Capitals

Rubio's return sparks Wolves to win over Mavericks

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Rubio's return sparks Wolves to win over Mavericks

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) It's as if Ricky Rubio never left.

Zipping passes between his legs for the first time in nine months, Rubio had nine assists and eight points in 19 minutes to help the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 114-106 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Andrei Kirilenko scored five of his 14 points in overtime while Rubio watched from the bench because of a minutes restriction on his surgically repaired left knee.

Nikola Pekovic scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, who won their fourth straight game despite playing without All-Star Kevin Love because of an illness.

O.J. Mayo had 20 points, six assists and five rebounds and Shawn Marion had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who led by 13 early before Rubio came off the bench for the first time since he tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in March.

Alexey Shved had 18 points and six assists and the Wolves scored the first 10 points in overtime to send an amped crowd home happy.

Derek Fisher scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who turned the ball over 20 times. They led 98-96 after Fisher's four-point play with 2:50 to go.

Rubio fed Kirilenko for two free throws, then dived on the floor for a loose ball and later knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 100. But he missed an open 3-pointer with a few seconds remaining that would have won the game in regulation.

No matter. Kirilenko hit two free throws, scored a three-point play and Pekovic finished the Mavs off with a three-point play of his own.

More than 18,000 packed into Target Center in anticipation of Rubio's return and erupted at the mere sight of his face on the video board during pregame festivities. He received a standing ovation when he got off the bench to enter the game for the first time with 1:47 to go in the first quarter.

The Wolves were down 28-18 at that point and badly in need of a boost.

With chants of ``Ole! Ole ole ole!'' serving as the backdrop, the flash that had been absent for nine long months came quickly.

In his fourth minute of game time, Rubio put his back to the basket on the left wing, then bounced a pass between his legs that zipped right past Mavericks forward Elton Brand's legs as well to an open Greg Stiemsma for a layup that sent the Target Center crowd into a frenzy.

This is what they've been waiting for. Sure, they've been impressed with how the Wolves have navigated injuries to Rubio, Love, Brandon Roy to win 11 of their first 20 games. But the team was 18th in the league in attendance coming into the night.

Rubio had four points, four assists and a steal in his first eight-minute shift, and the Wolves shifted into overdrive with Rubio's foot never letting off the gas. Even when he went to the bench, the Wolves closed the period on a 12-3 run.

The Mavericks can only hope that the return of their star has the same effect. Dirk Nowitzki hasn't played this season after having surgery on his right knee. There is still no timetable for his return.

NOTES: A bit of a skirmish broke out in the second quarter after Stiemsma leveled Fisher with a screen in the backcourt. Fisher took exception, feeling that Stiemsma put too much oomph into it and had to be held back by teammates. ... Derrick Williams had 16 points and six rebounds for Minnesota.

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Derrius Guice's representation has released a statement that says the Washington Football Team running back "adamantly denies" the charges that he was arrested for on Friday

Guice turned himself into the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office facing one count of strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count destruction of property.

The following statement from Peter Greenspun was obtained by Ben Standig of The Athletic. 

"Mr. Guice will not be commenting on these charges, which he adamantly denies. We ask that the media respect Mr. Guice's privacy," the statement read. 

"Unfortunately, the investigators did not seek a statement or any input for Derrius before the warrants were issued. The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago is inexplicable."

Greenspun, who has a historic career and most notably was a defense attorney in the 'D.C. Sniper trial,' called the charges of his client "unsubstantiated." He also called out the football franchise for releasing Guice prematurely without inquiring about the investigation. 

"... a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process," the statement concluded.

The Washington Football Team released Guice less than an hour after his arrest became public. The move came through as a part of the culture Ron Rivera has vowed to instill during his first few months as head coach. This is also not the first time Guice has faced issues for off-the-field behavior. He fell to the team back in the 2018 draft due to issues he had while with LSU.

In his short tenure, Rivera has dealt with a tumultuous series of issues arising from the franchise including current and former players facing other serious allegations, a monumental name change, and serious allegations of the culture within the team's executives.

Despite injuries mounting in two years for the 23-year-old back, it was expected that Guice would become the leading rusher in the backfield this season. Still, he had yet to prove to be a consistent contributor with only 42 carries for 245 yards and two touchdowns entering his third season.

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