Ravens

Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90

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Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90

PHOENIX (AP) Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, Jared Dudley added 20 points and the Phoenix Suns pulled off another big rally to beat the Sacramento Kings 101-90 Monday night.

The Suns were out of sorts throughout the first half, scoring 43 points while trailing by up to 19. Brown helped them outscore Sacramento 31-14 in the third quarter and Dudley provided the cushion down the stretch to give Phoenix its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Luis Scola gave the Suns his usual hustle while scoring 14 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists.

The Kings played well early, but faded down the stretch to lose their fourth straight game. Jimmer Fredette had 22 points and Aaron Brooks added 12 for Sacramento.

Sacramento and Phoenix, the two worst teams in the Pacific Division, met heading in opposite directions.

Just a week ago, the Suns were reeling, on a seven-game losing streak that included a 40-point blowout to struggling Detroit on Nov. 28, the third-worst loss in franchise history.

Phoenix started its current five-game homestand with a loss to Orlando, but followed with wins over Memphis and Utah, two teams in the upper half of the Western Conference.

The Kings seemed to be putting things together with a modest three-game winning streak, only to play poorly at both ends during a four-game losing streak. Sacramento was blown out 122-97 by Denver at home Sunday night and has struggled on the road all season, winning 1 of 10 games before facing the Suns.

The Kings looked tired early after playing the night before, missing nine of their first 12 shots before hitting a few late in the first quarter during a 10-0 run.

After that, it was the Suns who looked worn down.

Phoenix missed all seven of its 3-pointers in the first quarter and wasn't much better from anywhere else, unable to get even layups and tip-ins to go down. The Suns failed to hit a field goal over the final 5:19 of the first quarter and continued to struggle in the second, going down 52-33 after Fredette hit two free throws to reach 12 points in the quarter.

Phoenix managed to hit a couple of shots late, but still trailed 54-43 at halftime - the 20th time in 25 games this season the Suns have trailed by double digits.

Of course, they've come back a lot this season, too, and did it again.

Hitting the shots that weren't falling early, Phoenix went on an 18-4 run midway through the third quarter, going up 61-58 after Brown hit three straight shots, including a 3-pointer as he fell into Sacramento's bench.

The Suns kept hitting shots - 13 of 19 - and played some defense, holding the Kings scoreless for four minutes to turn an 11-point deficit into a six-point lead.

Phoenix extended the lead to 85-75 on a 3-pointer by Michael Beasley from the corner midway through the fourth quarter, but the Kings clawed back within three. The Sun sealed it after that, going up 97-84 on consecutive 3-pointers by Dudley and a driving layup by Brown.

NOTES: Hall of Fame center Bill Russell attended the game. ... Phoenix has won 12 of its past 14 games against Sacramento at home. ... Sacramento played without G Tyreke Evans, who left with sore knee after the first quarter against Denver Sunday night.

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Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

Baltimore Ravens Week 6 awards after shutout win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens went into the Tennessee Titans' home and completely robbed them in a 21-0 shutout win.

Here are the players and plays that stood out from the afternoon.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME: Ravens Defense

The Ravens defense had a historic afternoon recording a franchise-record 11 sacks. Yup, you read that right. 11 sacks.

Za'Darius Smith led the way with three, followed by Patrick Onwuasor with two and Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson, Kenny Young, Anthony Levine Sr. and Chris Wormley with one apiece. The 11 sacks tied for the second most by a team in league history and the most in a game since 2012.  It was so historic, the Ravens changed their Twitter name to included 11 S's. 

But that wasn't the only impressive part of the Ravens' afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 10 completions and the defense allowed just 51 passing yards  —  the fewest in franchise history  — and 55 rushing yards. The Titans finished the afternoon 1-for-10 on third down as well.

With the shutout, the Ravens defense cemented its place as one of the NFL's most elite units in 2018. A win that must have been extra sweet after a 12-9 overtime loss to the Browns the week prior and with former defensive coordinator Dean Pees staring back from the opposite sideline. The Ravens remain the only NFL team to not allow a second-half touchdown this season. 

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE GAME: Michael Crabtree

After dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Michael Crabtree said his priority this week was to get back into the lab and correct his mistakes. Out the gate, the veteran receiver stayed true to his word finishing the Ravens' first drive catching three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown. Earlier in the week, Joe Flacco had faith his receiver would get over the hump of six drops in five games and was willing to stand by him until it happened.

"Besides just trying to give him the confidence that, you know, I'm still going his way when he calls for it and I still believe that it's going to be the difference...it's something that he'll definitely get over," Flacco said.

The patience worked as Crabtree finished the day with six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown leading all Ravens receivers.

But more importantly, the relationship between Crabtree and Flacco continues to grow.

"That’s trust. That’s what you need in football, you know," Crabtree said postgame. "Quarterback, receiver relationship. It’s only going to get better. It’s all about how much time you put in, how much work you put in. I’m new; this is my first year here so I got to do what I got to do."

STAT OF THE GAME: Flacco makes his way into the history books

With 25 completions Sunday against the Titans, Flacco became the third different quarterback in NFL history to complete 25 or more passes in nine consecutive games, per the NFL's communication department. Drew Brees sits atop the list with 11 and 10 consecutive games followed by Peyton Manning with nine. Flacco finished the 21-0 win 25-for-37 with 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. 

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Wizards' preseason showed how Jeff Green can help bench score from inside and out

Wizards' preseason showed how Jeff Green can help bench score from inside and out

When Mike Scott left to join the L.A. Clippers, the Wizards replaced him as the backup power forward with Jeff Green and in doing so found a guy who is similar in many ways, albeit for a cheaper price. He is experienced, versatile offensively and even a local guy who roots for the Redskins.

Where they differ on the offensive end is the ways they like to score. Scott is more of a three-point threat, while Green is more comfortable operating in the post. 

Last season with the Wizards, Scott attempted only a third of his shots from less than 10 feet, while Green took 54.2 of his attempts from that range. Nearly a third of Green's shots (30.3) came within five feet of the rim.

Green's ability to score inside and with his back to the basket may end up complementing others in the Wizards' second unit quite well. Three-point shooting is more important than ever in today's NBA and his ability to draw the defense inside can open up the floor for others like Tomas Satoransky, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers.

The Wizards did not have anyone on their bench last season with Green's level of skill in the post and Green showed in the preseason a willingness to pass from the paint.

Against the Knicks in the Wizards' fourth preseason game, Green had the ball in the post when he noticed Satoransky's defender was moving closer inside, perhaps anticipating a rebound. He fired the ball to Satoransky, who pump-faked a three and dribbled to his right before knocking down a jumper at the top of the key.

"It's just smart basketball. There are a lot of unselfish guys," Green said of the Wizards' bench. "I think we just work well together. We feed off each other. I think we know how to play the right way."

Satoransky led the Wizards with a 46.5 three-point percentage last season. He knocked down 51.2 percent off catch-and-shoot plays. Rivers shot 37.8 percent from three last year for the Clippers and 37.1 percent on catch-and-shoot looks.

Oubre shot only 34.1 percent overall from three, but that number dropped significantly towards the end of the year. He can get hot from three and is dangerous when cutting to the basket off the ball. Ian Mahinmi, though not highly skilled in the post, can make defenders pay for leaving him on double teams.

It's not only about threes for Rivers and Satoransky, as Satoransky showed on that one play in New York. Both are solid at catch-and-gos. Rivers is decisive and quick and Satoranksy has made noticeable strides since he entered the league and taking off once he gets a pass. 

Green, 32, is still learning their strengths.

"I try to use their attributes to our advantage and creating what I can create," Green said. "If they can shoot and I'm being doubled, I'm going to make the right play and get it to the shooter."

The Wizards made upgrading their bench a big priority this offseason and the net result may be the most versatile group they have had in years. They can shoot threes, run the floor and, with Green in the mix, work inside and out.

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