Nationals

Pierce leads Celtics to 99-81 win over Kings

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Pierce leads Celtics to 99-81 win over Kings

BOSTON (AP) Paul Pierce scored 16 points and the Boston Celtics won their second game since losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a knee injury, beating the Sacramento Kings 99-81 on Wednesday night.

The Celtics charged to a 59-38 halftime lead as they hit 62.5 percent of their shots. They led by at least 14 points the rest of the way against the team that allowed an NBA-worst average of 103.2 points going into the game.

Boston won despite losing another starter when forward Jared Sullinger left just over four minutes into the game with back spasms and didn't return. Sullinger was drafted 21st last year by the Celtics, but might have gone higher if he hadn't suffered back problems at Ohio State.

Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins scored 13 for the Kings, who had beaten the Celtics 118-96 in Sacramento on Dec. 30 but fell to 5-18 on the road.

The Celtics trailed only once, 24-22 after one quarter and led by 21 at halftime. They were on top 80-56 before layups by Thomas Robinson and Evans cut that to 80-60 after three quarters. A three-point play by Cousins made it 90-76 with 5:44 remaining, but the Kings came no closer.

Courtney Lee started in place of Rondo, who leads the NBA assists and was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game next month in Houston.

Rondo was injured late in a 123-112, double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks last Friday night. Boston won another double-overtime game on Sunday, 100-98 over the Miami Heat, breaking a six-game losing streak, their longest in six seasons. An MRI taken that day showed that Rondo had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

On Wednesday, Kevin Garnett scored 13 points and substitutes Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Jason Terry had 12 each for Boston.

A driving dunk by Evans had given the Kings their only lead with 15.9 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Then the Celtics hit their first 14 shots of the second. By the time Avery Bradley missed, a layup with 2:29 left in the half, the Celtics had built a 54-36 lead.

They outscored the Kings 37-14 in the second period. Boston's dominance was so thorough that its bench made 15 of 21 shots in the first half while Sacramento's entire team went just 14 for 40.

Boston had an impressive 16 assists in the first half, even without Rondo. Garnett scored 11 points and Green had 10 as each hit all five of his shots before intermission.

Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas missed all seven of his shots in the first half two nights after his floating basket with one second left ended the Kings' four-game losing streak with a 96-94 win over the Washington Wizards.

Notes: The Celtics have two games left in their four-game homestand, against the Orlando Magic on Friday night and the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. ... Garnett played in his 1,300th NBA game. ... The Kings had just 13 assists.

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Nationals’ statement: ‘We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example’

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Nationals’ statement: ‘We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example’

The Washington Nationals issued a statement on social media at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday while their hometown streets of Washington were marched through by protesters and closed off by various law enforcement agencies.

“The Lerner Family and the entire Washington Nationals Organization join the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group in the following statement:

“On behalf of the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group, the minority owners of color of the team, we hope for unity and solidarity of our fans, supporters and the DC Metropolitan community at this time. For generations the game of baseball has brought together men, women and children of all backgrounds, ethnicities and races, including men and women in uniform of every kind. Last year we stood side by side to witness and celebrate a success of ethnic harmony and resolve like no other. The 2019 World Series victory was a living example of cultural diversity blending to support a united goal not just as a team, but as a family.

As a pillar of the DC community, we see it as essential to build opportunities and offer mentorship programs that serve the next generation, as we have done since 2007 through the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and Nationals Philanthropies. It is our goal to teach our children the virtues of respect and treating others with decency, humility and kindness. These important values find their way into every home, including ours. And let us emphasize above all that we do not support brutality or intolerance of any kind.

“On behalf of the Founding Partners Group and our families, we wish for everyone’s safety in the DC Metropolitan community, our nation and beyond. We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example and commit to playing a meaningful role in shaping a vision and future for our youth, regardless of their race, that unifies and celebrates all of us.”

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers has spurred protests in cities across the country -- including the nation’s capital -- for a fifth consecutive night. Individual athletes have used their voices amid the countrywide turmoil and many organizations in turn have decided to issue statements on the current climate in the United States. The Nationals joined them late Tuesday.

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Capitals' John Carlson shares message of support for protesters, commits to being part of solution

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Capitals' John Carlson shares message of support for protesters, commits to being part of solution

John Carlson took to Instagram on Tuesday to voice his support for those protesting and the Black Lives Matter movement, as America comes to grips with civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

"#BlackLivesMatter. Like many, I grieve the senseless murder of George Floyd and countless other black Americans. The racism that plagues our country is unacceptable. While as a white man I have not experienced racism and its anguish firsthand, I stand in support of those who have and acknowledge the need to deeply transform as a country," his Instagram post read.

Carlson's message also included a call to action for his followers, encouraging everyone to become a part of the solution. Understanding the platform he has as an athlete, he did not want his voice to go unheard.

"We have to do better to eliminate all forms of racism and inspire positive, permanent change. I have always believed that actions speak louder than words, but I felt it was necessary and important to add my voice to help advance things in any way I can. I am committed to using my position to learn, listen and be a part of the solution."

Carlson joins those in the Capitals community such as Alex Ovechkin and the Holtby family, as well as numerous other figures and teams in the sports world, in voicing support. 

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