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Seahawks can't afford drops in rematch with 49ers

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Seahawks can't afford drops in rematch with 49ers

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Drops.

A problem that plagued Seattle's wide receivers in the past hasn't been an issue for most of this season. The one time it became a problem was in the Seahawks' first meeting against the San Francisco 49ers in October. The two teams play again Sunday night in Seattle in a key NFC game.

According to STATS LLC, the Seahawks have the fifth-fewest drops in the league this season. Through 14 games Seattle has just 19 drops. The San Diego Chargers have the fewest with 15. Last year, the Seahawks were tied for 14th with 27 drops on the season.

Golden Tate was targeted three times against the 49ers and didn't make a catch. It was the only game this season when he didn't have a reception. Both of Tate's drops this season came against San Francisco. With Seattle holding a 6-3 lead, Tate bobbled a third-down pass that would have kept the chains moving into San Francisco territory early in the third quarter.

Backup running back Robert Turbin broke free behind the 49ers' defense in the first quarter for what would have been a big gain and possibly a touchdown. But the pass slid through his fingers.

In a game decided by just a touchdown, the missed chances proved costly for the Seahawks. If Seattle wants to end the 49ers' four-game winning streak in the series, it can't make the same mistakes this Sunday.

Tate said going catch-less in the loss to the 49ers left a bad taste.

``For me it was tough. The last time we played them was a Thursday night game, so we had the whole weekend to think about it. Had a little time off, so it was frustrating to think about it. I was ready to get that one out of my system for the next week,'' Tate said.

``I want to be a player that we count on - a consistent player more importantly. Really I've just been trying to be consistent. That game I showed inconsistency.''

Quarterback Russell Wilson wasn't fazed and never showed outward frustration over the inability of his receivers to hang on to the football.

``He's not going after anybody, he's not going to get bothered by it, and he's just going to go to the next play,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ``He really believes that something is going to happen there. It's easy for him in essence because his mindset is so strong, so that doesn't affect him at all.''

Wilson was just 9 of 23 for 122 yards and an interception against the 49ers. His 38.7 passer rating against San Francisco is his lowest mark this season. Yet Wilson doesn't see the point of dwelling on a missed opportunity.

``There's times where you're like, `Oh man I wish he caught it' ... You have emotions but the key is staying even-keeled as possible, I think,'' Wilson said.

``I let the receivers know I'm coming right back to them. You don't think that they're not going to catch the next one, so you've got to keep playing.''

Seattle's offense has greatly improved since the initial meeting in October. Wilson has a passer rating of 111.3 over the seven games following the loss to the 49ers, throwing 13 touchdown passes and just two interceptions while Seattle has gone 5-2.

With the Seahawks able to clinch a playoff berth with a win, they are looking forward to judging how far they've come in the last seven weeks. For Tate, it's a chance to finally wash the bad taste from his mouth.

``We didn't play our best game the last time we played them, so to get another chance in such a crucial moment of the season is going to show everyone everything they want to know,'' Tate said. ``We're definitely excited about it.''

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Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

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USA Today Sports

Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

So close yet so far.

The Washington Wizards fell just one pick short of selecting once-coveted top prospect Michael Porter Jr., who almost fell outside of the lottery in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

But the Denver Nuggets selected the forward with the No. 14 pick.

A back injury led to widespread concern throughout NBA front offices and, as a result, Porter Jr. had the draft’s biggest slide.

In his first game for Missouri, Porter Jr. left two minutes in with injury. He underwent back surgery and would return for the last two games of the season: an SEC tournament loss to Georgia and a first-round exit to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

During the loss to FSU, Porter Jr. shot 4-of-12 with 16 points and 10 rebounds over 28 minutes. The 6-10 forward added three steals in the 67-54 loss.

Porter Jr. finished his freshman season averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds over just 17.7 minutes per game. He shot just 35 percent from the field.

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Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

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Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

The Wizards may have filled several needs in one pick by selecting Oregon's Troy Brown 15th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Brown, just 18 years old, plays both shooting guard and small forward. The Wizards need depth at both positions and Brown could give them insurance for Kelly Oubre, Jr., who is set to be a free agent after next season.

He also helps shore up shooting guard behind Bradley Beal. That will be extra important early in the 2018-19 season as Jodie Meeks is due to miss 19 games while serving a suspension.

Here's what you need to know about Brown...

Weight: 208
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: 33
2017/18 stats: 11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 29.1 3PT%, 74.3 FT%

*Brown was a one-and-done player at Oregon who in his one NCAA season showed that he can do a lot of thing on the court. He played some at shooting guard, some at small forward and says he's comfortable at point guard as well, having played there plenty in the past. Brown could be a perfect for positionless basketball.

*He is an excellent rebounder for his position. Brown pulled in 6.2 boards per game and five times had 10 or more. One of those games, on Dec. 13 against Portland State, showed well how many ways Brown can affect a game. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, a block and a steal. Brown is also an adept passer. He prides himself on being able to set others up and has a knack for threading the needle in passing lanes.

*The biggest question for Brown is his shooting. He shot just 29.1 percent from the perimeter and 44.4 percent from the field. After his predraft workout with the Wizards, Brown blamed his percentage on shot selection. He is confident he can be a better shooter as his career goes on.

*Brown had a solid combine, measuring in over 6-foot-7 in shoes and with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. But his 33-inch max vertical leap was not great. Perhaps that will improve with time and through strength training.

*Brown's parents and sister were all college athletes and both of his parents were Nevada state correction officers. That latter fact may be the reason why Brown is mature beyond his years. Though he's 18 years old, he carries himself and handles the media as if he's a longtime NBA veteran.

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