Nationals

NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

MIAMI (AP) Draymond Green made a layup with 0.9 seconds left to give the streaking Golden State Warriors a 97-95 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Klay Thompson tied a season high with 27 points to lead the Warriors, who have won five straight.

LeBron James led Miami with 31 points, reaching the 20-point mark for the 25th consecutive game - the longest current streak in the NBA.

Warriors guard Jarrett Jack dribbled the ball at the top of the key as the clock ticked down before finding Green, who caught a quick pass from Jack underneath the basket and made the layup.

James then missed a baseline jumper, sending Miami to only its second loss in 12 home games.

David Lee had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Jack added 20 points for the Warriors.

Chris Bosh had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, but Dwyane Wade was limited to 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting and had five turnovers.

THUNDER 92, HORNETS 88

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Kevin Durant scored 35 points and Oklahoma City extended its winning streak to nine games with a victory over New Orleans.

The Thunder rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and matched their longest win streak since the franchise moved from Seattle.

At 18-4, the Thunder also matched the second-best start in franchise history. Seattle started 20-2 in the 1993-94 season and the Thunder started 18-4 last season.

Brian Roberts scored 16 points to lead the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight game overall and seventh straight against Oklahoma City.

CLIPPERS 100, BOBCATS 94

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Chris Paul had 19 points and 10 assists to help the Clippers extend their longest win streak in two decades to eighth with a victory over Charlotte.

Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes also scored 19 points for the Clippers, who maintained sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

Byron Mullens had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Kemba Walker chipped in with 17 points to lead the stumbling Bobcats, who have lost nine straight since starting the season 7-5.

The Bobcats trailed 78-71 entering the fourth quarter and got as close as three before Barnes scored on a fast break dunk and hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to eight.

NETS 94, RAPTORS 88

TORONTO (AP) - Joe Johnson scored 23 points, and Andray Blatche had 14 points and nine rebounds to help Brooklyn end a five-game losing streak with a win over Toronto.

C.J. Watson scored 16 points and Deron Williams added 12 as the Nets won for the first time since Nov. 30 at Orlando.

Former Raptors Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries both had big games for the Nets. Evans had nine points and 11 rebounds, while Humphries scored 11 points, making nine of 10 free throws.

Ed Davis matched his career high with 24 points and added 12 rebounds, while Jose Calderon had 10 points and 15 assists for the Raptors, who have lost six straight and 12 of 13.

JAZZ 99, SPURS 96

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Mo Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to help Utah snap San Antonio's winning streak at five.

Paul Millsap led Utah with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Al Jefferson scored 21 points and Gordon Hayward added 19.

The Jazz trailed by eight with a little more than 4 minutes remaining. Williams' winning shot was his only 3 of the night and he finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker each scored 22 points to lead the Spurs, who swept the Jazz out of the playoffs in the first round and had won 11 of the last 12 meetings.

CELTICS 117, MAVERICKS 115, 2OT

BOSTON (AP) - Paul Pierce scored 34 points, including a 3-pointer at the start of the second overtime to give Boston the lead for good, and the Celtics held on to beat Dallas.

Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds, and Kevin Garnett added 16 points to help Boston win its second straight.

O.J. Mayo scored 24 points, and Shawn Marion had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Mavericks.

Pierce made five of six free throws in the second overtime. With his basket with 59 seconds left in the first OT, he surpassed 23,000 career points. He is the 25th NBA player to reach the mark.

SUNS 82, GRIZZLIES 80

PHOENIX (AP) - Goran Dragic made a short hook shot from the left baseline with 0.5 seconds remaining to help Phoenix snap a seven-game losing streak with a win over Memphis.

Dragic had 12 points, and Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley scored 15 each for the Suns, who won for the first time since Nov. 27 at Cleveland.

Rudy Gay had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Zach Randolph added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

A lob attempt off an inbound pass by the Grizzlies was broken up by a pair of Phoenix defenders as time expired.

BULLS 96, 76ERS 89

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Joakim Noah scored 21 points, and Luol Deng added 19 points and 12 rebounds to help Chicago win its fourth in a row on the road with a victory over Philadelphia.

Less than 24 hours after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers by five points at United Center, the Bulls traveled to Philadelphia and appeared more rested than the Sixers, who had Tuesday off.

Marco Belinelli had 16 points and Nate Robinson, starting in place of guard Kirk Hinrich, had 14 for Chicago. Hinrich injured his left knee in the loss to the Clippers and is listed as day-to-day.

Jrue Holiday scored 26 points, Evan Turner added 16 and Thaddeus Young 13 for Philadelphia. Reserve Spencer Hawes chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Nick Young also scored 10.

BUCKS 98, KINGS 85

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Brandon Jennings scored 19 points, and Monta Ellis had 17 points and 11 assists to lead Milwaukee past Sacramento.

Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored a season-high 17 in his first start of the season for Milwaukee (11-9), which has its best 20-game start since 2005-06.

Tyreke Evans had 17 points in his return to Sacramento's lineup after missing three straight games - and five of six - with a sore left knee. John Salmons added 16 points. The Kings were without center DeMarcus Cousins, who was suspended one game for striking Dallas' O.J. Mayo in the groin.

PACERS 96, CAVALIERS 81

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Paul George scored 27 points to help Indiana overcame a 16-point deficit in a win over Cleveland.

David West added 18 points and nine rebounds, and George Hill scored 17 points for the Pacers, who snapped a two-game skid.

Indiana, third in the NBA in scoring defense and No. 1 in opponent field-goal percentage coming in, held the Cavaliers to 23 points on 8-for-41 shooting in the second half - Cleveland's lowest-scoring half of the season.

C.J. Miles had 28 points, while Kyrie Irving was held to nine on 4-for-12 shooting for the Cavs.

TIMBERWOLVES 108, NUGGETS 105

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Minnesota used a big advantage at the free throw line to overcome Kevin Love's shooting struggles and beat Denver.

Love finished with eight points on 3-for-17 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds on a day he had to explain to Minnesota's owner and his teammates some critical comments he made about the franchise.

The Timberwolves shot under 40 percent for much of the game, but made 30 of 37 from the free throw line. The Nuggets were just 14 of 24 at the line.

Kenneth Faried had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the road-weary Nuggets, who missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

HAWKS 86, MAGIC 80

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Josh Smith and Jeff Teague scored 16 points apiece, Al Horford added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Atlanta Hawks held off a late charge to beat Orlando.

Atlanta extended its regular-season win streak against Orlando to eight with its second win over the Magic this season.

Arron Afflalo scored 16 points and J.J. Redick added 13 for the Magic, who were able to dig out of a huge first-half hole couldn't overcome 16 turnovers that led to 24 points.

Orlando also struggled from the field, connecting on only 31 of 81 shots, in dropping its fourth straight home game. The Magic get a chance to end the skid Friday against Golden State.

ROCKETS 99, WIZARDS 93

HOUSTON (AP) - James Harden scored 31 points and Houston got its first victory under coach Kevin McHale Rockets in over a month with a win over Washington.

The Wizards threatened late in the fourth quarter, but Chandler Parsons scored eight straight points for Houston in the final three minutes, including two 3-pointers, to secure the victory. Parsons finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

It was Houston's first victory since McHale rejoined the team last Saturday following the death of his 23-year-old daughter. Alexandra ``Sasha'' McHale died Nov. 24 of complications from Lupus.

Rookie Bradley Beal had 20 points to lead Washington.

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Max Scherzer's return from hamstring injury was a battle, but one he won against the Mets

Max Scherzer's return from hamstring injury was a battle, but one he won against the Mets

Better. Though the bar was low.

Max Scherzer worked for six innings Tuesday night in New York. He made it through one roughshod inning during his last outing against the Mets because his hamstring “tweak” was enough of an alarm that he decided to stop pitching.

That was seven days prior to his start against the Mets, which the Nationals won, 2-1. Ostensibly, Scherzer had not pitched for 13 days. He lasted the one inning, needed to work his hamstring problem out, then find a way back to the mound.

Davey Martinez wanted him to stop sprinting -- the initial cause of the hamstring problem -- in between starts. Scherzer did not want to stop sprinting, so he continued to do so once he felt better. He also pitched twice from a mound in the days before the bottom of the first on Tuesday. Both times, he felt 100 percent when pushing and landing. The hamstring was fine. So much so, that he expected to throw the 105 pitches he did to hold off the Mets across the grinding innings they imposed on him.

“Took some shots there early, but didn’t break and found a way to execute pitches there later in the game,” Scherzer said.

RELATED: TREA TURNER'S SWING HAS TAKEN TIME TO ADJUST WITHOUT REPLAY ACCESS

He finished with seven strikeouts across the six innings. Just a run scored. But, there were eight baserunners and Scherzer was in severe trouble in both the first and second innings. Those were the issues as he hunted a path to better out-pitches and location.

“It honestly kind of reminded me of Game 7 of the World Series when he went out there and he couldn’t zone in on the strike zone,” Martinez said. “His stuff was good. His pitch count got high. Once he settled in, we started noticing he started getting through the ball a little better. Balls started coming down. Started throwing a lot more strikes.”

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“Even though my pitch count got out of control, I was just able to just stay with [Kurt Suzuki] and continue to pound the zone and find a way to get through six [Tuesday],” Scherzer said.

The good is clear: He is back on the mound, healthy, throwing 98 mph and 100-plus pitches. Stephen Strasburg returned two days prior, though he is not 100 percent. Scherzer is physically right, if slightly rusty. That combination was sufficient in his first start after the hamstring problem.

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With no access to in-game video, Trea Turner’s swing has taken time to adjust

With no access to in-game video, Trea Turner’s swing has taken time to adjust

Heading into the Nationals’ four-game series with the New York Mets this week, Trea Turner was hitting just .196 on the young season with one home run. The vaunted base stealer had been thrown out on the basepaths three times while having yet to swipe a bag successfully. In the field, he’d racked up three errors.

It was a frustrating start for the 27-year-old shortstop, who’s coming off a season in which he played with only nine fingers and still found a way to serve as a catalyst atop the Nationals’ lineup. Now fully healthy, Turner was expected to play a role in helping Washington absorb the loss of Anthony Rendon in the middle of its lineup.

Normally, poor at-bats would prompt Turner to head down to the replay room for a quick look at his mechanics. He goes into the clubhouse in between innings and examines his previous swings to see if he needs to make any adjustments. It’s a practice Turner has grown to rely on over the course of his major-league career.

But this season, Turner hasn’t had access to the replay room after MLB banned in-game video as part of its health protocols for playing in the middle of a pandemic. Instead, he’s had to wait until after each game before being able to break down his swing. It’s made for slower progress, but after going 5-for-9 with two home runs and four RBIs over the first two games of the series in New York, he feels that his adjustments have started to pay off.

“I felt good in the box and I feel like my approach was good but not having video is a little different and I feel like in years past I was pretty good at going back and just checking out the swing real quick and making the little adjustment I need to make in game,” Turner said in a Zoom press conference after Tuesday’s 2-1 win.

“Finally made the right adjustment a few games ago and started putting the barrel on the ball and feeling a little better. The last four or five games or so my contact has been a little bit stronger and it was just a matter of time for the hits to start to fall.”

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Turner hasn’t been the only member of the baseball community to express how the lack of video access has changed their approach. On Saturday, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash told MLB Network Radio that he wasn’t pleased with MLB’s decision to ban something that had become an integral tool for coaches and players during games.

“Without being too controversial, I think it's absolutely ridiculous,” Cash said. “It's probably one of the worst things that I've seen Major League Baseball do in take video away from players. Video is what makes us good. It helps us learn, it helps us coach, it helps us attack. And it's been taken away from us because of one team, or a couple teams' stupid choices.”

“We can't even watch a game; we cannot watch our own game. Our players cannot come in and watch a game in the clubhouse. It is asinine. The entire protocol system, how they came up with that, it is wrong. They're doing an injustice to players.”

While it’s unknown whether the real reasoning behind MLB’s decision is related to health protocols or the sign-stealing scandals that surrounded the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox over the offseason, Turner isn’t making any excuses. In fact, the results are beginning to turn his way.

Entering play Tuesday, Turner had a hard-hit percentage of 40.9 percent, well above his career rate of 32.5. His batting average on balls in play was just .238 (league average is .300), indicating he had been getting unlucky on some well struck balls. In fact, his groundball rate is down five percentage points from his career average while his flyball rate is up 10 percent.

Then came his home run off Mets starter Rick Porcello in the first inning. Turner took a breaking ball high and away and hit it off his back foot on a line straight into the seats in right field.

It was only Turner’s second opposite-field homer of his career after he hit none all of last season. Yet even with the adjustments he’d been making to his swing, he said that he didn’t go into the at-bat looking to hit anything to right field against Porcello.

“I think it’s just swing path and pitch,” Turner said. “I’ve hit a few balls to right-center out in certain stadiums, mostly probably at home, and I don’t know if those are opposite field per se. They might be more center field but I just think when you’re facing righties, to hit an opposite-field home run is fairly tough. He tried going toward that backdoor sinker and I just felt like it was the right swing on the right pitch and just keeping it fair and not slicing the ball.”

Turner will continue tweaking away at his swing, hoping to produce results like he has so far in the New York. But with or without the video replay room, he doesn’t expect the opposite-field homer to be the start of a new trend.

“I don’t have necessarily that oppo power some of these big guys get,” Turner said. “I usually have to pull them but every once in a while, if you get the right pitch on the right swing, it sneaks out. So I’ll take it.”

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