The Spurs trailed most of the game with Popovich (undisclosed illness), Duncan (sore left knee) and Kawhi Leonard (left patella bruise) all sitting out.

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5 keys for the Caps to win Game 7 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final

5 keys for the Caps to win Game 7 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final

It all comes down to this.

The Eastern Conference Championship is on the line Wednesday as the Capitals take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa. Here are five keys for how the Caps can win and advance to face the Vegas Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

Score first

Game 7 is in Tampa Bay, the Lightning are deeper offensively and defensively and have a goalie capable of shutting down an offense.

Oh, and the Lightning are 8-1 when scoring first this postseason.

The Capitals are at their best when they are dictating the play. They want to play physical, trap the blue line and counter against the Lightning. None of those are particularly great strategies for chasing a game.

That makes the first goal critical.

The Lightning fans have seen their team lose twice at home already this series and fail to close out the Caps in Game 6. They have watched their team reach the conference finals two straight years in 2015 and 2016, fail to win the Stanley Cup in either year and fail to even make the playoffs in 2017.

Not only does playing with a lead better suit their game plan, but if Washington scores first that crowd is going to get very uncomfortable very quickly.

Gauge the referees

The Caps were very physical in Game 6 and they found success with that game plan. You would expect them to have a similar approach to Game 7, but they need to be careful.

In Game 6, it was clear the referees had put away the whistles. There were a few questionable plays on both sides that the referees let go. In a Game 7, you would hope the referees take the same approach, but they may not.

Tampa Bay’s power play is very good and the Caps cannot afford to give them many opportunities, but Washington will still want to play a physical style. It’s a fine line to walk so the Caps will need to quickly figure out how strictly the referees are calling the game and adjust accordingly.

Win the goalie matchup

In this series, Andrei Vasilevskiy has had two bad games and four good ones. He lost both of his bad games and won three of his good ones. He did not win the fourth, however, because he was outplayed by Braden Holtby.

Vasilevskiy was great in Game 6, but Holtby matched him save for save as both teams battled to get on the board. When the Caps finally did, Holtby shut the door to make sure the Lightning could not climb back. Vasilevskiy allowed just two goals on 32 shots, but Holtby turned away all 24 of the shots he faced for the shutout.

This is Game 7. There is no Game 8 just because you run into a hot goalie. If Vasilevskiy is on his game again on Wednesday, Holtby will have to be just as good if not better to make sure the Caps win.

Beat the fourth line

Playing at home in Game 6 allowed the Caps to get away somewhat from the Alex Ovechkin vs. fourth line matchup the Lightning have found success with. At 5-on-5, Chris Kunitz played 6:55 against Ovechkin, Ryan Callahan played 6:22 and Cedric Paquette played 6:12, considerably less than the 13:04, 13:46 and 13:42 each respectively logged in Game 5.

With Game 7 in Tampa, Barry Trotz will not be able to get away from that matchup. That means Ovechkin will just have to beat it.

That does necessarily mean he has to score a hat-trick. Ovechkin was one of the team’s top performers in Game 6 despite not logging a point as he helped establish a physical tone that ignited the team. But he has to make sure at the very least that his line is not outscored by the fourth like it was in Game 5 when Paquette and Callahan each scored.

Have a short memory

If you have a bad game in Game 1, you know you can bounce back in the series. A Game 7, however, is winner take all. If there’s a bad bounce, a bad call by the referees, a bad play, a missed save, whatever it may be, the Caps have to be able to put it out of their minds quickly.

There is no room for the “here we go again” mentality on Wednesday. The fate of this season will be determined within 60 minutes. If Holtby is not on his game, the Caps will have to battle through it. If Ovechkin has a bad night, the Caps will have to battle through it. If the referees decide they are going to call everything down to the letter of the law, the Caps will have to battle through it.

If something goes against them, they cannot allow it to bog them down mentally as we have seen at times in Game 7s of the past.

Likewise, if things go well they need to put that out of their heads as well. Desperation will grow among the Lightning as the game goes on. This is not the time to sit on a lead or circle the wagons.

Washington can’t let mistakes or success go to their head until the clock hits 00:00.

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 23, 65 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What to look for at OTAs

Redskins OTAs started yesterday. The no-contact drills are the first time during the offseason program that the offense and defense are permitted to line up against each other. The-no pads aspect of it does take off a lot of the edge but the reality is that this will be the closest thing to football we will see until training camp starts in late July. 

Here are some things that I will be looking for during today’s practice.

Who’s in? Jay Gruden told us earlier that we should expect to see some injured key players not participating as they continue to recover from 2017 injuries. Specifically, OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Morgan Moses (ankles), and TE Jordan Reed (hamstring/toe) will only be spectators if they are at Redskins Park at all. Other players who may sit out or participate only in light drills are RB Chris Thompson (leg), and ILB Mason Foster (shoulder). The Redskins have been relatively healthy the past few offseasons so we will see how they deal with the aftermath of the injury scourge that hit the team last year. 

Seven-on-seven—Sure, it’s fun to watch the full team drills with 11 on each side but since blocking and tackling is limited by the rules about contact, there isn’t much to be gleaned from watching an off-tackle run. But when they eliminate the guards, tackles, and interior defensive linemen it’s all passing and then we can watch how well Alex Smith and his receivers are connecting. One thing I’ll keep in mind is that Smith decided not to get the receivers together for a “passing camp” before the offseason activities started. He said that he wanted to get to know the playbook first. Because of that they can be forgiven if they are not quite as sharp as they might be. Also, how natural does Derrius Guice look coming out of the backfield to catch passes? His primary job will be to carry the ball, but if he is a legitimate pass-catching threat, the whole offense will be harder to defend.

Rookies vs. pros—In rookie camp two weeks ago we saw Trey Quinn putting defensive backs on the ground with some moves and Troy Apke showing great makeup speed on some long passes. But those tryout defensive backs and quarterbacks are no longer around. How will Quinn look against veteran Orlando Scandrick or second-year corner Josh Holsey? Will Smith’s ball placement negate Apke’s speed? In the one-on-one pass blocking drills, which emphasize technique over power, can Daron Payne get past Brandon Scherff?

The big guys—With Williams and Moses out, who will line up along the offensive line? Does Payne line up at nose tackle or is he used more as an end with Tim Settle in the middle? Is Ziggy Hood in the middle or will he work outside? How is Phil Taylor looking after a quad injury ended his season in training camp? As noted, the rules make it hard to tell much about linemen before Richmond but we try to glean what we can. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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My reaction to this tweet from the NFL illustrating the changes to the kickoff rules:

Timeline  

Today’s schedule:Redskins OTA practice 11:30; Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, players available coming off the field, after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 20
—Training camp starts (7/26) 65
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 79

The Redskins last played a game 143 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 109 days. 

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