Nationals

Without Melo, Knicks top Heat 112-92

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Without Melo, Knicks top Heat 112-92

MIAMI (AP) Raymond Felton scored a season-high 27 points, and the New York Knicks connected on 18 3-pointers to more than offset the absence of Carmelo Anthony while topping Miami for the second time this season, beating the Heat 112-92 on Thursday night.

Steve Novak scored 18 points, J.R. Smith added 13 and Tyson Chandler scored 13 for the Knicks, who won their fifth straight and moved 1 1/2 games clear of Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks made eight 3-pointers in the third quarter alone, the most by any NBA team in any quarter so far this season.

Anthony sat out, one night after needing five stitches to close a cut on the middle finger of his left hand.

LeBron James nearly picked up his second straight triple-double - 31 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists - in Miami's second straight loss. Dwyane Wade scored 13 points, Chris Bosh had 12 and Udonis Haslem added 10 for the Heat, who fell to 8-1 at home.

Rasheed Wallace scored 12 and Jason Kidd added 11 for the Knicks, who finished 18 for 44 from 3-point range.

It was tied at 53 at the half, and the third quarter changed everything for the Knicks. Kidd made a 3-pointer, Felton followed with consecutive 3s and New York was up by nine with 9:42 left in the period and the Heat seemed stunned.

New York was only getting started.

In all, it was an eight-3-pointers-in-eight-minutes barrage that decided this one, with five different players getting in on the act for the Knicks. Smith hit the last of them with 3:25 left in the third, and a pair of free throws by Chandler moments later gave New York - again, without its best player - an 18-point lead on the road against the reigning NBA champions.

There was one run late in the third, a 13-3 burst by Miami that got the Heat within eight in the final seconds of the quarter. It was the last - and really, the only - gasp for Miami, as the Knicks just kept firing away in the fourth.

Felton finished 10 for 20 from the floor, adding seven assists and four rebounds. He was 6 for 10 from beyond the arc, Novak was 4 for 9, while Smith and Kidd were each 3 for 8 from long range.

Miami had two field goals in the first seven minutes of the final quarter, and when New York decided to put it away, it was with 3-pointers, of course. Novak made one for a 100-84 lead, another to stretch the margin to 19 and then Chandler got all alone for a dunk to push the lead to 109-88 and send most of the building's occupants to the exits.

Smith hit a 3-pointer with 3:04 left to play, gestured toward the Heat bench, and the benches were cleared moments later.

NOTES: Haslem started and made his first five shots, his first 10-point first half since March 2010. ... Anthony warmed up before the game, but seemed to have trouble catching passes. ... It was Miami's first home loss since Game 5 of last season's Eastern Conference finals. ... The Knicks have outscored Miami by 20 points in each of their first two meetings this season.

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

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USA TODAY Sports

John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."

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Need to Know: Redskins have faith in their young cornerbacks but will keep their options open

Need to Know: Redskins have faith in their young cornerbacks but will keep their options open

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, August 15, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

The Redskins paid Orlando Scandrick $1 million and he didn’t play so much as a preseason snap for them. The money is gone, and the Redskins are left with what is mostly a youthful group at cornerback

The senior citizen is Josh Norman, who is 30 and entering his seventh NFL season. Quinton Dunbar is next on the age scale at 26. Those two will be the starters at cornerback on the outside. After them, youth rules the day. 

Fabian Moreau, 22, will take the slot corner position that Scandrick was going to fill. He is in his second NFL season having played just 59 snaps as a rookie. 

That’s 59 more NFL snaps than the next three players on the depth chart have combined. Rookies Greg Stroman, a seventh-round pick this year, Adonis Alexander, a supplemental sixth-round pick, and undrafted free agent Danny Johnson, all 22 years old, are the next men up if any of the top three on the depth chart falter or get injured. 

“I’m very impressed with them all,” said Jay Gruden. “You know, obviously Adonis not as much because he just got here, and he’s been hurt but he’s got the skill set that we’ve noticed, as far as your sixth corner, I think he’d be a very good guy to have in your building to develop. Watching Stroman and watching Danny Johnson compete and play, I’ve been impressed. Watching Fabian move inside, I’ve been very impressed.”

That all sounds good. However, Gruden made sure that everyone knows that the cornerback depth chart is not set in stone.

“We still have time if it doesn’t work out or if somebody gets injured, we still have time to make moves also ourselves,” he said.

The Redskins have about nine practices and three preseason games before they have to set their roster. If it proves that their confidence in the young corners is not well founded, they could look to pick up an alternative on the waiver wire, in the free agent market (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still available), or via a trade.

The best-case is that the kids work out. But if not, there are alternatives. 

Bureau of statistics

The 2017 Redskins were sixth in the league in pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. 

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The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 1 day; Final cut (Sept. 1) 17 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 25 days

In case you missed it

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