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Newton leads Panthers over Raiders 17-6

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Newton leads Panthers over Raiders 17-6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cam Newton is looking ahead.

Forget that this is another lost season. The dynamic quarterback believes the Panthers can build on the success of having won four of their last five games.

``It's just something for the team's psyche,'' Newton said after a 17-6 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. ``People ask, what are we playing for this year? It's a respect thing. It's pride. Every single person that's on this roster can say I'm not a quitter. I'm finishing and I'm setting up for something.

``We know what kind of team we are overall, as a whole and we're playing for hope,'' he added. ``Is it too late? Some may say that, but I'm a part of a lot of teammates that aren't quitters and I'm proud to say that.''

Of course, the Panthers won four of their last six last season and stumbled out of the gates this year amid high expectations in his second season at the helm.

Newton apologized after the win Sunday. It had nothing to do with his performance on the field, but rather what he said when he angrily confronted referee Jerome Boger and drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter.

``The words that I said during the game were very disrespectful and I apologized to him during the game, but I'm going public and apologizing again,'' Newton said. ``It was something in the heat of the moment.''

The second-year quarterback made up for it by throwing for 171 yards and a touchdown and running for 60 yards and another score.

Newton's frustration stemmed from a heated game featuring several shoving matches, plenty of verbal exchanges and six unnecessary roughness penalties - including one that sidelined Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer in the first quarter for the rest of the day.

Newton took exception with what he felt was a late hit by Raiders safety Mike Mitchell with Carolina up 14-6.

``During the heat of the moment I felt as if he finished the hit and I had already thrown the ball,'' Newton said. ``I felt like after he threw it he still finished and drove me into the ground. With the referee right there I questioned his decision not to throw the flag on him.''

Boger said after the game he penalized Newton for ``disrespectfully addressing an official'' and that he ``misspoke'' when he announced that Newton was flagged for bumping an official.

Boger said he didn't feel the bump was enough to warrant an ejection.

``It wasn't of a malicious nature,'' Boger said.

Said Newton: ``I have to learn to control what I can control.''

Panthers coach Ron Rivera Newton said he told Newton he has to learn to keep his emotions in check, although he added ``he knows that. He's an emotional guy and he wants to win in a bad way.''

Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly admitted the Raiders were going after Newton following Greg Hardy's hard hit to Palmer's back that sidelined their starting quarterback.

``You take our guy out, we're going to go and try to take your guy out,'' Kelly said. ``We're not out to hurt someone, but when that happens ...''

Coach Dennis Allen said Palmer was taken to the hospital after the game, but X-rays on his ribs were negative.

Earlier in the game Newton appeared to kick Kelly as he got up from being sacked. Kelly was penalized for unnecessary roughness when he pushed back after the play.

``He kicked me,'' Kelly said. ``I guess he thought I was trying to do something to his leg, but I don't play like that. How are you going to react if someone kicks you? Are you just going to take it?''

With Palmer out, the Raiders' offense was rendered ineffective.

Carolina's defense limited the Raiders to 189 total yards and 12 first downs.

Newton and the Panthers built a 14-3 lead at halftime then let linebacker Luke Kuechly and the defense do the rest.

Palmer's replacement, Matt Leinart, managed only 115 yards passing in three-plus quarters and was intercepted once by Kuechly, setting up Carolina's second touchdown of the game.

``That's his first extended action in a regular-season game in a long time, so I'm sure there was a little bit of rust there,'' Allen said of Leinart. ``But, at the end of the day, when you lose your starting quarterback, there are a lot of other guys who have got to step up, and we didn't have enough guys that make enough plays for us offensively.''

Newton accounted for 231 of the 271 yards for the Panthers, who have won four of their last five games under Rivera. It's unclear if that will be enough to save his job.

Rivera is 12-19 in two years as Carolina's coach.

The Raiders (4-11), losers of seven of eight, were held to 47 yards rushing on 22 carries. Their longest play was a 22-yard reception by third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor on a trick play.

After being penalized for holding on the game's opening drive nullifying a 76-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams, Panthers receiver Steve Smith hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Newton on Carolina's second possession.

Newton added a 3-yard run to make it 14-3 before halftime.

Palmer left late in the first quarter.

After being flushed from the pocket, Palmer set up to throw when Hardy came barreling into him from behind and delivered a vicious blow to the middle of his back. Hardy was flagged for unnecessary roughness and the Raiders received an automatic first down, but was lost Palmer for the day.

NOTES: Kuechly finished with a game-high 13 tackles for the Panthers. At one point he had six tackles in seven plays after he got fired up when officials flagged him for hitting a defenseless receiver. ... The Raiders were held to 47 yards rushing. ... The Panthers have now equaled last year's win total.

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The Caps' Cup-winning roster is a lesson in building through the draft

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USA TODAY Sports

The Caps' Cup-winning roster is a lesson in building through the draft

Every year, the Stanley Cup-winning team shows the importance of building through the draft. This year, that team is the Washington Capitals.

With the NHL Draft starting on Friday, let’s break down the Capitals roster from the playoffs to see just how it was put together.

Acquired by the draft: Nicklas Backstrom, Madison Bowey, Travis Boy, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Shane Gersich, Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Tom Wilson

Acquired as a free agent: Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson, Brett Connolly, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Devante Smith-Pelly

Acquired by trade: Lars Eller, Jakub Jerabek, Michal Kempny, T.J. Oshie

The first thing to note is that the vast majority of Washington’s roster is made up of draft picks. Specifically, the majority of the Caps’ top six on offense, three of its top six defensemen and both goalies were drafted by the team.

Of the free agent signings, only two were big money players in Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. In 2014, defense was a major question mark for the Caps and Brian MacLellan made a splash as the new general manager by signing both blue liners to big deals. The majority of the signings, however, are cheap, low risk and high reward players.

Finally, the trades include players who filled obvious needs. The Caps needed Oshie to shore up the top six, Eller was brought in to be the third line center, Kempny stepped in as a top-four defenseman and Jerabek was brought in for defensive depth.

So what does this show us?

First, the draft is absolutely critical to building a team’s core. True superstar players are hard to come by. Once a team gets one, they do everything they can to keep them. The draft is a team's first opportunity to acquire a certain player and, if they have superstar potential, sign them long-term. John Tavares this season looks headed to free agency and the buzz around him stems from the fact that he is very much the exception, not the rule. The base of the Caps’ Stanley Cup team was built by drafting star players like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Carlson, Holtby, etc.

This also shows the importance of the draft for depth. In the salary cap era, teams need to find enough cap room for their stars and their depth players. Having young players is absolutely critical because their low cap hit allows for the team to sign the expensive stars and make the important addition in free agency  or by trade. This is a formula that only works if those young players are productive as well.

Players like Vrana and Burakovsky, for example, played big roles in the playoff run, but also carried low cap hits.

So the Caps built a core through the draft and filled key roles with trades and mostly cheap free agent signings.

There is no formula for how to win a Stanley Cup, if there was everyone would do it, but this is about as close as you can come to one. A team has to draft very well and then build around those draft picks to be successful. You cannot hope to build simply through trades and free agency because of the cost. Trades always require sending an asset the other way and very often that asset turns out to be prospects or draft picks. Free agency, meanwhile, requires team overpay for top targets leading to serious cap trouble down the line.

There are always trades and free agent signings that prove to be important, but those are only pieces to a much large puzzle. To win a Stanley Cup, you have to build through the draft.

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2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Draft: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday night as the newest wave of potential superstars like DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mo Bamba and Luka Doncic enter the league. Here is everything you need to know for the big night...

2018 NBA DRAFT

When: 7 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
TV: ESPN
Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Radio: ESPN

Wizards draft picks: 15th overall in the first round, 44th overall in the second round

First round order:

1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Los Angeles Clippers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
15. Washington Wizards
16. Phoenix Suns
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. San Antonio Spurs
19. Atlanta Hawks
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. Utah Jazz
22. Chicago Bulls
23. Indiana Pacers
24.Portland Trail Blazers
25. Los Angeles Lakers
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Boston Celtics
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Brooklyn Nets
30. Atlanta Hawks

Top prospects:

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Marvin Bagley III, Duke
3. Luka Doncic, Slovenia
4. Jaren Jackson, Jr., Michigan State
5. Mo Bamba, Texas
6. Michael Porter, Jr., Missouri
7. Wendell Carter, Duke
8. Trae Young, Oklahoma
9. Collin Sexton, Alabama
10. Kevin Knox, Kentucky

Three things to watch...

Will Leonard get traded?

Last year's draft featured some big trades including Jimmy Butler going to the Timberwolves. This year, there seems to be at least a decent chance it happens with Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. He wants a trade and they have been meeting with him in recent days, perhaps for a last-ditch pitch to remain with the team. If he gets dealt on draft night, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

Who will the Kings pick?

A consensus has built for Ayton to go No. 1 to the Suns. After that, it's a major crapshoot and whomever the Kings select will produce a domino effect from there on down. Will they take Bagley, the safe pick, or go a riskier route with Doncic or maybe even Porter, Jr.? The best bet at this point appears to be Bagley, but nobody truly knows.

Where will Young and Porter, Jr. go?

The two most interesting prospects in this draft are Young and Porter, Jr. Young was a sensation in college basketball, but is undersized and appears to be boom-or-bust. He could flame out quickly at the next level or be some iteration of the next Stephen Curry. Porter, Jr. played only three games in college due to a back injury and now has hip issues as well. His talent is undeniable, but his injury history represents significant risk.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our preview special episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast: