Capitals

Sessions scores 21 as Bobcats beat Wizards 92-76

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Sessions scores 21 as Bobcats beat Wizards 92-76

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Reserve Ramon Sessions scored 21 points and the Charlotte Bobcats beat the winless Washington Wizards 92-76 Tuesday night to win back-to-back games for the first time since last December.

With Ben Gordon out due to a family emergency, Sessions picked up the slack and provided a much-needed boost for the Bobcats.

Coming off a career-high 25 points against Dallas on Saturday night, rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was strong again, chipping in with 15 points and eight rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter to ice down a sore back. Kemba Walker battled inconsistent shooting but finished with 17 points for the Bobcats (3-3).

It marked the first time the Bobcats have won two straight since taking the final game of the 2010-11 season and the first of last season.

Trevor Ariza scored 19 points for the Wizards, who fell to 0-6. He was the only Washington player to finish in double digits in scoring.

The Bobcats (3-3) limited the Wizards to 29.8 percent shooting and outscored them 46-24 in the paint.

Washington, still playing without John Wall and Nene, could never get closer than seven points in the second half after trailing by 13 at halftime. The Wizards connected on just 5 of 31 3-point attempts and had no flow on offense.

The Bobcats took a 52-39 lead into halftime after outscoring the Wizards 30-12 in the paint.

Most of those came on drives by Kidd-Gilchrist and Sessions.

Kidd-Gilchrist picked up where he left off Saturday night, driving aggressively to the hole. The No. 2 pick in the draft had 12 points at halftime on 5-of-8 shooting to go with five rebounds. Sessions had 11 points at the break.

It helped that the Wizards struggled from the field, shooting just 34 percent in the first half.

Charlotte's aggressive defense gave the Wizards fits. Washington turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 19 Bobcats points.

Charlotte also dominated inside as Brendan Haywood had a solid eight points and 11 rebounds, while reserve Tyrus Thomas chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.

The Bobcats won just seven games all of last season. It took them 13 games to win three games last season but they went on to lose 16 straight after that as the season turned sour in a hurry.

This year's Bobcats are playing with hustle and appeared more confident after beating Dallas on Saturday night, snapping a 16-game losing streak against the Mavericks.

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."

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