Nationals

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard scored 24 points, Kobe Bryant had 14 points and 11 assists in another pass-first performance, and the Los Angeles Lakers hung on to beat the New Orleans Hornets 111-106 Tuesday night for their first three-game winning streak in five weeks.

Earl Clark had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, whose 18-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes to play dwindled to 102-101 with 2 minutes left before Clark and Steve Nash hit big shots to clinch Los Angeles' ninth straight win over New Orleans.

Eric Gordon scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half for the Hornets, who were all but finished before making a 16-2 run in an electric 2 1/2-minute stretch. New Orleans got within one point on Greivis Vasquez's running jumper, but Clark hit an inside layup and Nash buried a 3-pointer with 1:21 to play.

TRAIL BLAZERS 106, MAVERICKS 104

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge hit a turnaround jumper at the final buzzer as Portland came back from a 21-point third-quarter deficit to beat Dallas.

Aldridge finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who trailed 101-94 with 2:18 left. J.J. Hickson had a season-high 26 points and 15 rebounds.

After Wesley Matthews made two free throws to pull Portland to 101-98 with 52 seconds to go, Nicolas Batum's 3-pointer tied the score.

Dirk Nowitzki answered with his own 3 with before Aldridge had a 3 to tie it at 104 with 4.9 seconds left. O.J. Mayo was called for charging with 1.5 seconds to go, and Aldridge hit his jumper after the inbound from Matthews with 0.2 seconds left for the victory.

Dirk Nowitzki finished with 26 points for Dallas, which had won six of its last eight games.

BUCKS 117, PISTONS 90

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Brandon Jennings scored 20 of his 30 points in the third quarter, leading Milwaukee past Detroit.

Mike Dunleavy had 17 points and Monta Ellis added 14 for the Bucks, who led by as much as 29 points.

Rookie Andre Drummond had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Detroit, while Greg Monroe scored 14 points. Drummond became just the second teenager to have an 18-18 game since 1985-86, joining Dwight Howard.

The Pistons led by 15 points late in the first quarter, were outscored 78-40 over the next 25 minutes.

WARRIORS 108, CAVALIERS 95

CLEVELAND (AP) - Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points to lead short-handed Golden State.

The Warriors were missing three starters - guard Stephen Curry (ankle), center Andrew Bogut (ankle) and forward Harrison Barnes (knee). Also, Carl Landry, one of the first players off Golden State's bench, didn't play because of a shoulder injury.

Still, Golden State shot 54 percent and was 11 for 16 on 3-pointers, hitting the first nine from beyond the arc. Golden State took control in the second quarter and built a 16-point lead in the second half.

Jarrett Jack, starting at point guard in place of Curry, had 26 points and 12 assists, and David Lee had 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, and Dion Waiters also scored 18 points.

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The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The Nationals and Astros were in the midst of a pitching duel between two all-time greats.

Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander had each tossed six frames with just two runs allowed. Verlander took the mound for the top of the seventh to face the bottom of the Nationals’ lineup. 36-year-old catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped up the plate 1-for-2 with a single on the night.

On his 100th pitch, Verlander threw a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate and Suzuki got every bit of it. With a smooth uppercut, Suzuki sent a pitch 381 feat off the facing of the brick wall above the leftfield seats at Minute Maid Park. It silenced the crowd of 43,357 and gave Washington the momentum it so desperately needed.

It was a moment that could’ve lived in Nationals lore forever, had the team gone on to win a nail-biter. But the Nationals’ offense exploded, scoring nine more runs over the next three innings to blow out the Astros 12-3 in front of their home crowd. Adam Eaton and Michael Taylor joined the home run parade. Every starter not named Victor Robles ended up reaching base at least twice.

Three months later, Suzuki was at the Nationals’ annual WinterFest event at their home stadium. He sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk crew and reflected on his big moment getting buried under the offensive onslaught his team brought upon Houston.

“Honestly, I was hoping we’d score a ton of runs because I didn’t want to play a nerve-wracking game,” Suzuki said. “I wanted it to be a nice, easy win, go right back into it and to tell you the truth, when I hit that home run it was just like—I was just so in shock that I was just like, ‘Oh, I just hit a home run. Cool, we’re winning. Like, what?’

“You weren’t just really like, ‘Ahh, this is so exciting.’ You’re just kind of in shock that I’ve hit a home run in the World Series and it gave us the lead in the seventh inning. It was pretty neat.”

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO KURT SUZUKI'S FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

It may not be an iconic moment in Nationals history, but Suzuki’s home run brought the team one step closer to winning the World Series. It was without a doubt the biggest hit of his career.

"It feels great," Suzuki told reporters after the game. "I've waited 13 seasons for this moment to be able to play in the World Series. I kind of joked with a lot of the guys, Anthony [Rendon] in the training room, 'Now I've got energy now.' This is the last series of the season now, no matter what. We're playing for it now. If you can't get up for these games, I think you're in the wrong sport, you should retire or something, because this is it."

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One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

What will Ron Rivera bring to the Redskins in 2020 and beyond (well, besides lots of people who worked with him in Carolina)? That's a question everyone's trying to figure out.

Many are hoping for more wins, obviously. Washington's been one of the league's worst franchises for the past decade, while Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year with the Panthers who made it to the playoffs four times in nine seasons there.

Beyond that, however, there's an expectation that Rivera can also elevate the Burgundy and Gold's day-to-day operations, making the organization more professional, consistent and stable — words that haven't been used to describe their operations in a long time.

In an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, longtime NFL agent Andy Ross spoke to that second point.

"I will say this," Ross, who reps players such as Morgan Moses and Taysom Hill, told the podcast. "The one thing that Ron really instilled in the players, because I've had players on Carolina, was accountability. These are young men that are growing into men, so he wants to teach them to be strong men, be strong leaders. And I think that's something he's going to bring into Washington."

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANDY ROSS ON THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

The 2019 campaign was beyond chaotic for the Redskins, and one of its major turning points came when Dan Snyder made the decision to fire Jay Gruden after five straight losses to open the year. One of the most popular criticisms of Gruden was a lack of accountability. According to Ross, that won't occur now that Rivera's in charge.

The 58-year-old also possesses another quality that'll be incredibly valuable as he tries to turn around the Redskins, a place that's been plagued by distractions, leaks and fracturing season after season.

"He doesn't allow the outside influence to affect his football team," Ross said. "So I think you're going to see, with the Redskins going forward, that everything is going to be really kept in-house."

Rivera's reputation precedes him. Right after he was hired by Snyder, in fact, Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said he would tell players in Washington that "one of the best things in your career is about to happen."

Ross is yet another person to echo that kind of praise for the head coach. With each passing day, it sounds more and more like the Redskins landed someone with an approach that's precisely what everyone involved with the team needs.

"They have some really good, young talent," Ross concluded. "And I think he's really going to mold a lot of these young players into really strong men, and that should be good for the culture."

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