Capitals

Thunder roll to 124-94 win over Rockets

201212292035741593806-p2.jpeg

Thunder roll to 124-94 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Durant scored 11 points during a 16-0 run by the Thunder to end the first half and extend the lead to 18. Oklahoma City had another big run early in the third quarter to put the game further out of reach.

Former Thunder sixth man James Harden scored 25 for the Rockets, who went cold on offense for long stretches.

It was Oklahoma City's second win this season over Houston, after taking the first meeting 120-98.

Kevin Martin, who came to Oklahoma City in the trade for Harden, finished 19 points and five 3-pointers. Marcus Morris added a career-high 24 points for Houston.

Quick Links

Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

oshie_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

 

WASHINGTON -- There was plenty of hype surrounding Wednesday's matchup between the Capitals and Boston Bruins and it delivered as Washington escaped with the narrow 3-2 win. The win is the Caps' 16th win in 17 games against Boston. Here is how Washington won.

An offside challenge

Patrice Bergeron thought he had put the Bruins up 2-0 in the first period with a power play goal. Todd Reirden challenged the goal as offside, just the second time he has done so all season. A review of the goal showed that Jake DeBrusk had his back skate off the ice as the puck as David Pasrtnark entered the zone, thus drawing the play offside. Reirden had not challenged for offside once until Dec. 6. He has now done it twice in less than a week and won both challenges.

T.J. Oshie

It's not hard to figure out who the player of the game was. Boston nearly scored twice in the first period but held a one-goal lead through the first 20 minutes. Then Oshie took over with two goals in the second period to give Washington back control of the game.

As the Caps entered into the offensive zone on the power play, right defenseman Brandon Carlo came over to the left to cover a pass to Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom retreated to the boards drawing Carlo completely over to the left side. As the puck tipped back to the blue line, it was kept in the zone by John Carlson who passed to a wide-open Oshie who was all alone in front of the net thanks to Carlo being drawn out of position. Oshie went backhand to forehand and chipped the puck over Jaroslav Halak. Just about everyone thought it was a goal, but the referee immediately waved it off. Oshie followed up his shot and hit in the rebound for the actual goal.
Oshie's second goal was more of the highlight real variety as Evgeny Kuznetsov fed him in the neutral zone. Oshie went outside-in on Connor Clifton, then split Clifton and Charlie McAvoy to go in on net. He drew the hook from McAvoy but was still able to backhand the shot bar down to give Washington its first lead of the game.

Carlson plays the hero

Who else?

Torey Krug tied the game at 2 less than three minutes into the third period. Then it was Carlson to the rescue.
When there is a defenseman whose numbers are rivaling those of Bobby Orr, opposing teams can't lose track of him in their own defensive zone. As Backstrom carried the puck into the offensive zone, all eyes were on him. He wheeled around the net and every head of the four Bruins players who were back were watching him. None were watching Carlson coming up to the faceoff circle to set up for the shot. Backstrom saw him though.

Backstrom teed up Carlson for the one-timer which of course he fired past Halak because that's just the kind of season Carlson is having this year. He would finish the game with a goal and an assist.

The penalty kill

The offside challenge erased Boston's lone power play goal of the night. The Bruins entered the game with the sixth-ranked power play in the NHL but finished the game 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Anthony Rendon reportedly agrees to seven-year, $245 million deal with Angels

Anthony Rendon reportedly agrees to seven-year, $245 million deal with Angels

SAN DIEGO -- "One or the other" is no longer a suggestion. It’s reality.

Anthony Rendon has left. He reportedly signed a seven-year, $245 million deal on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Angels. His time with the Nationals is over after 10 years in the organization.

Rendon’s contract would have pushed the Nationals past the competitive balance tax. The $208 million threshold remains a barrier for the organization. In this case, it forces a pivot.

Josh Donaldson is the only high-end third baseman remaining on the free agent market. Washington needs him, and Rendon’s departure just raised the price. Donaldson’s contract terms will be shorter and more palatable -- think four years, $100 million -- but he is not Rendon in both skill and personality. 

So, gone is a 2019 MVP finalist who was also finally named an All-Star. He is a World Series champion. He was an affable teammate and pleasant presence at the Nationals’ baseball youth academy. For seven years, he was the Nationals’ third baseman and among the best in the league at the position.

Rendon’s best season came along with the team’s, turning 2019 into a wondrous outcome both personally and professionally. Rendon set career-highs in WAR, OPS-plus, home runs, RBIs and total bases. His defense at third was again Gold-Glove caliber. All the while, he moved toward free agency, his future uncertain but the unknown also leaving him unfazed.

He joins Bryce Harper as homegrown products to depart via free agency. The Nationals climbed from new organization trying to find their way to powerful major-league force because of player development. Now, as the defending World Series champion, Washington is fighting the battles of retainment. Major League Baseball’s system allows suppressive salaries to start careers. Eventually, the best players need to be paid somewhere. For Rendon, that turned out to be outside of Washington.

Rendon leaving will be part of the Lerner’s legacy as owners -- just like Harper moving on. Washington’s franchise carries one of the league’s highest valuations. Its ownership group is among the richest in baseball. They spend a lot annually. However, they stop short of excess. The model has served them well thus far.

But, Rendon leaving is different than Harper moving on. Washington had a clear succession plan in place when Harper left. This will be a scramble to a short-term solution. They will still have to pay in prospects or cash. No one in-house is ready to handle the position. Which brings a question of value.

Ultimately, the Nationals saw more value in Stephen Strasburg. The amount offered to him -- deferred money aside for the moment -- is close to what was necessary for Rendon. Managing principal owner Mark Lerner stated it was one or the other. He turned out to be telling the truth, then following through with an early choice.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: