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Trail Blazers upend Nuggets 97-80

Trail Blazers upend Nuggets 97-80

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Wesley Matthews scored 14 of his 19 points during the second quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 97-80 Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 points to help the Trail Blazers win in their home preseason debut. Matthews and Aldridge each hit 7 of 12 shots from the floor.

Victor Claver hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 points for Portland. Blazers guard Coby Karl scored 11 points in 21 minutes. Karl is the son of Denver coach George Karl.

Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Andre Miller, Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton scored nine points each for Denver.

The Nuggets struggled from 3-point range, hitting 2 of 20 shots from behind the arc.

Portland started sluggishly, and Faried scored eight points early in the first quarter to give Denver a 19-14 lead. Sparked by Karl's four-point play, the Blazers finished the opening quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 26-23 lead.

Matthews fueled Portland's second-quarter surge, as he hit 5 of 7 shots, and two 3-pointers, that staked the Blazers to a 54-39 halftime lead.

Aldridge and Matthews combined to score nine of Portland's first 11 points of the third quarter as the Blazers built their lead to 20 points. Denver was unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the game.

Portland rookie point guard Damian Lillard, the No. 6 pick in the draft, sat out Wednesday's game with a foot injury. Nolan Smith, starting in Lillard's absence, had eight assists to lead all players.

Notes: Also sidelined for the Blazers was reserve point guard Ronnie Price, who has missed two games with an ankle injury. ... For Denver, Miller and forward Wilson Chandler made their first preseason appearances. Miller started at point guard in place of Ty Lawson, who sat out due to elbow pain. ... Portland and Denver each have three preseason games remaining before opening the NBA regular season Oct. 31.

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Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

On Wednesday night ESPN hosts their yearly sports award show, the ESPYs, to celebrate the best of the last 365 days in sport. 

One thing they will not be celebrating, or did not even consider celebrating, was Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final

This year there were 16 plays nominated to be the “Best Play” and were seeded into a bracket. For the past month fans have been voting in each head-to-head matchup culminating in four pretty outstanding plays:

All of those plays can be viewed here

Three of those four were in a championship game, the other was a just a once in a lifetime play from a teenager. 

But the ESPYs are saying that there are 16 plays from this past year that were better than Holtby’s save… Can we really believe that? Everyone loves buzzer beaters, but they accounted for six of the 16 plays. One of them could have easily gotten bumped. 

And aside from the three listed above there were only two that were in the championship event for each sport. Holtby could have rounded it out for six.

We’re not saying that Holtby’s play was the best in the past year, or even in the top four. Heck, there should be no one that tops Ogunbowale’s incredible heroics. But arguably the best play in D.C. sports history not making the top-16 for best plays in a 365 day period? 

It must have been one heck of a sports year.  

2018 Open Championship Preview: Schedule, How to watch

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2018 Open Championship Preview: Schedule, How to watch

It's wide Open.

This week's 147th Open Championship in eastern Scotland at treacherous Carnoustie Golf Links boasts as deep a field of stars as we've seen in this championship since 2015 at St. Andrews.

Of course, it certainly helps to have three-time champ Tiger Woods back for his first start in The Open since he missed the cut at St. Andrews, a course he had won at in 2005 and 2010.

But this appears to be a different Tiger. He's healthier and he's coming in hot off a top 4 at Quicken Loans National a couple weeks back.

Make no mistake, Tiger Woods in a major championship is always must-watch material.

Even his former swing coach Hank Haney said on his SiriusXM Radio show this week that he's expecting Woods to win.

If he does so it would be his first major in 10 years. No small task with the strength of this year's field.

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth figure to be some of the major challengers. U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood also happens to own the course record at Carnoustie (63), which shouldn't surprise anyone considering his experience on links golf courses. There are a couple guys who aren't quite household names to watch out for just because of how in-form they are. Kevin Na, who just won in West Virginia and Francesco Molinari. Molinari won at Quicken Loans National in Bethesda convincingly and brings plenty of links golf experience to this week.

Remember the last time Carnoustie held The Open?

Sergio Garcia missed a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole and Padraig Harrington made a closing double bogey after finding the famous burn (water hazard) and both went to a 4-hole playoff.

People are quick to tell you Sergio whined after losing in that playoff, calling out the golfing gods as being against him, but let's remember that he hit the flagstick from 260 yards on the par 3 in that playoff.

How many players can say they did that in the history of Open playoffs?

Both are back this year along with the man who threw this championship away in 1999, Jean Van De Velde.

Should be another classic this year.

2018 Open Championship Information:

What: The 147th Open Championship

When: Thursday, July 19- Sunday, July 22, 2018

Where: Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, Scotland

TV Channel: Golf Channel, NBC

Livestream: TBA

2018 Open Championship Odds, Betting Information:

DraftKings and FanDuel have tournaments open for The Open Championship, as does GolfChannel.com's Fantasy Golf game.

World number 1 Dustin Johnson just barely clipped 2014 champ Rory McIlory as the betting favorite, with 11-1 odds.

Johnson comfortably led the U.S. Open by four through 36 last month before a 77 brought him back to reality.

Rory McIlroy, who is in the midst of a relatively strong season though still looking for his first major since the 2014 PGA, has 12-1 odds of winning.

Then you have defending champ Jordan Spieth at 16-1 who is a great pick because he plays well in this championship. Remember when he finished one stroke out of a playoff here in 2015? Justin Rose is a good pick at 16-1 as well, coming off yet another close call at the U.S. Open. He's got a second major in him. Lastly, Rickie Fowler played in the final group at The Open in 2014. Bad news, it was with Rory McIlroy who was on fire, but with the pressure on Fowler didn't miss a putt inside ten feet all day. Look for his steely nerves to help again this year.

2018 Open Championship Betting Favorites

Dustin Johnson: 11-1
Rory McIlroy: 12-1
Jordan Spieth: 16-1
Rickie Fowler: 16-1
Justin Rose: 16-1
Tommy Fleetwood: 16-1
Tiger Woods: 20-1
Brooks Koepka: 20-1
Justin Thomas: 20-1
Jon Rahm: 20-1