Nationals

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant scored 18 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder opened a 40-point halftime lead in one of the most lopsided first halves in NBA history on their way to a 114-69 blowout of the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

Russell Westbrook had 12 points and 11 assists before he and the rest of Oklahoma City's starters were pulled less than 5 minutes into the second half with the Thunder leading 79-25.

Westbrook powered home a right-handed slam to put an exclamation point on the first half and put Oklahoma City up 64-24. It was the fifth-biggest halftime lead in NBA's shot clock era and the largest since Golden State set the record with an 88-41 edge on Sacramento on Nov. 2, 1991, according to STATS.

It was the largest blowout ever for Charlotte, which had shown promise with seven early wins - the same number it had last season while setting an NBA record for futility.

NETS 96, KNICKS 89, OT

NEW YORK (AP) - The Nets worked overtime to pull out the opener of their new-look rivalry with the Knicks, winning to tie their city rivals for first place.

Jerry Stackhouse, wearing the No. 42 Jackie Robinson made famous in Brooklyn, made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:31 left in overtime as the Nets controlled the extra period of a playoff-like game that neither team led by more than seven.

Brook Lopez had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Deron Williams added 16 points and 14 assists as the Nets improved to 7-1 in their new home and tied the Knicks atop the Atlantic Division at 9-4.

Carmelo Anthony had 35 points and 13 rebounds, but was only 10 of 16 at the free throw line. Tyson Chandler finished with 28 points and 10 boards, but no other Knicks player was in double figures.

PISTONS 108, TRAIL BLAZERS 101

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Brandon Knight scored 16 of his 26 points in the first half, outplaying Damian Lillard in a matchup of young guards and leading the Pistons to a victory over the Trail Blazers.

Lillard entered the day as the NBA's top rookie scorer, averaging 19.6 points per game. He missed his first 12 shots from the field against the Pistons.

Detroit is 4-3 since dropping its first eight games. The Pistons won for the first time when allowing more than 90 points.

LaMarcus Aldridge was back in the lineup for Portland after missing a game with back spasms. He scored 32 points but didn't have enough help with Lillard struggling.

SPURS 118, WIZARDS 92

WASHINGTON (AP) - Boris Diaw scored 16 points, Tiago Splitter had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Tony Parker added 15 to help the Spurs win their fourth straight over the still-winless Washington Wizards.

The Wizards are the 12th team in NBA history to start the season 0-12 according to STATS and are six away from equaling the New Jersey Nets' record 0-18 start in 2009-10. In their first 11 games, Washington lost by a total of just 72 points and never by more than 16.

The Spurs had seven players in double figures as they continued their successful road trip. Tim Duncan had 14, Gary Neal 13, Manu Ginobili 12 and Matt Bonner had 11. After winning the first four games of the six-game trip, they're now 8-1 on the road and 12-3 overall.

GRIZZLIES 84, CAVALIERS 78

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a lethargic performance to escape with a victory over the Cavaliers.

Rudy Gay scored 15 points, and Quincy Pondexter had 10 points, including 2 of 3 from outside the arc as Memphis won its second straight and maintained its position with the best record in the NBA.

Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters scored 15 each to lead Cleveland, Varejao grabbing 22 rebounds, including eight offensive board. Daniel Gibson scored 11 for the Cavs, who lost their third straight and ninth in the last 10.

The Cavaliers still held the lead with 8:28 left, but Memphis closed the game on a 13-4 run, part of the Grizzlies outscoring Cleveland 22-9.

BUCKS 93, BULLS 92

CHICAGO (AP) - Ersan Ilyasova scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and the Bucks overcame a 27-point deficit in a stunning win over the Bulls.

Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 30 points for the Bulls but missed a shot at the buzzer that could have won it.

Ilyasova led a 31-4 second half-run as the Bucks snapped a nine-game losing streak to Chicago and prevented the Bulls from moving past Milwaukee into first place in the Central Division.

Ilyasova scored 12 points in the fourth quarter when Milwaukee outscored Chicago 30-12. Milwaukee played the entire fourth quarter with five reserves: Ilyasova, Epke Udoh, Beno Udrih, Mike Dunleavy and Doron Lamb.

John Henson, Udrih and Udoh all scored 11 points while Monta Ellis added 10. The Bucks hadn't beaten Chicago since April 6, 2010.

JAZZ 105, NUGGETS 103

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Al Jefferson scored a season-high 28 points and Derrick Favors made three free throws down the stretch, helping the Jazz remain unbeaten at home with a win over the Nuggets.

The Nuggets had a chance to tie it with 3.6 seconds left but Ty Lawson was double-teamed and passed too late for Corey Brewer to get off a final shot.

The Jazz, who improved to 6-0 at home, trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and were down 12 with 7:27 left in the third before going on a 14-2 run to tie it at 77.

The Nuggets played the rest of the way without Andre Iguodala, who was ejected with 3:24 left in the third. He had 10 points, three rebounds and three turnovers.

Favors added a season-high 19 points and seven rebounds, including two in the final minute.

Kenneth Faried led Denver with 21 points.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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USA TODAY

3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

MORE NATS NEWS:

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

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More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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