Capitals

Wade feeling ahead of schedule after knee surgery

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Wade feeling ahead of schedule after knee surgery

MIAMI (AP) Dwyane Wade doesn't typically get off to super-fast starts, and one game is hardly enough to say that his 10th NBA campaign will be any different.

Still, opening night seemed to be a good sign.

Wade scored 29 points against Boston on Tuesday night, giving him the highest-scoring effort in the first game of any of his Miami Heat seasons less than four months after he had surgery to repair a long-troublesome left knee. And with LeBron James missing much of the second half with leg cramps, the Heat needed to Wade to deliver, which he did as the reigning champions opened with a 120-107 win.

``Way ahead of schedule,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, who sat out the second day of training camp and missed little else. ``It was absolutely the right decision on his part this summer to take care of his knee with that procedure, and then he did his part of making sure he came into camp in the best condition he could.''

Before Tuesday, Wade's previous first-game-of-a-season high was 26 points. And he was thrilled not only to get his championship ring, but to put all the buildup of ring night behind him.

``Now we can focus in on getting better as a team,'' Wade said.

The Heat were off Wednesday, set to resume practice on Thursday before their scheduled flight to New York for a Friday night game against the Knicks. As of Wednesday afternoon, that game was still planned, even though the New York-Brooklyn game on Thursday had been postponed as the city continues dealing with the aftermath of the storm that slammed into the Northeast this week.

Wade scored nine of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Heat keep the Celtics - who nearly erased a 19-point deficit - at bay.

What the final quarter of Tuesday's game might be most remembered for, however, was how Celtics guard Rajon Rondo grabbed Wade around the neck on a drive in the final seconds, earning a flagrant foul and raising Miami's collective ire.

Wade called Rondo's move ``a punk play.''

``I'm here to play basketball,'' Wade said. ``It's what we are. We're basketball players. If you want to go do something else, then go do something else. Boxing and all those things, this is not it. We're basketball players here. I was glad I was able to stop myself in that very moment and move on from it. We'll see next time we play.''

James missed the final 9 minutes because of cramps in his left leg. He missed the final portion of the third quarter with the same problem in his right leg.

No problem. Wade took over the marquee role for much of the reigning MVP's absence, doing so, he said, at the insistence of Heat point guard Mario Chalmers.

``Just trying to be aggressive at times,'' Wade said. ``Got a couple opportunities. Mario kept telling me to get to the block, get to the block. They wanted to run the offense through me. It felt good, like old times again. I don't want LeBron leaving too many times. But it felt good to have kind of what I'm used to in the sense of guys coming to me at the end of games.''

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS  and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS  and on Instagram @RichTandler