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NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, making him the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a two-game skid with a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

Bryant entered the game needing only 13 points to eclipse the scoring milestone and did so with a short jumper late in the first half that was perhaps the least spectacular of his baskets, which included the usual array of soaring dunks, demoralizing transition 3-pointers and turnaround, off-balance jumpers.

At 34 years old, Bryant is the youngest to reach the milestone. Wilt Chamberlain was 35 when he hit the mark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone were each 36 and Michael Jordan was 38.

Dwight Howard added 18 points for the Lakers, who trailed by a point at halftime but seized control with a 13-0 run to open the third quarter, and the lead grew as large as 20.

Ryan Anderson scored 31 for New Orleans, hitting 5 of 8 3-pointers, and Greivis Vasquez added 16 points.

SPURS 110, BUCKS 99

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tony Parker and Gary Neal each scored 22 points, and San Antonio had a season-high 53 rebounds in the win over Milwaukee.

Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs. Tiago Splitter had 15 points, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Matt Bonner had a season-high 12 rebounds.

Monta Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists for Milwaukee. Brandon Jennings added 14 points and Ersan Ilyasova scored all of his 17 points in the first half.

San Antonio, which went on a 36-15 run bridging the final two quarters to pull away, outrebounded Milwaukee 53-36, including a 28-17 advantage in the second half.

KNICKS 100, BOBCATS 98

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - J.R. Smith hit a fallaway jumper from the left wing as time expired to give New York a win over Charlotte.

The Bobcats appeared in position to win after a miss by Raymond Felton with 14 seconds left, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ill-advised pass and Smith intercepted it.

After a timeout, Smith drove to the left side and hit an 18-footer over Kidd-Gilchrist.

Carmelo Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half for New York and Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Kemba Walker scored 25 points for the Bobcats.

CLIPPERS 112, MAVERICKS 90

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 14 points and 13 assists, propelling Los Angeles over Dallas for its fourth straight victory.

Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Caron Butler scored 16 and DeAndre Jordan 12 for the Clippers, who shot 50 percent and dominated the entire game, keeping Dallas owner Mark Cuban glued to his seat with his chin cupped in his left hand.

Reserve Vince Carter scored 16 points for Dallas. Derek Fisher added 15 points, and Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman had 14 points apiece for the Mavericks, who fell to 2-7 on the road.

PACERS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 92

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Paul George scored 22 points and George Hill added 18 to help Indiana beat Portland.

David West had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers (10-9), who have won four of five and moved above .500 for the first time since a 2-1 start.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 23 points. Wesley Matthews scored 19, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

Indiana outscored Portland 31-14 in the third quarter to take control. The Blazers made a push in the fourth but could get no closer than four.

CELTICS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 94

BOSTON (AP) - Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds and remained unbeaten against his former team as Boston beat Minnesota in Rajon Rondo's return from a two-game suspension.

The Celtics improved to 10-0 against Minnesota since they acquired Garnett from the Timberwolves during the summer of 2007.

Boston went 1-1 without Rondo, suspended for his role in a scuffle during a game against the Brooklyn Nets last Wednesday. Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists, Paul Pierce scored 18, Jason Terry 17 and Brandon Bass 12 for the Celtics.

Kevin Love had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Nikola Pekovic scored 14 for the T-Wolves.

WARRIORS 104, PISTONS 97

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Klay Thompson scored 19 of his 27 points in the third quarter to help Golden State pull away to beat Detroit.

The Warriors, starting a seven-game Eastern trip, snapped Detroit's five-game winning streak at home. Golden State has won two straight games in Detroit after losing 25 of 29.

Stephen Curry finished with 22 points and 10 assists, his fourth straight 20-10 game, while David Lee added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors.

Tayshaun Prince was the only Pistons starter to reach double figures with 24 points. Rodney Stuckey had 17 points and fellow reserve Andre Drummond had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

HAWKS 108, NUGGETS 104

ATLANTA (AP) - Josh Smith's steal, jam and free throw with 31 seconds remaining extended Atlanta's lead and the Hawks held on to beat Denver.

Smith had 16 points and 13 rebounds on his 27th birthday, while Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points and 12 rebounds.

Ty Lawson paced Denver with a season-high 32 points and Corey Brewer added 19.

Lawson's 3-pointer gave the Nuggets a 101-99 advantage before Horford hit a tying jumper.

Lou Williams made two free throws to put Atlanta up by two before Smith stole the ball from Lawson and completed a fast break with a dunk over Brewer, who was called for a foul.

BULLS 95, CAVALIERS 85

CLEVELAND (AP) - Marco Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points, Luol Deng added 22 and Chicago took control early on to beat Cleveland.

Belinelli, starting his second straight game in place of injured shooting guard Richard Hamilton, helped the Bulls bounce back from a four-point home loss to Indiana on Tuesday. They went ahead for good less than two minutes in and shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter.

The Cavaliers have lost 13 of 15 and are 2-7 since point guard Kyrie Irving broke his left index finger last month. Anderson Varejao recorded his 10th straight double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds - his 10th straight game with at least 15 boards.

KINGS 107, RAPTORS 100

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to help Sacramento beat Toronto for only its third win in the last 12 games.

The Kings used strong fourth-quarter play from Cousins and Tyreke Evans to earn a rare victory. Sacramento suffered an embarrassing 35-point loss Sunday against the Clippers.

Evans, back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bruised left knee, scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, while John Salmons scored 12 and Aaron Brooks 11.

Kyle Lowry scored 29 of his 34 points in the second half for the Raptors.

JAZZ 87, MAGIC 81

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Al Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Utah over Orlando.

Jefferson had just eight points at halftime but scored 17 in the third quarter and was the difference down the stretch as the Jazz held off a furious Orlando comeback attempt.

Orlando trailed by 14 in the first half and by 11 entering the fourth but took a 79-78 lead on Glen Davis' powerful jam.

Randy Foye's 3-pointer and back-to-back jumpers by Jefferson sealed it for Utah.

Davis led Orlando with 18 points, Jameer Nelson had 17 and Arron Afflalo added 16.

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Key Caps questions: How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?

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USA TODAY Sports

Key Caps questions: How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: How will the Caps look different under new head coach Todd Reirden?

Tarik: It’s an important topic, but let’s not overthink this one. Since winning the Stanley Cup on June 7, the organization has pretty much telegraphed EXACTLY what it hopes will occur in 2018-19. Consider:

  • Todd Reirden was promoted after spending four years as Barry Trotz’s assistant, including the last two years as an associate coach with an expanded role. Reirden already knows everyone, from the players to the trainers and other support staff. He knows what buttons to push and when to push them. There’s a built-in comfort level and trust that should allow everyone to hit the ground running in September.
  • Four of Reirden’s assistants are holdovers, too. The one newcomer, Reid Cashman, is joining the group from Hershey and is a Reirden disciple. So, no adjustment period there, either.
  • Assuming restricted free agent Tom Wilson re-ups (and that would seem to be a very safe assumption), the Caps are bringing back 11 of the 12 forwards that were on the ice for Game 5 in Las Vegas. They’re also bringing back five of six defensemen. And the starting goaltender. Chemistry is a hard thing to explain and/or quantify. But you know when a team has it. And the Caps had it at the end of last year.

So if you look at what GM Brian MacLellan has been doing in recent weeks—and have been listening to what Reirden has been saying publicly—you can only come to one conclusion. The decision-makers feel they discovered the right mix of personnel and systems play at the end of the playoffs, from the defensive structure to special teams. In fact, they were first in goals per game, second-best on the power play and the fourth stingiest team in the postseason.

“Many of my [philosophies] were involved in how we were going to play, how our team was going to look, the identity that we had,” Reirden said on The Junkies recently, referring to last year’s game plan. “So, from a systems standpoint, I would say not much is going to change, at least initially, just because it seemed to work. …You’ll see much of the same.”

That doesn’t mean Reirden won’t make adjustments. He will because he’ll have to over the course of an 82-game regular season and, hopefully, another long postseason run. But it does underscore the fact that the foundation upon on which last year’s championship team was built is going to look awfully familiar. And that's clearly by design.

JJ:  The message from the Caps ever since Reirden was promoted to head coach has been one of consistency as they try to make a seamless transition to the new head coach. In that sense, we probably won't see many changes at all to start the season.

The Capitals just won the Stanley Cup and general manager Brian MacLellan worked to bring almost the exact same roster back for next season. Coming into the locker room saying there's a new sheriff in town and making drastic changes is not the way to go here

But that doesn't mean Reirden will do things the same way.

Reirden has coached at the college, AHL and NHL level. He has seen firsthand how Dan Bylsma won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and how Trotz did it in Washington. He also saw what didn't work.

Reirden got to this point by developing relationships with the players. He is much more of a players' coach than Trotz and that will be evident in training camp. I also expect there will be a much greater emphasis on development. Trotz famously said to the media that the NHL was not a development league, but a performance league. I expect Reirden to take a different approach.

After failing to win with veteran-laden teams, the Caps finally hoisted the Cup last season after getting significant contributions from young prospects such as Jakub Vrana, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey. Like it or not, the Caps' core will not last forever. Every year those players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson get another year older. I do not believe a coach who is as good at reaching players and developing them as Reirden is will be quite as reluctant to reach down onto the farm and sprinkle youth throughout his lineup whenever the team needs a spark.

It should not be lost on anyone that one of Reirden's new assistant coaches this year will be Reid Cashman, promoted from being an assistant with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. This is all good news for players like Lucas Johansen, Jonas Siegenthaler and Connor Hobbs, the team's three best defensive prospects who are hoping to have an impact at the NHL level sooner rather than later. The Caps roster is pretty loaded, but at the very least you can expect Reirden to have a hand in helping those players along at training camp.

Ultimately, the product on the ice is going to look almost exactly the same at the start of the season with the biggest changes coming off the ice. We won't see who Reirden is as an NHL coach, however, until we let the full 82-game season play out.

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Defensive line

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Defensive line

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Defensive line

Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming week, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Defensive line

Additions: Daron Payne (drafted in first round), Tim Settle (drafted in fifth round)
Departures: Terrell McClain (released)

Starters: Payne (NT), Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis
Other roster locks: Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, Settle
On the bubble: Ziggy Hood, Phil Taylor

How the defensive line compares

To the rest of the NFL: We are going to have to see about this. Over the last couple of years the D-line has been transformed from an aging group into one where youth is in good supply. Ioannidis is the oldest of the starters at age 24. Allen is 23 and Payne just turned 21 in May. It looks like there is great potential there but we haven’t seen enough of it on the field to make solid comparisons to other lines around the league. Allen missed 10 games of his rookie year with an injury and Ioannidis missed two and was hampered in a few more with a broken hand. Payne, of course, is a rookie. Let’s check back in late October and see how things are going then. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  The primary reason that the line should be significantly better this year is the presence of Payne and Settle on the roster. That means that it is very unlikely that Hood will have to play nose tackle. He has been the starter there for the past two years, forced there by injuries. Jim Tomsula that Hood is not well suited to play the nose. So they have an improvement there. If they get a mostly healthy season out of Allen and if Ioannidis continue to improve this will be the best defensive line they have had since moving to the 3-4 defensive in 2010. 

2018 outlook

Biggest upside: As noted, Payne just turned 21. He seems to have a rare understanding of the game for a rookie. You often see rookies just trying to survive on physical ability early one. Payne has plenty of that, but he also seems to realize that strength and ability alone won’t let him thrive at this level. He pays close attention to his technique during drills, making sure he does things the right way the first time. If he builds on this for the next year or so the Redskins could have a legitimate star. 

Most to prove: Since so many Redskins fans are accustomed to seeing veteran defensive linemen the team signs as free agents play poorly, they automatically put McGee in the “bust” category. But many of his teammates said he was the most consistent player on the line last year. It’s safe to say that he played better than the popular perception. Next year, he will carry a $4.8 million salary cap number and like most players who are not starters but making good salaries, he will need to play well enough to justify that cap number.  

Rookie watch: The Redskins did not expect Settle to be available in the fifth round and he was too good to pass up when he was still on the board. He should get some opportunity as a rookie. He is likely to be the only other nose tackle on the roster besides Payne (sorry, but the numbers make it unlikely that Phil Taylor will make the roster). That could have him active on many game days and that usually means getting some snaps in the rotation. We will see what he can do with his chances. 

Bottom line: The Redskins were last in the league in rushing defense in 2017. It wasn’t all on the line—in particular, injuries to the inside linebackers hurt a lot—but the simple fact is that the organization long neglected the line. The philosophy was to create a patchwork unit from aging free agents. That has changed now with three homegrown players set to start and Settle and 2016 undrafted free agent find Anthony Lanier providing reserve help. It’s going to be a better unit, no question. But improvement over the last several years is a low bar and we’ll find out if this develops into a quality line over the next few months. 

Quote-unquote

Greg Manusky on Payne:

Payne is doing a great job. He’s trying to get acclimated to some of the calls, hasn’t had a lot of mental errors. He’s done a great job. Physical player.

2018 position outlook series

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