Nationals

Turner scores 27 as 76ers top Celtics 95-94 in OT

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Turner scores 27 as 76ers top Celtics 95-94 in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Evan Turner had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 95-94 overtime win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Turner drove past Courtney Lee and tossed up an off-balance, right-handed shot for a 95-94 lead with 3.9 seconds left. Boston guard Rajon Rondo slipped and his ankles buckled on the last possession, costing him a chance to hit the potential game-winner, a dud ending to his sizzling triple-double.

The same two teams meet again Saturday night in Boston.

Rondo had 16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul Pierce scored 27 points. Jeff Green, who gave Boston its last lead in OT with a 3-pointer, scored 19 points.

Turner and Pierce nudged each other and yapped at the free throw line all throughout a fourth quarter in which neither team budged. Turner recovered after Pierce tipped his jumper and drove down the lane for a layup and an 89-87 lead with 49 seconds left.

Jason Terry missed a drive and Garnett couldn't convert the easy putback to give the Sixers a chance to seal the win. But their miss led to more life for the Celtics. This time, the veterans delivered.

Pierce escaped a fast double team and swung the ball to Garnett - who buried the tying 20-footer with 7.7 seconds left.

Pierce showed how a veteran operates in the fourth. Turner, in his third season, is still playing through mistakes. He was trapped in the corner with a timeout to spare and tossed a wild pass into the lane and the hands of a leaping Rondo.

Rondo missed at the buzzer to send the game into OT tied at 89.

Turner made up for it in OT and even had five assists.

Rondo's steal was another highlight in a game in which he was seemingly involved with every Boston bucket. His assist on Green's corner 3-pointer late in the third gave him his first triple-double of the season and trimmed Philadelphia's lead to four.

Spencer Hawes played his best game since opening night and gave the Sixers the production off the bench they've sorely needed in their so-so start. He answered Pierce's tremendous dunk - he can still go at 35 - with a jumper for the lead. Hawes ended the third with a big right hand that swatted Pierce's drive down the lane well away from the basket. The crowd of 17,921 went wild as the Sixers hung onto their 72-70 lead to end the third.

Pierce scored 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting over the first three quarters before letting Garnett do the heavy lifting in the fourth and OT.

The 76ers-Celtics rivalry used to be one of the best in the NBA. Philadelphia's resurgence has helped heat up the series again and another tight game can only help a new generation get excited for this matchup.

Some trash talking never hurt in adding some juice to the division game, either. Turner hit a 3 over Pierce, then shouted in the Boston captain's face early in the first quarter, though nothing really came of the exchange. Pierce and Rondo each had near-flawless quarters to set an early tone for the game. Rondo had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the period.

Turner and Hawes kept the Sixers close in the second quarter and trimmed Boston's lead to 50-46 at the break.

NOTES: 76ers G Nick Young (toe), C Kwame Brown (virus) and G Royal Ivey (groin) all sat out. Young lived up to his ``Swaggy P'' nickname when he walked into the locker room wearing leopard skin shoes. ... The 76ers have won five of seven vs. Boston.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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USA TODAY

3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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