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NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving scored 35 points, including 13 in the final 2:52, and the Cleveland Cavaliers stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-110 on Saturday.

One night after saying he was ``disinterested'' during a loss in Detroit, Irving was simply spectacular down the stretch. He single-handedly closed out one of the NBA's best teams, making his last five shots and showing why he's an All-Star at 20. Irving's biggest shot was a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left to make it 113-108.

Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 28 for the Thunder, who came in 35-11 and with the league's best road record. Durant left briefly in the third quarter with an apparent back injury.

Marreese Speights scored 21 points, including eight straight in the fourth when Cleveland's reserves opened a lead.

SPURS 96, WIZARDS 86

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tim Duncan sprained his left knee and right ankle in the first half of the Spurs' victory.

Tony Parker scored 19 points, Danny Green added 15 and Tiago Splitter had 12 for San Antonio (38-11), which has won 18 straight at home.

John Wall scored 21 points and Martell Webster had 14 for Washington (11-35), which has lost 13 straight to San Antonio.

Webster rolled into the back of Duncan's legs while fighting for a rebound with 3:54 left in the second quarter, and there were audible gasps in the crowd while the All-Star was on the floor holding his left knee for several minutes.

Duncan left the locker room without speaking to reporters, but Parker said he talked to his fellow All-Star after the game.

``He's fine, he's fine,'' Parker said. ``It's nothing big.''

KNICKS 120, KINGS 81

NEW YORK (AP) - Amare Stoudemire was 10 for 10 from the field for 21 points, and the Knicks unleashed a 38-4 run on Sacramento in the first half and went on to their fourth straight victory.

The Knicks actually trailed by 10 when Stoudemire entered in the first quarter, then went on to challenge the franchise-record victory margin of 48 points.

It was an awesome display by New York in front of some special guests: 150 children, their families and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Knicks didn't even need much from Carmelo Anthony, who tied a season low with nine points and had his run of 20-point games snapped at 31, the longest single-season streak in franchise history.

J.R. Smith scored 25 points and Steve Novak added 15 as the Knicks made 19 3-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Kings.

ROCKETS 109, BOBCATS 95

HOUSTON (AP) - James Harden had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double, leading the Rockets to the victory.

Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken off the court on a stretcher in the fourth quarter after teammate Jeff Taylor collided with him going for a rebound. Kidd-Gilchrist was fitted with a neck brace and taken to the hospital.

The team said late Saturday night that Kidd-Gilchrist would be hospitalized overnight with a concussion. The X-rays and a CT scan were negative, the Bobcats said.

Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson scored 24 points apiece for the Rockets.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Ramon Sessions had 20 points for Charlotte.

The Rockets scored 28 fast-break points and shot 51 percent (42 of 82) from the field.

BULLS 93, HAWKS 76

ATLANTA (AP) - Luol Deng had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the short-handed Bulls used their stifling defense to shut down the Hawks.

Playing without injured starters Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, Chicago dominated near the basket and got a lift from the frenetic play of Nate Robinson. The Bulls used only eight players for the second straight night, but it was more than enough for an impressive road win.

Taj Gibson had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. Jimmy Butler added another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson scored 20 points.

Josh Smith led Atlanta with 19 points and 13 rebounds but he scored only three points in the second half. Jeff Teague had 16 points, and Al Horford collected 14 points and 12 rebounds.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, JAZZ 99

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Damian Lillard had 23 points and the Trail Blazers salvaged the second half of back-to-back games between division rivals.

Utah beat Portland 86-77 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

J.J. Hickson added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won four of their last six after a season-high six-game losing streak. Nicolas Batum had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Randy Foye scored 23 points for the Jazz, who led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter.

The Blazers led 88-83 on Nolan Smith's reverse layup with 4:59 left in the game. He added a 3-pointer that made it 93-87 and Portland held off the Jazz the rest of the way.

WARRIORS 113, SUNS 93

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Stephen Curry returned after missing two games with an ankle injury and scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half, leading Golden State to its fourth consecutive victory.

Harrison Barnes matched his season high with 21 points for the Warriors, who have won seven of nine overall. David Lee had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Klay Thompson added 17 points and Andrew Bogut finished with 11.

Curry, who twisted his right ankle in the third quarter of Monday night's win over Toronto, was 6 for 10 from 3-point range as Golden State beat Phoenix for the fourth straight time.

Michael Beasley scored 24 points for the Suns, who have dropped four of five. Jared Dudley added 16 points.

TIMBERWOLVES 115, HORNETS 86

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Dante Cunningham scored a season-high 18 points, Nikola Pekovic added 14 and Minnesota snapped a six-game losing streak.

Cunningham hit all nine of his shots to set a franchise record for most consecutive field goals without a miss.

Anthony Davis scored 18 points for the Hornets, who played without Eric Gordon and finished their five-game road trip with four straight losses. Team doctors still haven't cleared Gordon to play in back-to-back games while recovering from knee surgery.

A night after committing 22 turnovers, New Orleans turned it over 23 times against the Wolves, who recorded their largest victory margin this season.

BUCKS 107, MAGIC 98

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Monta Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists as the Bucks handed the Magic their ninth straight loss.

Brandon Jennings scored 20 points and Larry Sanders had 17 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots for Milwaukee. Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Nikola Vucevic had 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Orlando, and Maurice Harkless had 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bucks scored more than 100 points after failing to crack 90 in their two previous games, scoring 86 against New York on Friday, and 88 versus Chicago on Wednesday.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Justin Tucker kept the game ball from his first missed extra point

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Justin Tucker kept the game ball from his first missed extra point

It's Draft Day, baby!

Before the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night in Nashville, Tn, here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes:

1. The Ravens made a VERY smart move Wednesday by signing kicker Justin Tucker to a four-year extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2023 season. In seven seasons, Tucker has experienced the highest of highs, and just last year, the low of his first missed extra point Week 7 against the Saints. Memorable as it is something we rarely see from Tucker, the 29-year-old has that game ball on display as a reminder of the ups and downs of his career.

“That’s a part of my story, and I want to be able to look at that and realize that was a learning moment,” Tucker said. “It was, perhaps, a pivotal moment for me as a professional.”

“I think it’s incredibly important for any football player, any athlete, anybody, to learn form both your successes and your failures,” Tucker said.

2. The Ravens are making one very special fans' dream come true this weekend during the NFL Draft. Mo Gaba, a 13-year-old superfan who's been blind since he was nine months old and is battling cancer for the fourth time, will announce the team's fourth-round pick from the Ravens' Draft Fest at the Inner Harbor Saturday. Gaba will be the first person ever to announce an NFL draft pick in Braille. 

3. General manager Eric DeCosta will lead his first-ever war room Thursday night, but he won't be kicking former GM Ozzie Newsome out of his usual seat at the head of the table. 

“I’ve been in that seat for a long time,” DeCosta said via the Ravens' website.

“The other reason is Ozzie doesn’t like change a lot,” DeCosta said. “He still gets his hair cut on Friday, he’s on a treadmill three times a day. He only started using an iPhone about six months ago. No, that’s not actually true

“But he definitely doesn’t like change, and I just feel like if we moved his seat, he’d be really flustered.”

4. The Ravens are showing increased interest in Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley. John Harbaugh did mention earlier in the offseason that the team could add another playmaker in the Ravens' backfield.

5. Free agent pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah reportedly visited the Ravens Wednesday. Drafted fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Lions, the Ravens could use Ansah after losing Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith in free agency.


Looking Ahead:

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player

The 2019 NFL schedule is set!  See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

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The Capitals’ reign as Stanley Cup champions is now officially over

The Capitals’ reign as Stanley Cup champions is now officially over

WASHINGTON – This was not the way it was supposed to end.

The feeling after the Capitals’ Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday was one of shock. There is always an element of that when a team gets eliminated from the playoffs in overtime, but it wasn’t how they lost that made it so stunning. It was when.

“Everything can happen in a seven-game series,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “We all seen that. But right now it's just disappointing. We would've liked a better outcome. ... It's tough to swallow"

“We fight through 82 games and in Game 7, they score one goal and it’s a kind of situation where you’re disappointed, you’re frustrated, especially after last year,” Alex Ovechkin said.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 2018 and returning with largely the same core intact, returning as the defending champs to win the Metropolitan Division for a fourth consecutive year, no one envisioned Washington’s defense of the Cup and its quest to repeat to end in the first round. That was especially true when the Caps drew Carolina as their first-round opponent, a plucky team with a first-year head coach that made it to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

It looked like a favorable matchup for Washington. It wasn’t.

“All series long it was a game of mistakes,” Brooks Orpik said.

The Caps took a 2-0 lead in the series, Carolina battled back to tie it 2-2. Washington won the all-important Game 5 to push the Hurricanes to the brink, Carolina responded by winning Game 6 to force the all-or-nothing Game 7. The Caps even jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Game 7 and yet the Hurricanes just kept coming.

In the end, the overtime loss was shocking, but not surprising. Carolina had taken control in the second period and never looked back. They fired the first nine shots on goal in overtime and were controlling the play over a Washington team that just looked gassed. The Caps needed to get a favorable bounce, otherwise it was only a matter of time before Carolina would finish them off and that was exactly what happened as Brock McGinn deflected in a shot for the overtime winner.

There are many reasons Washington ultimately lost this series, but it was for none of the typical reasons we see in most upsets.

This was not a case of a goalie standing on his head to completely shut down Washington’s offense. Petr Mrazek made some key saves at times, but ultimately finished the series with a .899 save percentage. Take away the six-goal blowout of Game 5 and Mrazek’s save percentage rises to .919. That’s better, but still would rank only sixth among goalie with at least four starts this postseason.

This was not a case of a superstar forward putting the team on his back and carrying them to the improbable upset. Sebastian Aho tallied five points in seven games, Teuvo Taravainen had four. Both had fewer points that Jaccob Slavin who had nine assists and Warren Foegele who scored an improbable four goals and two assists.

This was not a case of Washington’s best players not showing up. Alex Ovechkin scored four goals and five assists to lead the team with nine points. Right behind him was Nicklas Backstrom with five goals and three assists. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored only one goal in seven games, but his one goal came in Game 7 to restore Washington’s two-goal lead in the second period.

Washington finished with a 25-percent power play and an 88-percent penalty kill, bot respectable numbers.

The Caps lost Michal Kempny and T.J. Oshie – both significant injuries – but Carolina had a number of significant injuries as well.

Really, the biggest reason the Caps felt they lost is because they were out-played, out-hustled and out-worked.

“I think we were all guilty of some mistakes at different times that were maybe a little uncharacteristic of us,” Orpik said. “Two two-goal leads at home within the same game is kind of a tough one to swallow. I don’t know if unacceptable is the right word but you have to be able to maintain those leads, especially on home ice and this time of the year. We made mistakes but they played great all series so it wasn’t just us. Eventually you have to give them credit at some point.”

Now instead of preparing for the quick turnaround of playing and starting a second-round series against the New York Islanders on Friday, the season is over and the Caps are left to wonder what could have been.

Already eliminated in the first round were the Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators, all thought to be Cup contenders. Heck, even archrival Pittsburgh was out. Alex Ovechkin was playing at the top of his game as he claimed his eight Rocket Richard Trophy after leading the league in goals yet again. That performance carried over to the postseason and he was brilliant in Wednesday’s game.

But despite how favorable the road in front of them looked for another Cup run, despite the unreal performance the team’s top stars were delivering, none of it ultimately mattered.

The only thing harder than winning a Stanley Cup is winning it twice. Perhaps to expect a second championship was unrealistic. But a first round exit felt too soon. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end for a team that had finally learned how to win.

The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs were already turning into the year of the upset. The Caps became the latest victim of that on Wednesday. And finally, a party that had begun in June 2018, came to an end officially meaning a new champion will be crowned.

“Every opportunity missed is devastating, really,” John Carlson said. “You only get to do this for so long and I've been fortunate to be on great teams. When you don't do well, it's more than we were up in a series or a game. It's everything. It hurts.”

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