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Smith's baseline jumper at buzzer beats Suns 99-97

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Smith's baseline jumper at buzzer beats Suns 99-97

PHOENIX (AP) J.R. Smith sank a baseline 21-footer at the buzzer after a Phoenix turnover with a second to play, giving the depleted New York Knicks a 99-97 victory over the Suns on Wednesday night.

Smith's tough jumper from 15 feet had tied it at 97 with 10.6 seconds left. Then, after the turnover, Jason Kidd inbounded to Smith, who got the shot off as he sailed toward the out of bounds line. Smith scored 27 and Kidd 23.

Jared Dudley had a career-high 36 for Phoenix, including two free throws that put the Suns ahead 97-95 with 34.5 seconds to go.

New York was without the NBA's No. 2 scorer Carmelo Anthony (hyperextended knee) and Raymond Felton (sprained finger), both hurt in the Christmas day loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles.

The Knicks said X-rays on Felton's right fifth finger revealed a fracture and the next course of action will be determined after his return to New York.

The Suns lost Goran Dragic in the final seconds of the first half when he was undercut by Smith on a layup attempt and fell hard to the floor. Dragic had bruises to his hip, back and wrist. Smith was called for a flagrant foul on the play.

Chris Copeland and Tyson Chandler added 14 points apiece for the Knicks.

Dudley, whose previous high was 33, was 11 of 17 shooting, 5 of 8 on 3s, and 9 of 9 at the foul line. Marcin Gortat added 13 points for the Suns, who lost their third in a row.

New York led 54-44 at the half and stretched it to 68-54 when Smith made a fadeaway, falling-down 19-footer with 7:13 left in the third. Dudley responded with a 3-pointer and the Suns were off on a 20-4 outburst. Another 3 by Dudley tied it at 72 with 2:10 to go, and Shannon Brown, who made just one of his first 7 shots, scored on a fast-break layup to put Phoenix ahead 74-72 with 1:23 left in the quarter.

It was knotted at 76 entering the fourth.

Dudley was fouled by Copeland on a 3-point try and made all three free throws to put Phoenix up 90-86 with 5:19 left, but Smith scored the next four, Kidd sank a 3 and Copeland made a 21-footer in a 9-0 spurt that had the Knicks up 95-90 with 3:34 left.

After a scoreless 1:28, Sebastian Telfair made a 3, then Brown sank a 20-footer to tie it at 95 with 1:15 remaining.

Smith missed a jumper from the top of the key 52 seconds from the finish and the Suns got the ball. Dudley was fouled on a drive to the hoop and made both free throws to make it 97-95.

But Smith, with P.J. Tucker all over him, sank a fade-away from just outside the free throw line with 10.6 seconds remaining to tie.

Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry called a 20-second timeout but the play broke down and, when Telfair tried to hit Marcin Gortat for a back-door layup, the ball was knocked back into the backcourt. Telfair chased it down but wound up stepping out of bounds with a second on the clock.

After a timeout, Kidd tossed the inbounds pass to Smith, who got the shot off, again over Tucker, from just inside the 3-point line. It went in and he was mobbed by his teammates.

The Knicks were missing a little over 43 points per game without Anthony and Felton, the first game this season that New York had been without both of its top two scorers. Rasheed Wallace also was out with a sore left foot.

Notes: The Knicks complete their brief three-game trip west at Sacramento on Friday. ... New York has lost two in a row only once this season. ... Michael Beasley, a big part of the second-half surge, missed Sunday's home loss to the Clippers due to illness.

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Ron Rivera says Ryan Kerrigan is in the Redskins' plans for 2020

Ron Rivera says Ryan Kerrigan is in the Redskins' plans for 2020

Ryan Kerrigan is just one sack away from breaking the Redskins' franchise record. It sounds like he'll get the opportunity to break that record in 2020.

The pass rusher enters the final year of his contract in 2020, but some wondered whether Washington would release him this offseason as part of a salary-cap savings move.

Redskins head coach Ron Rivera told the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday that Kerrigan remains in the Redskins' future plans and will be with the team this season.

"Yes he is," Rivera said on if Kerrigan will be with the Redskins in 2020. "Most certainly.

"We had a great conversation with Ryan and it was awesome," Rivera continued. "He's all fired up about getting ready for next season. I'm not going to get into a player's contract, but he's a guy we're looking forward to having around."

Since Rivera took over as the Burgundy and Gold's head coach, he's preached identifying which players will be a part of the team's core. Rivera said Kerrigan is certainly one of those players.

The Redskins are widely expected to use the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Chase Young. The Ohio State pass rusher would join a defensive front seven that is already loaded with talent. 

Rivera said that regardless of what the Redskins do with the pick or in free agency, Kerrigan remains a part of the future of the team.

"Whatever happens in free agency and the draft, that's great," he said. "But we did our core and went through our core. We're going to make our moves off the decisions we've made. Ryan is part of that plan going forward. That's one of the things he and I talked about."

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Juan Soto's Wild Card game-winning hit broke Eric Thames’ heart

Juan Soto's Wild Card game-winning hit broke Eric Thames’ heart

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Eric Thames felt like something bad was about to happen last fall after Michael A. Taylor reached first base next to him.

Milwaukee held a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning when Taylor was awarded first base after a review determined the call of hit by pitch would stand. The ruling was dubious. Regardless, Taylor was on first and the unraveling process for Josh Hader and the Brewers had begun.

“The playoffs is all about mojo and there’s certain plays you’re [like] oh, it's not looking good,” Thames told NBC Sports Washington. “And it was the hit by pitch to Taylor, reviewed it, hit off the knob, they reviewed said hit by pitch. We were all pretty upset about that. Once [Ryan Zimmerman] got the broken-bat single, it was like, oh, man here we go.”

Anthony Rendon sidled up to Thames after his walk loaded the bases later in the inning. Juan Soto was next, a left-on-left fight with Hader pending. He singled to right, sending the ball past Thames and toward Trent Grisham, who overran the ball after an odd hop.


 
“You know Juan is a passionate player,” Thames said. “You know he’s hungry to get the big hit. Once that ball went over my head, I was like, all right, here we go. Let’s hold it. Once that ball got past Grisham, my heart just like… the crowd was quiet the whole game until that moment. It was like bombs went off. We couldn't hear anything. I was leading off that next inning. It was the weirdest feeling. It was like my heart was in my stomach. It was heartbreaking.”

Thames struck out. The Brewers lost, beginning the Nationals’ stomach-churning run toward the World Series.

He was bitter for about four or five days. But, he watched. The Nationals kept coming back, he watched more. Stationed in a bar, still a bit upset by the idea this could have been the Brewers’ run, Thames began to develop an affinity for what Washington was doing, one that eventually landed him in the clubhouse this spring to split time at first base and provide left-handed, pinch-hit power.

“We all would have been pissed if the Astros or the 'powerhouse team,' if they won, but these guys came from the bottom, they scratched their way up, the way the games finished was exciting,” Thames said. “Like Howie’s home run off the poll -- I watch that replay all the time. To see the entire stadium in Houston just get quiet. Oh, it was awesome.

“I watched every game at a bar with a bunch of beer drowning my sorrows with nachos.”

Thames spilled his beer when Kendrick homered against Will Harris. Three-plus months later, he and Kendrick were sitting two chairs apart in West Palm Beach, Thames’ heart presumably back into his chest.

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