Wizards

NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden scored 20 points, Omer Asik had 14 and the Houston Rockets beat the winless Detroit Pistons 96-82 on Saturday night in their first game without coach Kevin McHale.

The team announced earlier Saturday that McHale was taking an immediate leave of absence to deal with a family matter. Assistant Kelvin Sampson took over, and said before the game he hoped the team would come together to win for McHale.

The Rockets did just that, using a third-quarter run to build a big lead and break a three-game losing streak with their first victory at home.

The Pistons fell to 0-7. Brandon Knight scored 16 points, and Greg Monroe added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Marcus Morris added 12 points for Houston and Toney Douglas had 11. Jeremy Lin helped out with seven points, eight assists and four rebounds.

BOBCATS 101, MAVERICKS 97, OT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds to help the Bobcats snap a 16-game losing streak against the Mavericks.

Kidd-Gilchrist was 8 of 12 from the field and had a pair of key offensive rebounds off missed foul shots late in the game.

Kemba Walker added 26 points and seven assists for Charlotte and Ramon Sessions made some big shots down the stretch and in overtime, finishing with 12 points.

Dallas lost for the second straight night on the road after a 3-0 start.

O.J. Mayo scored 22 points and Vince Carter had 19 points for the Mavericks. Carter, who was 5 for 8 from 3-point range, missed an opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation when his fallaway jumper was short.

SPURS 112, TRAIL BLAZERS 109

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Gary Neal had 27 points for the Spurs, and Manu Ginobili hit two big free throws in the final seconds.

The Blazers made four straight 3-pointers to tie it at 109 with 40.5 seconds left, but Portland stumbled from there and was saddled with its third consecutive loss. Nicolas Batum had a career-high 33 points.

Tim Duncan added 22 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who snapped a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden.

San Antonio played without Tony Parker because of a flu bug that has been making its way around the team. Patty Mills started in his place.

The Spurs trailed by as many as 14 points in the third quarter but opened the final period with a 14-0 run to go up 87-79.

NUGGETS 101, WARRIORS 101, 2OT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Danilo Gallinari scored five of his 21 points in the final 36 seconds and Denver closed with an 11-0 run to beat Golden State in double overtime.

Andre Iguodala added a pair of late free throws and the Nuggets, who didn't arrive in the Bay Area until 3:30 a.m. following a late flight from Utah, held on for their fourth consecutive victory after opening the season 0-3.

Kenneth Faried added 18 points and 17 rebounds, while Iguodala had 19 points for Denver.

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 23 points, but the second-year guard missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Carl Landry added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench, but the Warriors went scoreless over the final 2:47.

PACERS 89, WIZARDS 85

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Paul George scored 20 points and Indiana stopped a three-game slide.

Roy Hibbert added seven points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for the Pacers (3-4). Gerald Green had 15 points and Lance Stephenson scored 12 in his first start of the season.

Washington carried a 72-70 lead into the fourth quarter, and Jordan Crawford promptly made a 3-pointer to extend the lead to five. But the Pacers then grabbed control with a 10-0 run.

Emeka Okafor and Bradley Beal had 17 points apiece for the Wizards (0-5), and A.J. Price finished with 12 points and 14 assists.

BULLS 87, TIMBERWOLVES 80

CHICAGO (AP) - Nate Robinson scored 18 points and the Bulls ended the Timberwolves' three-game winning streak.

Chicago lost starting point guard Kirk Hinrich to a right hip strain in the second quarter, and Robinson helped pick up the slack by playing 31 minutes.

Joakim Noah added 17 points and seven rebounds and Luol Deng had 16 points and seven boards for the Bulls (4-2). Chicago beat Minnesota for the sixth straight time.

Nikola Pekovic led the short-handed Timberwolves (4-2) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko added 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

The Timberwolves had just 11 players available. Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) and Kevin Love (fractured right hand) have been out all season. J.J. Barea missed his second straight game with a sprained left foot, while Brandon Roy missed his first game of the season with a sore knee.

JAZZ 94, SUNS 81

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Al Jefferson had 27 points and 14 rebounds, and Utah held on for the win.

Michael Beasley's follow dunk after a Jazz turnover cut Utah's lead to 79-74 with about 5 minutes remaining.

But Jefferson's steal and a 19-footer by Paul Millsap halted a nearly 6-minute scoreless streak for the Jazz and started a 7-0 run, capped by Marvin Williams' 3-pointer.

Millsap added 18 points and 13 rebounds for Utah.

Luis Scola led the Suns with 21 points and Jared Dudley scored 16.

The Suns were down 22 points with 2:45 remaining in the third, but opened the fourth with a 9-2 run to close to 79-70 on Sebastian Telfair's driving layup with 9:24 left.

76ERS 93, RAPTORS 83

TORONTO (AP) - Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday and Nick Young scored 16 points apiece, helping the 76ers pick up another road win.

Spencer Hawes had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Dorell Wright added 15 points and Philadelphia won its third straight, with all three victories on the road. It's the first time the 76ers have done that since February 2003.

The Sixers, who won 106-100 at Boston on Friday night, knocked off another Atlantic Division opponent thanks to a huge second quarter that saw them turn a six-point deficit into a 19-point lead.

Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 23 points, while DeMar DeRozan had 19. Jose Calderon had 14 points and 11 assists, but the Raptors lost their third straight.

CELTICS 96, BUCKS 92

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Paul Pierce scored 25 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and the Celtics rallied for the victory.

Boston (3-3) got even with the Bucks after Milwaukee knocked off the Celtics 99-88 in Boston on Nov. 2.

Monta Ellis led the Bucks with 32 points, while Samuel Dalembert added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Rajon Rondo had 10 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, giving him 30 straight games with 10 or more assists, the third-longest streak in NBA history. Magic Johnson has the longest streak at 46 games from April 1983 to February 1984.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Pre-draft workouts begin; Michigan's Moe Wagner goes 1-on-1

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Pre-draft workouts begin; Michigan's Moe Wagner goes 1-on-1

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Michigan star Moe Wagner after his workout with the Wizards.

Chris and Chase Hughes also gave their impressions of the first prospects to come in for pre-draft workouts, including which guys are most likely to be Wizards. One of those prospects is a point guard and a likely first round pick. Chase and Chris explain why that's not a crazy idea, even considering the presence of John Wall on their roster.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Redskins still absorbing rule changes involving kickoffs, contact with helmet

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Associated Press

Redskins still absorbing rule changes involving kickoffs, contact with helmet

The NFL has passed two major on-field rule changes in the last two months. One, the rule that prohibits players from lowering their helmets to initiate contact with another player. That one passed during the spring meetings in March but it was just recently clarified. The other one changes how kickoffs are executed. 

Both rules, designed to make the game safer for the players, could have a major impact on the game. And the Redskins are still a little unclear about how to handle them. 

Safety D.J. Swearinger is one of the Redskins’ hardest hitters. After saying that the helmet-lowering rule, which is outlined in some detail in this video from the NFL, would not affect him because he hits low, he wondered why he was even wearing a hard hat at work. 

“I’ve got a helmet on, but I can’t use it or hit nobody with it, might as well take the helmet off if you ask me,” said Swearinger following the Redskins’ OTA practice on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, coach Jay Gruden had not yet been filled in on the details of the helmet-lowering rule. He said that the team will sort it out over the three and a half months between now and the start of the regular season. 

“The lowering of the helmet, I don’t know which ones they decided to go with, so we’ll see,” he said. “I know there’s been a lot of talk about bull rushes and they’re trying to obviously protect the players, but we’ve just got to be careful.”

Gruden said that special teams coach Ben Kotwica went to meetings to help hash out the kickoff rule. What they ended up with looks a lot like another special teams play according to the player who will be executing the kickoffs. 

“It looks like they’re trying to make it more like a punt,” said kicker Dustin Hopkins. Among the similarities are that the kicking team will not be able to get a running start as the kicker approaches the ball. They will have to be stationary a yard away from the line where the ball is until it is kicked. 

The league probably will be happy if the play does more closely resemble a punt. The injury rate on punt plays is much lower than it is on kickoffs. 

Some believe that this change will lead to longer kickoff returns. Gruden didn’t disagree, but he said that he needs more information. 

“I think without the guys getting a running start, number one, it could be,” he said. “I think it’s just something I have to see it before I can really make any judgments on it.”

The new rule prohibits wedge blocking meaning that you are unlikely to see any offensive linemen on kickoffs as they were used primarily to create or break wedges. 

“I think for the most part, you’re going to see more speed guys,” said Gruden.

The Redskins will start to wrap their heads around the new rule during the next three weeks, when they have their final two weeks of OTAs and then minicamp before the break for training camp. Gruden said that they will continue to work on it in Richmond. He said that the joint practices with the Jets and the four preseason game will be important for sorting out just how the team will implement kickoffs. 

The best way to handle it might be to just let Hopkins pound the ball into the end zone every time. Last year 72.5 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. He could have had more touchbacks, but he occasionally was told to kick it high to force a return with the hope of getting better field position. But if the rules lead to longer returns it may not be worth the risk. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- OTAs: Practice report: Smith sharp
- Injuries: Kouandjio out for the season

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