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NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James scored 30 points, Dwyane Wade added 21 points and seven assists, and the Miami Heat rode the strength of a big third-quarter run to beat the Utah Jazz 105-89 on Saturday night.

James added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who won their fourth straight game and next play on Christmas against Oklahoma City in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals. Shane Battier scored 15 and Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which opened the second half on a 22-6 run to build a 69-49 lead.

Marvin Williams scored 16 for Utah, which got 15 from Gordon Hayward and 11 from Paul Millsap.

The Jazz played the second half without Mo Williams, who appeared to hurt his right thumb. Miami was without Chris Bosh, home with what the team said was a cold.

James has scored at least 20 points in all 24 Heat games this season, matching the longest run of 20-or-more efforts to start a year since Karl Malone did it for Utah in the 1989-90 campaign. It also was the 29th straight regular-season game in which James scored at least 20 points and 45th consecutive overall.

James also didn't get called for a personal foul for a sixth straight game.

Lakers 118, Warriors 115, OT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Kobe Bryant had 34 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash finished with 12 points and nine assists in his first game in almost two months, and Los Angeles rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Golden State in overtime.

Metta World Peace and Nash each made a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minutes of regulation before the Warriors came back. World Peace scored 20 points, and Nash converted a step-back shot for the final points in overtime to lift Los Angeles to its fourth straight victory.

Jarrett Jack scored 29 points and David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a disappointing collapse for Golden State, which had won 11 of 14 games to get off to its best start in 20 years.

The 38-year-old Nash missed the previous 24 games because of a small fracture in his lower left leg. He was injured in the second game of the season, the former Phoenix star's first with the Lakers.

Bryant made three quick jumpers in overtime, including a fadeaway that put Los Angeles ahead by four. He has scored at least 30 points in eight straight games.

The matchup marked the first time the Warriors faced the Lakers with a better record through at least 25 games since April 23, 1994.

Nuggets 110, Bobcats 88

DENVER (AP) - Kosta Koufos scored a season-high 16 points, and Kenneth Faried and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece as Denver sent Charlotte to its 15th consecutive loss.

JaVale McGee added 14 points, and Danilo Gallinari had 12 for Denver, which won its sixth in a row at home since its only loss there - 98-93 to Miami on Nov. 15.

Charlotte, playing the second of a back-to-back set on the road, was without injured guards Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon.

Ramon Sessions had 23 points to lead Charlotte. Byron Mullens added 16.

Hawks 92, Bulls 75

ATLANTA (AP) - Al Horford had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and every Atlanta starter scored in double figures as the Hawks routed Chicago to snap a two-game losing streak.

Lou Williams added 16 points in his first start, and the Atlanta native led the way as the Hawks outscored the Bulls 61-33 in the second and third quarters combined.

Luol Deng paced Chicago with 11 points, but the Bulls (15-11) couldn't build on its 110-106 victory over the Knicks in New York on Friday. The Hawks (16-9), however, bounced back from a poor fourth-quarter performance in a 99-80 loss at Philadelphia.

Atlanta starters outscored Chicago's starters 72-39 in Hawks coach Larry Drew's 100th victory (100-73).

Williams started at shooting guard, but began the second quarter playing point guard in place of starter Jeff Teague. Williams had 11 points in the period as the Hawks outscored the Bulls 25-6 over the final 6:58.

Pistons 96, Wizards 87

WASHINGTON (AP) - Charlie Villanueva scored 19 points, Rodney Stuckey added 18, and Detroit earned its second win in two nights over Washington.

The Pistons have won consecutive games only twice this season. Detroit grabbed a season-high 58 rebounds for the second straight night.

The Wizards, who trailed throughout, have lost seven straight and are an NBA-worst 3-22. Washington got within 88-81 with 6:15 to play, but didn't score for nearly four minutes as Detroit stretched its advantage to 94-81 with 2:55 left.

Jordan Crawford, who scored his only point of the first half with 1:05 to play, scored 20 after halftime to lead Washington with 21 overall. Emeka Okafor scored 14 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds.

Rockets 121, Grizzlies 96

HOUSTON (AP) - James Harden scored 31 points with eight assists, and Houston earned its third straight win by topping Memphis.

The Grizzlies entered the game allowing an NBA-low 89.2 points a game. But they had no answer for Harden. He did all his scoring in the first three quarters and reached at least 20 points for an eighth straight game.

Houston used a big run midway through the second quarter to take the lead, and didn't trail after that to break a four-game winning streak by the Grizzlies.

Mike Conley had 16 points for the Grizzlies on a night when leading scorer Rudy Gay finished with a season-low six points.

Memphis hadn't allowed 100 points since the Clippers scored 101 in the season-opener - an NBA-best streak of 23 games. The Rockets needed just over three quarters to reach the mark with a free throw by Jeremy Lin with 9 1-2 minutes left.

It was the Rockets' 13th straight home victory over the Grizzlies. Memphis hasn't won in Houston since April 2006.

Lin added 15 points and 11 assists, and Marcus Morris scored 16 points.

Pacers 81, Hornets 75

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - David West scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and Indiana overcame a 22-point deficit to hand New Orleans its 11th straight loss.

Paul George steadied Indiana in the first half with 11 points, and finished with 17 to help the Pacers win for the seventh time in eight games.

Robin Lopez had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, stuck in their worst stretch since December 2004. Greivis Vasquez added 14 points, and Anthony Davis had 10.

After the Hornets took a 46-24 lead, the Pacers outscored them 57-29 - including 24-7 in the third quarter.

West scored his 10,000th career point midway through the third quarter.

Cavaliers 94, Bucks 82

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Dion Waiters scored 18 points and Cleveland snapped a six-game losing streak by beating Milwaukee.

C.J. Miles added 16 points, and Kyrie Irving had 15 for the Cavaliers, who played without starting center Anderson Varejao for the third straight game because of a bruised right knee.

Monta Ellis had a season-high 37 points for Milwaukee. The Bucks had won the previous nine games against the Cavaliers.

Trail Blazers 96, Suns 93

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double, and Portland defeated Phoenix for its fifth straight win. Rookie Damian Lillard had 25 points, including 18 in the second half.

Sasha Pavolic and Lillard made consecutive 3-pointers as Portland pulled in front 92-85 with 4:02 left. The Suns got to within 94-91 on Marcin Gortat's layup with 1:24 to go.

After Lillard's 19-foot, step-back jumper, Jared Dudley had a layup for the Suns to make it 96-93. Phoenix furiously tried to get a shot off in the final seconds, but Goran Dragic missed a 3-pointer, and Shannon Brown missed a short jumper.

Gortat had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, who led by as many as 12 points in the first half. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Phoenix.

The Blazers haven't won five straight since February 2011.

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Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now

With Tom Wilson still serving a 20-game suspension, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden has the difficult task of finding a wing to complement his top line of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. For the first four games of the season, that player was Brett Connolly.

On Saturday, however, he changed things up and went with Chandler Stephenson instead.

Just 18 seconds into the game, Stephenson made his head coach look very smart as he finished off a 2-on-1 with Kuznetsov to score his first goal of the season.

“Obviously, the start was great,” Reirden said after the game.

Stephenson is an incredibly fast skater and the extra speed seemed to add another dimension to that line that opponents had to contend with, and it led to both of the Caps’ goals on the night.

In addition to Stephenson’s goal, Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty in the second period, and Washington scored on the resulting power play.

“Those guys are a lot of fun to play with,” Stephenson said. “They just know where to be and can find each other. I've just got to get the puck to them and just go to the net with your stick on the ice, and they'll find you.”

The top line’s success was a matter of finding instant chemistry as Stephenson had very little time to adjust. The Caps were off on Friday following back-to-back games, and Reirden did not make the switch of putting Stephenson on the top until Saturday’s morning skate.

Putting a new top line together with little time to practice does not seem like an ideal scenario, but according to Kuznetsov, the level of familiarity between all the players made the adjustment quick and easy.

“It doesn't matter with who you play,” he said. “In this locker room, we can communicate with anybody. We don't have a first line, we don't have a fourth line. We try and roll all lines.”

Reirden seemed pleased with the new trio after the game saying, “They did a number of good things during the game as well, so they I thought accomplished a lot. I thought [Stephenson] brought the speed on the forecheck and was able to at least go after their defense a little bit and force some turnovers that Kuznetsov and [Ovechkin] were able to at least get some opportunities from. So I think that's important to have him in that situation.”

Reirden was happy enough with the top line’s performance to keep them together. The team is off Monday, but Stephenson remained on the top line during Sunday’s practice.

But so long as Wilson remains out, finding the right match for the top line will remain a work in progress.

Said Reirden, “We’ll continue to try to put together our four lines that give us the best chance.”

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Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens went into the Tennessee Titans' home and completely robbed them in a 21-0 shutout win.

Here are the players and plays that stood out from the afternoon.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Ravens Defense

The Ravens defense had a historic afternoon recording a franchise-record 11 sacks. Yup, you read that right. 11 sacks.

Za'Darius Smith led the way with three, followed by Patrick Onwuasor with two and Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley with one apiece. The 11 sacks tied for the second most by a team in league history and the most in a game since 2012.  It was so historic, the Ravens changed their Twitter name to included 11 S's. 

But that wasn't the only impressive part of the Ravens' afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 10 completions and the defense allowed just 51 passing yards  —  the fewest in franchise history  — and 55 rushing yards. The Titans finished the afternoon 1-for-10 on third down as well.

With the shutout, the Ravens defense cemented its place as one of the NFL's most elite units in 2018. A win that must have been extra sweet after a 12-9 overtime loss to the Browns the week prior and with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees staring back from the opposite sideline. The Ravens remain the only NFL team to not allow a second-half touchdown this season. 

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE GAME: Michael Crabtree

After dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Michael Crabtree said his priority this week was to get back into the lab and correct his mistakes. Out the gate, the veteran receiver stayed true to his word finishing the Ravens' first drive catching three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Earlier in the week, Joe Flacco had faith his receiver would get over the hump of six drops in five games and was willing to stand by him until it happened.

"Besides just trying to give him the confidence that, you know, I'm still going his way when he calls for it and I still believe that it's going to be the difference...it's something that he'll definitely get over," Flacco said.

The patience worked as Crabtree finished the day with six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown leading all Ravens receivers.

But more importantly, the relationship between Crabtree and Flacco continues to grow.

"That’s trust. That’s what you need in football, you know," Crabtree said postgame. "Quarterback, receiver relationship. It’s only going to get better. It’s all about how much time you put in, how much work you put in. I’m new; this is my first year here so I got to do what I got to do."

STAT OF THE GAME: Flacco makes his way into the history books

With 25 completions Sunday against the Titans, Flacco became the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete 25 or more passes in nine consecutive games, per the NFL's communication department. Drew Brees sits atop the list with 11 and 10 consecutive games followed by Peyton Manning with nine. Flacco finished the 21-0 win 25-for-37 with 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

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