Nationals

Nuggets send Bobcats to 15th straight loss

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Nuggets send Bobcats to 15th straight loss

DENVER (AP) Kosta Koufos scored a season-high 16 points, and Kenneth Faried and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece as the Denver Nuggets beat Charlotte 110-88 and sent the Bobcats to their 15th consecutive loss on Saturday night.

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. Henderson sustained a bruised shin during the second half of a 115-100 loss at Golden State on Friday. Gordon missed a second consecutive game because of soreness in his right knee.

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

Denver lost guard Ty Lawson to a left Achilles strain during the second quarter. He was held out the rest of the game for precautionary reasons, the team said.

The Nuggets, who missed an NBA-record 22 3-point attempts in Thursday night's 101-93 loss at Portland, missed their first six against the Bobcats. Jordan Hamilton finally found the range to give the Nuggets a 40-31 lead with 8:02 left in the second quarter.

That seemed to break the Nuggets' long-distance cold spell, complementing a sizzling inside game that saw Denver earn 36 assists and score 78 points in the paint, both season highs.

After a driving layup by Sessions pulled the Bobcats to within 44-39, the Nuggets went on a 15-3 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala. That stretched Denver's lead to 59-44 with 45.2 seconds left in the second quarter.

Gallinari hit another 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to put Denver in front 64-46, the Nuggets' biggest lead to that point.

By the end of the third quarter, the Nuggets stretched their advantage to 88-65 following a tip shot by McGee, who finished with 14 points. Denver began substituting freely the rest of the way, and the undermanned Bobcats didn't threaten.

NOTES: Charlotte hasn't won since Nov. 24, a 108-106 victory at Washington in double overtime. ... Since the 2009-10 season, visiting NBA teams are 7-39 when playing the second of a back-to-back set in Denver. ... The Nuggets have scored at least 60 points in the paint eight times this season.

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Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Back before all this mania, Miami, as putrid as its season would be, loomed as a factor.

Handling the Marlins would be key for any contender. It wasn’t a question of winning, but of how much winning would occur against one of the league’s worst teams.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win in a sparsely attended Marlins Park, the Nationals moved to 14-3 against Miami this season. They are 16 games over. 500 for the year. They are plus-11 against Miami alone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered again, Trea Turner hit two homers, and Daniel Hudson pitched two innings to earn the save. So, the Nationals, 84-68, hold a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot. Milwaukee won again, joining a long list of teams to beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates since the post-All-Star-break portion of the schedule began. Pittsburgh may be the league’s worst team, at the moment, and the Brewers host it for two more this weekend.

Trouble is brewing for Chicago. It lost again to St. Louis -- this time a 2-1 mid-day defeat in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost four in a row. They are three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Brewers. Their path to 90 wins, which may ultimately be the threshold for postseason entrance, is narrowing.

The Mets won their third consecutive game. They are hanging around, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers with nine remaining on the schedule. Their wild-card elimination number is six.

News for Philadelphia is more dire. The Phillies dropped to 78-74 Friday night following a 5-2 loss in Cleveland. They are now five behind Milwaukee. Their wild-card elimination number is a mere five. 

Which brings us to the more detailed math portion of this program. Here are the postseason chances for each team, according to fivethirtyeight.com:

Nationals, 96 percent

Brewers, 84 percent

Cubs, 15 percent

Mets, 5 percent

Phillies, less than one percent

Coming up Saturday:

St. Louis at Chicago, 2:20 p.m., Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Quintana (13-8, 4.37)

New York at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m., Wheeler (11-7, 4.09) vs. DeSclafani (9-9, 3.93)

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87)

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m., Vargas (6-8, 4.48) vs. Plesac (8-6, 3.64)

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m., Marvel (0-2, 9.00) vs. Davies (10-7, 3.70)

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Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

  1. SportsBusiness Journal lauds corporate social responsibility. Amidst a recent roundup of sports CSR initiatives, SportsBusiness Journal noted that the first project on which educational platform developer EverFi collaborated with a sports property was “a financial literacy program that regional bank BBVA offered for use by elementary school students in a handful of NBA markets, including Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix.” When Houston hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2013, league sponsor BBVA arranged for Rockets star James Harden to appear at a participating school. “While it’s cool to have a BBVA banker come into the classroom, it’s even cooler if James Harden shows up,” said Jon Chapman, co-founder and president of global partnerships for EverFi, which has developed online educational modules on topics ranging from financial literacy to STEM to anti-bullying, branded for presentation by teams, leagues, and sponsors. After Houston, EverFi developed educational modules for the NHL and NHLPA around science, technology, engineering and math; for the NFL and the United Way around character development and African American history; for MLB focusing on learning loss during summer vacation; and with MLS around anti-bullying. We look forward to celebrating a Sport Business Handbook event with EverFi at their Washington, DC headquarters on October 2
  2. The National Lacrosse League announces details for the 2019-2020 season, which include divisional realignment, playoff format and schedule type after the addition of two expansion teams and new market Halifax. The league will feature 13 teams in the upcoming season after fielding 11 last year. To accommodate the addition of expansion teams, the New York Riptide, Rochester Knighthawks, and new market Halifax Thunderbirds, as well as maintaining an eye towards continued expansion, the NLL will shift to a three-division format in 2019-2020. “The league has had unprecedented expansion over the last three years. With two more teams coming in this year along with a new market in Halifax, we felt the need to reexamine conference alignments, schedule and playoff formats to prepare for future expansion. We also wanted to create exciting rivalries for the fans, the best travel scenarios for teams and players and competitive match-ups for our 13 franchises,“ said NLL Commissioner and Sport Business Handbook contributor Nick Sakiewicz. Along with unprecedented expansion, the NLL is clearly looking at unprecedented success.
  3. Cal Ripken, Jr.’s celebrity golf tournament draws in legendary athletes across major U.S. sports leagues. According to the Patriot News, the event, featuring such legends as Julius Erving, Lawrence Taylor, Ozzie Smith, and Jim McMahon, was held to benefit the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The inaugural golf outing was held in 2011, and since then, the event has raised several million dollars for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The principal goals of the foundation are to utilize baseball- and softball-themed programs in an effort to build character and teach life lessons to underprivileged children. Founded in 2001, the Foundation has served kids in all 50 states and in other countries such as Canada and Nicaragua. With over 20 Hall of Famers across the NFL and MLB, the event has an impressive amount of star power to help draw attention to giving back to those less privileged through baseball and softball.