Capitals

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.

Quick Links

Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension while Capitals and NHL lay out the next steps

usatsi_10841766.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Evgeny Kuznetsov accepts IIHF suspension while Capitals and NHL lay out the next steps

After news broke of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s four-year suspension by the IIHF for testing positive for cocaine, the Capitals center released a statement Friday accepting the suspension and expressing his regret for the situation 

Said Kuznetsov:

"Recently, the IIHF notified me that, due to a positive test for a banned substance, I would be suspended from international competition for four years. I have made the decision to accept this penalty. Representing my country has always been so close to my heart and something I take so much pride in. Not being able to put that sweater on for four years is very hard to take. I have disappointed so many people that are important to me, including my family, teammates and friends. From the first day I took the ice in D.C., the Washington Capitals organization and our fans have been nothing but great to me and my family. I feel absolutely terrible for letting you down. I realize that the only way I can win you back is to take ownership of my situation and my actions from this point forward."

The question now is what happens next?

Both the Capitals and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also released statements on Friday saying that Kuznetsov “has voluntarily sought help through the education and counseling program provided for in the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement and has agreed to a regular testing protocol relating to his involvement with that program.”

In addition, Kuznetsov will meet with commissioner Gary Bettman “to discuss his situation and review his conduct prior to the start of Training Camp preceding the 2019-20 season.”

While the positive test has resulted in a four-year suspension with the IIHF, it is unclear if any such discipline will be levied on Kuznetsov by the NHL.

Said Daly, “Unlike the IIHF, cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug and is therefore not a Prohibited Substance under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.  Instead, it is considered a drug of abuse that is tested for and for which intervention, evaluation and mandatory treatment can occur in appropriate cases.”

Daly left the door open for NHL discipline as he concluded, “We intend to reserve further comment on any additional actions that may or may not be taken with respect to today’s announcement (disciplinary or otherwise) pending the completion of the Commissioner’s meeting with Mr. Kuznetsov.”

The Capitals, meanwhile, expressed support for Kuznetsov saying “we are committed to ensuring he has the necessary support required to work through this situation.”

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

usatsi_evgeny_kuznetsov.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Evgeny Kuznetsov receives IIHF suspension after testing positive for cocaine

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been suspended for four years by the IIHF after testing positive for cocaine, the organization announced Friday. The test was found in a sample taken on May 26, 2019, at the World Championship.

The suspension will last through June 12, 2023.

A video posted on Twitter in May showed Kuznetsov in a hotel room next to lines of an unidentified white powder. The Capitals center released a statement afterward saying that he has “never taken illegal drugs in my life and career.” He also claimed the video was from 2018 in Vegas after Washington won the Stanley Cup.

After a review, both the NHL and the Capitals accepted Kuznetsov’s explanation of the situation and considered the matter closed.

A team official told NBC Sports Washington on Friday that the team does intend to make an official comment on the news of Kuznetsov’s suspension.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: