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NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

HOUSTON (AP) Ty Lawson scored 21 points and Kenneth Faried had 16 points and 16 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets to a 93-87 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

James Harden had a tough night for the Rockets and finished with a season-low 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

A dunk by Andre Iguodala put Denver up by six, before a pair of free throws by Jeremy Lin made it 91-87 with 1:21 remaining. Lin got knocked in the nose on the foul and was bleeding. He had to shoot the free throws with paper stuffed in his left nostril.

Faried blocked a layup attempt by Harden and Chandler Parsons missed a 3-pointer seconds later. Faried got the rebound on the miss and dunked it on the other end to secure the win.

JAZZ 95, LAKERS 86

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Al Jefferson scored 18 points and Randy Foye added 17 on five 3-pointers to lift Utah Jazz past the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mo Williams added 16 points on 8 of 13 shooting for the Grizzlies (2-3).

Kobe Bryant entered the game shooting nearly 60 percent but started 3 of 10 and finished 7 of 17 for 29 points as the Lakers fell to 1-4.

Dwight Howard added 19 points for the Lakers and Metta World Peace had 15.

The Jazz led by as many as 16 points early, but the Lakers were within five with 8:27 left before Foye hit three straight 3-pointers to give Utah a 79-68 lead with 6:40 remaining.

SUNS 117, BOBCATS 110

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Shannon Brown hit six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 24 points to lead Phoenix.

Brown, who played briefly with the Bobcats before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Adam Morrison, helped break open an 87-all game early in the fourth quarter when he suddenly got hot.

Several of Brown's 3-pointers were contested with a hand in his face, but it hardly mattered.

Marcin Gortat had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns. Michael Beasley added 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Brown's sharp shooting offset a terrific night for Charlotte's Byron Mullens, who hit six 3-pointers of his own and finished with 24 points and eight rebounds.

HEAT 103, NETS 73

MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade scored 22 points on 10-for-14 shooting, LeBron James finished two assists shy of a triple-double and the Miami Heat improved to 4-0 at home for the first time in franchise history.

James had 20 points and 12 rebounds in only 30 minutes, and Rashard Lewis scored 13 points for the Heat (4-1). Miami - which plays its next six games on the road - has won its four home games by an average of 17.8 points.

Kris Humphries had a double-double by halftime, then was silent in the second half and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets (1-2). Deron Williams scored 14 for Brooklyn, which got 12 off the bench from MarShon Brooks.

HAWKS 89, PACERS 86

ATLANTA (AP) - Kyle Korver scored eight straight points in a late 18-0 run as the Hawks rallied from 14 points down early in the fourth quarter.

Indiana led 83-69 before Atlanta started the comeback. Korver hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added another jumper, cutting the lead to 83-82.

Korver then missed another jumper but Josh Smith grabbed the rebound and passed to Jeff Teague, who hit a 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to give Atlanta an 85-83 lead. Teague added another basket to cap the 18-0 run.

David West and George Hill each had 20 for the Pacers.

TIMBERWOLVES 90, MAGIC 75

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Luke Ridnour had 19 points and five rebounds, and Greg Stiemsma got Minnesota's rout started with six straight points to end the third quarter.

Stiemsma finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and Derrick Williams added 14 points and six boards for the Timberwolves, who are 3-1 for the first time since 2001. They led an ugly game by three points early in the third period before going on a staggering 28-6 surge that blew open the game.

J.J. Redick had 16 points, but the Magic shot just 35 percent and turned the ball over 20 times to lose their second straight game. Arron Afflalo added 12 points for Orlando.

CELTICS 100, WIZARDS 94, OT

BOSTON (AP) - Brandon Bass scored five straight points in overtime, helping the Celtics win the back end of a home-and-home set with Washington.

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 20 points and 13 rebounds, Rajon Rondo had 18 points and 14 assists and reserve Jason Terry had 16 points. Bass finished with 11.

Bradley Beal, Kevin Seraphin and Martell Webster each scored 16 points for the Wizards (0-3).

Bass hit a tiebreaking free throw, making it 93-92, then scored on a twisting layup on the next possession. He added a breakaway dunk with 37.7 seconds left to help seal it.

Boston (2-2) beat the Wizards 89-86 in Washington on Saturday night.

GRIZZLIES 108, BUCKS 90

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Zach Randolph had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis shot 53 percent from the floor in a win over Milwaukee.

Rudy Gay added 17 points and Marreese Speights contributed 16 off the bench to help the Grizzlies win their third straight after a season-opening loss.

Milwaukee, which was looking to start 3-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season, shot just 38.5 percent from the field. Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with 19 points, but he was only 6 of 20 from the field. Monta Ellis added 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

Memphis withstood a third-quarter rally and pulled away in the fourth.

76ERS 77, HORNETS 62

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Jrue Holiday had 14 points and 12 assists, and Philadelphia held New Orleans to its lowest point total ever.

Evan Turner also scored 14, and Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen each added 12 points for the Sixers, who dominated the second half defensively. The Hornets committed 14 of their 24 turnovers after halftime and scored only 25 points during the final two quarters. Young also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Al-Farouq Aminu was the only Hornets player to score in double figures with 10 points to go with 16 rebounds.

The Hornets, who lost for the first time in three games, played without first-round draft choices Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. Davis was not cleared to return from a recent concussion and Rivers had a sprained finger.

MAVERICKS 109, RAPTORS 104.

DALLAS (AP) - O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman each scored 22 points as the short-handed Mavericks won their third straight.

The Mavericks, who jumped out to a 16-point lead early in the second quarter, improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2007-08.

Dallas played without forwards Shawn Marion and Elton Brand. Marion was sidelined with a sprained left knee ligament, and Brand left the team for the birth of his second child.

Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points for Toronto and DeMar DeRozan added 24. Raptors starting point guard Kyle Lowry didn't play after he sprained his right ankle Tuesday night against Oklahoma City.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

5 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

A shorthanded Capitals team marched into Colorado and took a 3-2 overtime win over the Avalanche on Friday.

Here are five reasons the Caps won.

A big glove save

With no T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Braden Holtby, the Caps were a bit shorthanded heading into the game. After the Avalanche took a 1-0 lead just 68 seconds in, it felt like it could be a very long night for Washington.

It could have been if not for an early breakaway save by Pheonix Copley.

Soon after the goal, Nathan MacKinnon grabbed the puck on a breakaway. MacKinnon is one of the best offensive players in the league and not the guy you want to see going in alone on Copley on a breakaway.

Copley, however, flashed the glove and made the save to keep the game at 1-0.

One year ago to the day, the Caps lost 6-2 in Colorado. With the injuries Washington was dealing with, it’s not a stretch to think this game could have gone off the rails quickly had the Avalanche jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Tic-Tac-Toe

The Caps struggled through the first period to get any real penetration on Colorado’s defense and were kept largely on the perimeter with very few high-danger opportunities. The Avalanche defense got a bit more porous in the second and Washington took advantage.

Travis Boyd collected the puck in the offensive zone below the goal line. As he skated along the wall, he found himself face-to-face with four Colorado players who were all just following the puck. As far as defense goes, that’s not an ideal situation. Boyd found a wide-open Chandler Stephenson on the cross-ice pass, Stephenson goes back left to Devante Smith-Pelly who had an empty net to shoot on to get the Caps on the board and tie the game at one.


Game speed

After six seasons in Washington, Philipp Grubauer has faced literally thousands of shots from Alex Ovechkin in practice. But he never faced one of those shots in a game until Friday. Those shots come off the stick a bit faster when it counts as Grubauer learned.

Nicklas Backstrom entered the offensive zone with the puck and backhanded it to Ovechkin. Backstrom kept driving to the net drawing the defense with him except for Tyson Barrie. Backstrom’s passed to the left, but Ovechkin collected it going right which caught Barrie flatfooted. Ovehckin easily skated around Barrie to find an open shooting lane, then snapped a shot past Grubauer to put the Caps up 2-1. Ovechkin’s celebration was almost instantaneous, he knew he had Grubauer beat.


A late penalty

The referees really put away the whistles in the third period. They even missed a clear high-stick to Dmitry Orlov that drew blood and should have been a double-minor. Colorado came back to tie the game, but Smith-Pelly finally drew a blatant holding penalty from Ian Cole with just over a minute left to go in regulation.

The Avalanche survived to force overtime, but Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winner on the power play just 22 seconds in for the win.

Tom Wilson making a Tom Wilson play

Space is important in hockey. That’s what makes a four-on-three power play harder to cover than a five-on-four power play. You know what’s even better? A three-on-two.

The Caps entered overtime on a power play which gave them a four-on-three to start. Tom Wilson had the puck on the wall and took a hit from Carl Soderberg. He saw the hit coming and took it so he could make the pass to Backstrom. He won the board battle and the hit took Soderberg out of the play, giving the Caps a three-on-two in the offensive zone to work with. Backstrom passed to John Carlson who passed back to Backstrom. He had all day to fire the game-winner and it was all thanks to a tremendous play from Wilson that most people would not have noticed.

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Wizards try maintaining focus yet cannot shake inconsistencies

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USA Today Sports

Wizards try maintaining focus yet cannot shake inconsistencies

 

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The Washington Wizards were finally feeling better after that 2-9 start to the regular season. Three wins in a row with three games remaining on the homestand starting with the Brooklyn Nets Friday night. They didn’t conquer all of their problems. But at least they could breathe a bit easier, smile more natural. Heck, they were only 1 ½ games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and three back of third place.

“And we’ve been playing terrible," John Wall said to NBC Sports Washington Thursday night at the point guard’s annual turkey giveaway.  “That’s how shaky it is. You never know how it’s going to go, but we can’t look at that aspect. ... Have to take it one game at a time. Our focus is on Brooklyn right now. Try to win to make it four in a row.”

Last season Brooklyn was one of those non-contending teams that flummoxed the Wizards. Brooklyn finished 28-54, yet won two of three over Washington. While the current momentum was compelling, the reporter told Wall he’s heard such focus talk before and witnessed mixed results. The point guard nodded in acknowledgment.

“You put yourself in that situation, you have to answer (questions) and [reporters] have to ask," Wall said.

Another batch of questions came at Wall and the Wizards Friday. Brooklyn, a try-hard squad lacking high-end talent, dumped Washington 115-104.

The Nets, who lost leading scorer Caris Levert to a nasty ankle injury this week, turned a 56-54 halftime lead into a 19-point margin in the fourth quarter. They also converted 13 Washington turnovers into 19 points.

The Wizards, now 5-10, finished 3 of 17 on 3-pointers. Their defense lacked oomph at the point of attack.

“They were more aggressive than we were, offense and defense,” Bradley Beal said. “They forced us to turn the ball over. We couldn’t make shots [and] we definitely couldn’t guard them. Our one-on-one defense was suspect.”

Wizards coach Scott Brooks echoed the defensive struggles.

“The problem was that we couldn’t stay in front of the basketball tonight,” said Brooks, addressing a broad topic he largely could skip during the recent winning. 

Washington no longer ranks last in scoring defense thanks to the woeful Atlanta Hawks, but the 116.9 points allowed per game serves as a reminder that Friday’s struggles were no one-off.

Brooklyn had its own defensive woes during a three-game skid entering Friday. Second-year center Jarrett Allen, the player the Nets selected 22nd overall in the 2017 NBA Draft with the pick acquired from Washington in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade, missed the previous two contests. His return fueled an interior turnaround.

Those stops led to Brooklyn’s generating offense. The Nets, who often used no more than one traditional big man, outscored the Wizards 13-2 in fast-break points. They hit 13 of 15 free throws in the third quarter and finished 30 of 38.

“I thought because we got stops, (we) got into transition, got easy buckets,” Nets forward and ex-Wizard Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Washington. “I thought they were fouling so much we were on our drives. We kept attacking. … I thought defense opened up our offense.”

Wall opened up the postgame Q&A session with reporters in Washington’s locker room. He noted Brooklyn’s constant use of pick-and-rolls with the Wizards switching one through four didn’t work. “Just about every time they drove, they got a foul.”

Wall lives a fishbowl existence. People pay good money to watch him work. That means they witness the highs and lows, the advancement and the learning. Teammates also have eyes on him. All observe the five-time All-Star reacting to some whistles or non-calls he deems incorrect, or his body language during a tough loss.

Wall, 28, acknowledges his role as the team leader. He accepts that fishbowl reality and knows when those frustrations show, everyone can see.

“It’s fun. It’s a challenge," Wall said of being a leader to NBC Sports Washington Thursday. "Every day you have to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, but you have to be good every day. You can’t take a bad day or dwell on something. You have to let that slide because when it gets bad or gets shaky, everybody is looking at you. If your head is down, everybody else’s head is down. That’s something I have to learn."

Despite the streak-busting setback Friday night, Wall stuck with his big picture, no panic approach.

“They just came out and played better tonight. That’s all it is,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington. “We didn’t make shots. We didn’t do a great job of executing. They attacked us defensively. We lost one game. We have to get past and prepare for Sunday with a good team in Portland coming in.”

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