Capitals

Nets rout Magic 97-77 for 8th straight home win

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Nets rout Magic 97-77 for 8th straight home win

NEW YORK (AP) Deron Williams had 20 points and nine assists, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Orlando Magic 97-77 on Monday night for their eighth straight home victory.

The Nets rebounded from their first two-game losing streak under P.J. Carlesimo, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Magic, who dropped their sixth straight.

Brook Lopez scored 16 points and Joe Johnson had 13 for the Nets, who tied a franchise record with their 11th victory in January and can break it when they host the NBA champion Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Magic, who lost for the 17th time in 19 games. Their last two losses had each been by two points, but they were blown out of this one early.

Routed by Memphis and Houston to end their four-game road trip, the Nets quickly got back on track at home against an overmatched opponent. But now comes a difficult stretch, with Chicago following Miami into Barclays Center on Friday and the improving Los Angeles Lakers visiting next Tuesday.

The Nets completed their first four-game sweep of the Magic since 2003-04, the season before Orlando drafted Dwight Howard. Brooklyn led by at least 20 points in all four games and is now 17-0 against teams that were under .500 when they played them.

Both coaches were quick to point out that Jameer Nelson didn't play in any of the first three meetings, but he made no difference thanks to another strong night from Williams, who set the tone with 13 points in the first quarter.

The Magic cut a 16-point halftime deficit to seven after three quarters, but the Nets responded with the first nine of the fourth quarter to push it back to 16. Brooklyn outscored Orlando 23-4 to open the final period.

Orlando starting forward Arron Afflalo was out with a strained left calf and Hedo Turkoglu was ineffective after missing nine games while getting back in shape after a broken left hand.

J.J. Redick, who tied a career high with 31 points Sunday against Detroit while making eight 3-pointers, finished 2 of 13 from the field but set a career high with 10 assists. Nelson was 3 of 12 for nine points.

The Nets closed the first quarter with a 10-2 run for a 30-20 lead. Williams was 5 of 6, hitting three 3-pointers, and the Nets made 11 of 17 shots (65 percent). They came out with the first eight points of the second, opening a 38-20 cushion on Andray Blatche's jumper with 9:17 left in the half.

Down 56-40 at the half, Orlando trimmed it to 70-63 after three but had to keep four starters on the floor the entire period. They rested to start the fourth and the Nets clobbered the Magic's below-average bench, with Keith Bogans hitting two 3-pointers in the 9-0 run to start the fourth, and though the starters came back less than 90 seconds in, the momentum was gone.

Bogans finished with 12 points.

Notes: The Nets also won 11 games in January of 1983 and 2002. ... The Nets on Monday recalled Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia from Springfield of the NBA D-League, where Shengelia was the player of the week last week. He averaged 31.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in two games while shooting 76 percent from the floor (25 of 33), and tied the Armor record with 39 points on 17-of-21 shooting and grabbed 18 boards in a victory over Maine. However, he was unavailable to the Nets because of concussion symptoms. ... The Magic are 0-13 when failing to score 90 points.

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With the NHL limiting teams to 28 skaters for the playoffs, what will the Caps' roster look like?

With the NHL limiting teams to 28 skaters for the playoffs, what will the Caps' roster look like?

In a typical NHL postseason, all roster limits and salary cap restrictions are lifted. This year, however, is no normal postseason and teams are going to have prepare for having a limited number of players on the road.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the NHL has advised teams to prepare for a 28-man roster plus unlimited goalies for training camp and the playoffs. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan confirmed this in a video conference on Friday.

"We got the roster number the other day of 28 plus unlimited goalies," MacLellan said. "So we're in discussions now on how we want to use those extra players and what's the best way we can organizationally."

It should be noted that "unlimited" goalies is a bit of a misnomer because all teams will only be allowed to bring a maximum of 50 people to their hub cities for the playoffs. So sure, bring as many goalies as you want, but for each goalie you bring that's one less staff member who will be able to go.

In a typical postseason, teams will recall several players from the minors to serve as "black aces," who are depth practice players. Several practices in the postseason are optional so having black aces ensures that regardless of the NHL regulars who wish to take part in a practice, there are still enough players to work with whether it be a goalie to shoot on or maybe shooters for a goalie to face against. Black aces also provide depth which is important for the grueling Stanley Cup Playoffs. For the players themselves, it provides younger prospects a valuable learning experience for what the postseason is like and how the veteran players approach it.

With a limited roster and limited personnel, however, MacLellan likely will not be able to bring all the players he normally would want to. Here's a projection of what a 28-man roster may look like for Washington.

The regulars

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Travis Boyd

Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Michal Kempny
Radko Gudas

When the NHL season was paused, there were 21 skaters on the roster. That number is down to 20 after Brendan Leipsic's contract was terminated. There is no reason to think any of the other 20 will not be with the team for the postseason.

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Possible Black Aces

With 20 players, that leaves just eight slots left for black aces. Here are the most likely candidates:

Shane Gersich
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby
Brett Leason
Beck Malenstyn
Connor McMichael
Liam O'Brien
Garrett Pilon
Brian Pinho
Mike Sgarbossa
Joe Snively
Daniel Sprong
Alex Alexeyev
Martin Fehervary
Lucas Johansen
Tyler Lewington
Bobby Nardella

Of those players, my best guess for the eight the team will take would be Gersich, Malenstyn, McMichael, Sgarbossa, Sprong, Alexeyev, Fehervary and Lewington.

First off, MacLellan named McMichael specifically as a player the team was considering taking. I don't think he does that if he was not fairly certain McMichael was going to be included. Malenstyn said in a video conference after the AHL season was officially canceled that he had been told by the team he was going to be a black ace. As for the rest, considering there is a fairly limited number of roster spots, I think the team would lean very largely on players who are more likely to be plugged into the lineup in case of injury. That means guys like Sgarbossa and Sprong would get nods over some prospects like Jonsson-Fjallby or Snively or, on defense, Lewington would be added over prospects like Johansen and Nardella.

Goalies

Braden Holtby
Ilya Samsonov
Pheonix Copley
Vitek Vanecek

Teams will always have a third goalie when possible in the playoffs and Copley also confirmed he will be a black ace in the video conference with Malenstyn. The only question is if the team would bring Vanecek as well just to be safe. With all the unknowns of the coronavirus, it would not be surprising to see MacLellan err on the side of caution and bring a fourth netminder. It may just depend on what other personnel the team may want to bring and if there is space in the 50-person limit for a fourth goalie.

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What Roger Goodell said about death of George Floyd, protests

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What Roger Goodell said about death of George Floyd, protests

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent condolences to the family of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis by a police officer and said that there is much more work to be done in the NFL and our communities in a statement issued Saturday.

His statement: 

"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

Goodell's statement came a day after an op-ed was published by former NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart calling for an NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who lost his spot in the league after kneeling in protest of police brutality and inequality in America. Many, including LeBron James, have cited Kaepernick's message - and the consequences he suffered for delivering it - throughout the unrest and response to Floyd's death.

"Do you understand NOW!!??!!??" James wrote on Instagram with a side by side photo of Kaepernick kneeling during a game and a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck. "Or is it still blurred to you??"

In a statement to Pro Football Talk in response to Lockhart's article, current NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that Kaepernick is a free agent. “Clubs may sign him if they choose to do so," he said.

McCarthy also pointed to the work that the league has done with its Inspire Change social justice initiative, which has included millions in grants to non-profits around the country.