Capitals

Slumping Raptors down to 8 healthy players vs Nets

Slumping Raptors down to 8 healthy players vs Nets

TORONTO (AP) Five players injured and one suspended. A horrendous road trip with five straight losses. Fourteenth place in the Eastern Conference.

That describes the Toronto Raptors, who are 4-18 before facing the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

``We've got bad luck everywhere,'' leading scorer DeMar DeRozan said.

For Raptors coach Dwane Casey, the advice to his players is simple.

``This is when you have to pull your pants up - I think I heard the term `big boy pants' - and be ready to play,'' Casey said during the shootaround. ``That's where I am. I'm a fighter. I'm a scrapper. I'm still with this team. We're working hard ... I'm not shying away from this challenge and this opportunity.''

An injury-depleted roster hasn't helped matters. Casey's injured list includes Andrea Bargnani, Kyle Lowry, Linas Kleiza, Alan Anderson and Landry Fields. Amir Johnson was suspended for the Brooklyn game after throwing his mouthpiece at an official during Monday's loss in Portland.

Bargnani and Lowry are second and third on the team in scoring, averaging a combined 31.8 points.

Casey, who believes his team is probably three to five wins better than the standings show, says coaches and players have to endure the attention and speculation that accompany such a slide.

``We live in a glass bowl. I live in a glass bowl. That's part of the territory when we sign up,'' he said. ``So we're all men.

``And I've explained that to players. You've got to perform - trade rumors, firing, whatever it is - we all have to perform. We have a job to do. And we can't go in a shell and say `Please go away, please go away.'''

General manager Bryan Colangelo spoke out during the recent road trip, calling the team's play unacceptable, disappointing and embarrassing. Rather than the talent level, he pointed to ``lack of focus, attention to detail, consistency of competing.''

Players and coaches met after a loss in Utah for some soul-searching. The Raptors promptly lost games in Portland and Los Angeles, against the Clippers.

``I think Bryan was trying to light a fire under the players, saying there's lack of focus, that we had talent,'' Casey said. ``We do have talent. We have young talent that can compete in this league - or growing talent. I think there's a lot of room for improvement with the talent we have and I think that's what he's trying to say is `Look, we're good enough. We're good enough to compete with these guys.'''

Defense has been among the major issues.

Entering the Brooklyn game, the Raptors ranked 30th - last - in the league in point differential at minus 7.45. Toronto was 27th in points conceded at 103 and 27th in rebounding by opponents.

``I thought we made progress last year defensively and we've taken a step back,'' Casey said. ``We've taken a step back to go forward. But are we giving up on that progress? I'm not.''

After playing 15 of its 22 games away from home, Toronto hosts 11 of its next 15 at the Air Canada Centre. But Casey was quick to note that home court isn't a cure-all.

``There's an old saying: `Home will take care of you, but you've got to take care of home,''' he said. ``You don't want to be comfortable at home either because that's when you get in trouble. We're going to have challenges wherever we play as a team.''

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Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

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Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

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