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Thomas' shot ends Kings' skid, top Wizards 96-94

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Thomas' shot ends Kings' skid, top Wizards 96-94

WASHINGTON (AP) Isaiah Thomas made a floater with a second to play, capping a seesaw finish as the Sacramento Kings broke a four-game losing streak with a 96-94 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Thomas dribbled down the clock after the Wizards tied the game on Martell Webster's short jumper with 7.9 seconds to play, then drove down the middle and put the ball in with a soft touch from 9 feet.

Thomas had 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and also had seven assists. Francisco Garcia scored 17 points for the Kings in a game that included 16 ties and 11 lead changes.

Emeka Okafor scored a season-high 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and John Wall had 19 points and six assists for the Wizards, whose home winning streak ended at five games. Still, Washington is 6-4 and has been competitive in every game since Wall's return from a knee injury.

The Kings, on the second game of a six-game road trip, had been plagued by turnovers during their losing streak - averaging 21 over their previous three games - but they committed only 11 against the Wizards.

Okafor's 11-foot jumper with 2:26 remaining tied the game at 88, and Thomas made 1 of 2 with 2:14 to go to put the Kings ahead by one and set up a game of back-and-forth leads.

Nene made a nice dish to Wall for a layup to put the Wizards back in front with 2:01 left, but Thomas' falling-down, high-arc floater with 1:10 on the clock restored the Kings' advantage.

Wall missed a layup that would have given the Wizards the lead, but Washington forced a shot clock violation at the other end. However, Nene got caught in no-man's land driving into the paint and committed a turnover, giving the Kings the ball with 25 seconds to go.

Evans broke the series of one-point leads by making a pair of free throws with 19.6 left to put Sacramento ahead 93-90. Wall's layup pulled the Wizards within one with 12.6 to go, and Evans made 1 of 2 free throws with 11.7 remaining to make the score 94-92.

Webster then tied the game, giving the Kings the chance to set up the winning shot for Thomas.

Win or lose, the Wizards have become a fast, versatile and quite entertaining team to watch, with Wall and Bradley Beal running the floor and Okafor and Nene complementing each other inside. Wall's first half highlight was a hesitation-acceleration layup that prompted the sound effects crew to play a siren - as if Wall had been cited for speeding.

Okafor was the go-to guy in the first quarter, with 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Garcia was on target in the second, making 4 of 5 3-pointers and scoring 15 points.

The Wizards led 57-53 at halftime, and not even a four-point play by Webster could open up much of a lead.

Notes: Kings F John Salmons played the entire first quarter, then left the game with a stomach virus and did not return. ... The Wizards' last six-game home winning streak came during the 2006-07 season, when they won 10 straight.

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Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs. Titans

Peter King awards two Ravens with weekly honors for defensive performance vs. Titans

The Baltimore Ravens' Week 6 dominate performance over the Tennessee Titans is gaining national attention. 

A historic game that displayed the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, it's hard to pinpoint who had the biggest impact. 

So in his latest edition of Football Morning in America, NBC Sports' Peter King awarded not one, but two Ravens with weekly honors.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Za'Darius Smith

Against the Titans, Smith led the Ravens defense with three sacks and five tackles in their historic 11-sack game. On of three Defensive Players of the Week, King explained why Smith's performance stood out.

In the most dominant defensive performance of this ultra-offensive season, the Ravens shut out Tennessee 21-0 and had 11 sacks. Another one of GM Ozzie Newsome’s draft gifts that keeps on giving, Smith (2015, round four, Kentucky) contributed three sacks of Marcus Mariota and five tackles in a virtuoso game. Net passing yards for Mariota: 51.

Smith, who's entering the final year of his rookie NFL contract, has shown over six games he deserves to get paid in the offseason. So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. 

COACH OF THE WEEK: Don "Wink" Martindale

In his first season as defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale has seamlessly made the transition from linebackers coach to leading the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense (12.8). But what impressed King the most from the 21-0 shutout was how Martindale's squad got to Mariota from every direction. 

When a unit records more sacks (11) than completions allowed (10), the leader gets an award. Those are the rules. Martindale’s pass rushers got to Marcus Mariota every possible way—up the middle, around the edges, in the pocket, on bootlegs, you name it. The total set a new franchise record and was one short of the single-game NFL mark of 12. And it came with a familiar face watching: Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees used to hold the same position in Baltimore. Shout out to the Ravens social media team for renaming the account RavenSSSSSSSSSSS, one ‘S’ for each sack.

This Ravens defense, who has always been known for its dominance, is ranked first in points allowed (12.8), first in yards allowed (270.8), second in passing yards allowed (188.0) and third in rushing yards allowed (82.8) heading into Week 7. In addition, they have yet to surrender a second half touchdown all season. Trusting of the talent this roster holds, the respect "Wink" has for his players is equally reciprocated. 

"It was really emotional when they told us we had 11 sacks," linebacker Patrick Onwuasor said postgame. "We just went out there and we were like, ‘We have to get Coach Wink . We have to put the Gatorade on him.’ So, we tried to turn him around so he couldn’t see it coming, and we had to get him real good."

Martindale will now face the No. 1 scoring offense in the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. 

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Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

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Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

In Week 5, every NFC East team suffered an embarrassing defeat. In Week 6, every NFC East team rebounded, except for the New York Giants.

The Redskins rebounded from their ugly Week 5 loss in New Orleans with a home win over a strong Carolina team. Dallas logged the division's best win, stomping Jacksonville 40-7, while the Eagles took no mercy on the Giants, beating them 34-13.

Now, three teams sit at the top with three wins, while the Giants lag quite far behind in the basement. Here's the update:

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Only by virtue of an early bye week do the Redskins rank slightly ahead of the Eagles and Cowboys, thanks to a .600 winning percentage. This week will change that, as the Redskins play their first NFC East division game when they host the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Defensively, Washington should match up well with Dallas, a run-first team that is challenged in the vertical pass game. But the Redskins have plenty to deal with internally, including major injuries at WR as well as a four-game losing streak to their rival. The Redskins haven't beaten the Cowboys at home since 2012. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Dallas (4:25 p.m.)

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Coming off their most impressive win of the season, Dallas will march into Washington on Sunday full of confidence and defensive swagger. The Cowboys defense held the Jaguars to only 204 total yards last Sunday and posted three sacks with two turnovers. The strength of the Dallas defense comes up front, with a menacing defensive line that confuses their offensive counterparts with significant movement and stunts at the snap of the ball. Now, all of that said, the Cowboys posted their standout defensive numbers against Blake Bortles and a bad Jaguars offense that was playing without injured running back Leonard Fournette. The Cowboys defense is good, but maybe not quite as good as they looked against Jacksonville. It's also a good time to point out that on the 2018 season, Dallas is 3-0 at home, and 0-3 on the road.

Up next: Oct. 21st @ Washington (4:25 p.m.)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Don't look now but the defending Super Bowl champs might be getting their act together. The Eagles scored more than 30 points for the first time this year in a demolition of the Giants last Thursday night, and snapped a two-game losing streak. Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, his best performance since coming back from knee surgery. Defensively, the Eagles sacked Eli Manning four times, but rookie sensation RB Saquon Barkley was able to gash Philly on the ground. The Panthers will present a very strong run game this Sunday and if Philly is all the way back, they need their stout run defense from 2017 to reappear. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Carolina

New York Giants (1-5)

Woof. Not much to celebrate in the Big Apple. It's become very obvious that Eli Manning is no longer a starting caliber QB, but the Giants have no other real options. And for all the complaints about Eli and the Giants offensive line, the defense hasn't been very good either. New York has a -45 point differential on the year. The Giants need to rebuild their offense around Saquon Barkley, who has looked outstanding, and hope Eli can hit Odell Beckham on play action. Barkley must get more carries for the Giants; that's the only way to salvage an already broken season.

Up next: Oct. 22nd @ Atlanta (8:15 p.m.)

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