Capitals

Thunder extend win streak to 9 with 92-88 victory

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Thunder extend win streak to 9 with 92-88 victory

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant scored 35 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder extended their winning streak to nine games with a 92-88 victory over the New Orleans Hornets 92-88 on Wednesday night.

The Thunder rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and matched their longest streak since the franchise moved from Seattle.

At 18-4, the Thunder matched the second-best start in franchise history. Seattle started 20-2 in the 1993-94 season and the Thunder started 18-4 last season.

It was the Thunder's third win over the Hornets in the past four weeks and seventh straight in the series.

Brian Roberts scored 16 points to lead New Orleans, which lost its fifth straight game.

Greivis Vasquez missed a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds that would have given New Orleans the lead. Thabo Sefolosha corralled the rebound and made the clinching free throws for the Thunder.

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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How to watch Wizards vs. Pelicans

How to watch Wizards vs. Pelicans

In their fifth game inside the NBA's Disney bubble, the Washington Wizards will get their first look at New Orleans Pelicans rookie phenom Zion Williamson. The question is how much will Williamson play?

After losing, 107-98, to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, the Wizards (24-44) dropped to 0-4 in bubble play, severely hurting their playoffs, as well as their lottery odds. While not officially eliminated from the playoff picture, they now trail the Orlando Magic (32-37) by 7.5 games for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Pelicans (29-39) have their own ground to make up as trail the Memphis Grizzlies (32-37) by 2.5 games for the final spot in the Western Conference with four other teams between them. With fierce competition for the final few playoff spots, will the Pelicans be willing to increase Williamson's playing minutes

Friday's broadcast will be a special one, as five-time Wizards All-Star John Wall will join Justin and Glenn on the broadcast. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
 

WIZARDS vs. PELICANS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Where: Visa Athletic Center, Orlando, Fla.

When: Friday, August 7, 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pelicans will be on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pelicans on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


WIZARDS vs. PELICANS TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE) (NBCSW)

8:00 PM: Wizards at Pelicans (LIVE) (NBCSW)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE) (NBCSW)

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WIZARDS VS. PELICANS WHAT TO WATCH

The Wizards will likely have their hands full with former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Despite only playing in 23 games this season, Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 27.9 minutes. The minutes will be the thing to watch as the Pelicans have kept a watchful eye on their superstar's workload.

Despite competing in the NBA bubble without their three top players John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans, the Wizards have been remained competitive despite their record. Thomas Bryant's performance, particularly his recent defensive play, is an example of how the Wizards' bubble experience will likely be measured on the growth and development of its young players.

RELATED: REDRAFTING THE 2003 NBA DRAFT


WIZARDS VS. PELICANS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.9 apg): There's no denying Thomas Bryant's physical skill set. In Wednesday's matchup against 76ers center Joel Embiid, Bryant held The Process to just 3-of-11 shooting. Bryant will need to continue his defensive momentum on Friday against a Pelicans team averaging 115.8 points per game, good for fifth-best in the NBA.

Zion Williamson, PF, Pelicans (22.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.1 apg): This one is easy. If the Pelicans are going to make noise in the Disney bubble, it;ll have to be Zion Williamson leading the way. On Thursday against the Kings, Williamson recorded 24 points on 12 shots in 21 minutes. That kind of efficiency is not something you see often, especially by a rookie.

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