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Rested off bye, Dolphins look toward Jets

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Rested off bye, Dolphins look toward Jets

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Just about every member of the Miami Dolphins had a different bye-week itinerary.

Richie Incognito went to the beach and did little else. Brian Hartline watched Ohio State. Paul Soliai walked in a 5-kilometer race for breast cancer awareness and tried to avoid even thinking about football. Lamar Miller tailgated at the Miami-Florida State game. Cameron Wake attempted, somewhat unsuccessfully, to ignore his alarm clock.

``Then you start getting that itch,'' Wake said.

And there's nothing like a matchup with the New York Jets to snap the Dolphins out of vacation mode.

Three days off was enough for the Dolphins, who returned to work on Monday officially mediocre in terms of record yet with the knowledge that if the season was now complete, they would be in the AFC playoffs. Granted, there's still a ton of football left to play, but for a team that didn't exactly deal with the highest of preseason expectations, there's reason for moods to be pleasant these days.

``One thing I said to the team today, part one of the statement was, `Progress has been made. There's no doubt about it,''' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. ``Part two of the statement was, `There's a heck of a lot of work still left to be done.' I see us playing better football than we were earlier in the season, no question. But we're still not where we need to be.''

The Dolphins (3-3) visit the Jets (3-4) on Sunday.

``Looking forward to going to their stadium and being a different team than we were three or four weeks ago,'' Hartline said.

Of the 16 teams in the AFC, nine are either 3-3 or 3-4 - New England, at a surprising-for-the-Patriots 4-3, not only leads the AFC East but has the third-best record in the conference. One win can help a team escape the pack right now, one loss can send a team spiraling toward the bottom of the pack, and division games seem even more important than usual with so many teams off to similar starts.

``We can't predict what's going to happen later on down the road,'' Soliai said. ``We've just got to focus on this game.''

That doesn't figure to be a problem - especially with it being Jets Week.

The Jets have already won in Miami this season, a 23-20 overtime victory on Sept. 23 in a game where Dan Carpenter missed two field goals and the Dolphins lost both a 10-0 lead and running back Reggie Bush.

If Miami had won that game, the Dolphins would be 4-2 and currently atop the division.

``We've got to do something this week, you know, that we haven't done since I've been here and that's sweep Miami,'' Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday. ``So that's got to be it. That's the only thing that's got to be on our mind.''

One clear advantage of having the bye week: The Dolphins got to look ahead on Monday, while the Jets certainly spent at least some of the day looking back and lamenting their 29-26 overtime loss at New England on Sunday.

``It does feel good to get away from it,'' Wake said. ``But at the same time, it's such a great feeling being back. And of course, you couldn't ask for more than Jets Week.''

Miami spent a few days last week working on some parts of the Jets game plan, then took a long weekend and practiced again Monday with the Jets in mind.

The Dolphins will be off Tuesday, the NFL's traditional rest day, before resuming game week per usual on Wednesday.

``Sometimes, historically, off a bye week your volume of your game plan is too big because you think, `Well, we've got an extra practice day and extra time to study these guys,''' Philbin said. ``Sometimes that's not always the best recipe. So we've been keeping a lid on it. We don't want to have our volume go way up in any phase, even though we may have, quote, an extra practice. I don't think the game's going to be won by brilliance in the coaching room.''

Notes: Rookie running back Jonas Gray returned to practice, but remains on the Dolphins' reserve/non-football-injury list. ``We've got a 21-day window to look at him and see what he does,'' Philbin said. ... Each of Miami's last four games have been decided by four points or less.

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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