Russia agents foil terrorism plot in Sochi

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Russia agents foil terrorism plot in Sochi

From Comcast SportsNet
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian agents have foiled terror attack plans on the Black Sea resort of Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Games, the country's secret service said Thursday. Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee said the secret service agency FSB had discovered ten caches of weapons and ammunition on May 4 and May 5 in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia, a region near Sochi. The arms seized included portable surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, flame throwers, grenades, rifles and explosives, it said. Authorities said the terrorists were planning to smuggle the explosives and arms to Sochi "between 2012 and 2014 in order to use them during the preparations and during the games." They did not elaborate on how they came to this conclusion. Sochi is less than dozen miles away from Russia's border with Abkhazia, a tiny region on the Black Sea that declared independence from Georgia in 2008. Few countries other than Russia have supported its independence. Georgia and Russia, both former Soviet republics, had a brief but intense war in 2008 and are still very distrustful of each other. The FSB said it suspects the attacks targeting Sochi were being masterminded by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, whom it alleges has close ties to Georgia's secret service. Umarov has previously claimed responsibility for the 2011 deadly bombing in a Moscow airport that killed 35 people. However, Shota Khizanishvili, chief of staff at Georgia's Interior Ministry, denied any links between Georgia and Umarov. "I can only say that the National Anti-Terrorist Committee is staffed with people with peculiar fantasies," Khizanishvili told The Associated Press. "They're always trying to accuse Georgia and its secret services of everything in any situation and without any grounds. This is a sign of a severe paranoia." Sochi's selection as the host of the 2014 Winter Games had sparked fears of possible terrorist activity, although no attacks have occurred so far. The city is located in the same area as Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, which is plagued with near-daily violence linked to an Islamist insurgency that spread from the province of Chechnya to neighboring areas in the late 1990s.

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State of the Wizards: Brooks on how Beal can be like Klay Thompson

State of the Wizards: Brooks on how Beal can be like Klay Thompson

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Brooks reacts to Klay Thompson's 60-point night - Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was asked before Tuesday's game against the Orlando Magic what he thought about Klay Thompson going off for an insane 60 points in just 29 minutes the night before. Once he realized where the question was going, Brooks grinned and leaned back in his chair. He then quipped: "It took me about 20 games to 60."

After the room laughed at his joke, and after the reporter point out a SportVU stat that said Thompson only touched the basketball for a total of 90 seconds during the game, Brooks told a story that Thompson's performance reminded him of. It reminded him of a film session he had with Bradley Beal on the road just a week before Thompson's big night:

"It doesn't get any better than that. It's funny, Bradley and I were watching film together just him and I last week and I told him that, I said 'you're one of the few guys in this league that can score 30 and have the ball in your hands less than a minute.' He didn't believe me. So, we looked at a couple of his clips and I [using] slow-motion and slow frames, I said 'look, there's 19 seconds on the shot clock and you've got the ball in your hands.' So, I did the clip. 'You shot the ball, it's out of your hands. Now look at the shot clock.' There was still 19 seconds. So, you shot the ball in what, .5 seconds? He's one of the few guys that can do that. Klay is obviously the same type of player. These guys that come off pindowns, they don't need the ball in their hands. They don't need to dribble the ball around the court five or six times to get a look. They've got the speed, they've got great footwork to come off [screens] and they've got the stroke. When you have bigs that set great screens like they do and we do, guys like Beal get a lot of opportunities to get points without touching the ball a whole lot in his hands."

Thompson looks like a future Hall of Famer at this point, one of the best shooters of all time who is a complete player with above-average skills on the defensive end. Putting Beal in the same category is a lofty comparison at this point.

But Beal is one of the best young guards in the NBA and there's no reason to put a ceiling on him at this stage of his career. Beal, a five-year NBA veteran, is in the middle of his Age 23 season. He's averaging 21.4 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting. Thompson was a three-year pro at Age 23 and scoring 18.4 points on 44.4 percent shooting. Beal is shooting 41.5 percent from three on 6.9 attempts per game. Thompson at the same age was hitting 41.7 percent of his threes on 6.6 shots per game.

Thompson is on a different level than Beal at this point, but he's also three years older. Beal may never get to where Klay is now, but Brooks does make an interesting point in terms of their similarities.

Satoransky's getting less minutes - Brooks' bench continues to evolve and lately that has meant less run for rookie Tomas Satoransky. The 6-foot-7 guard has not played at all in two of the Wizards' last three games, and the outlier was a 3:33 stint against the Nets on Monday.

Trey Burke has been the beneficiary of Satoransky's diminished role, logging 10 minutes against the Spurs and 12 vs. the Nets. Brooks was asked about Satoransky getting less minutes and he had this to say:

"He's putting so much pressure on himself and that's kind of norma. We've all been there as players in this league. There are a lot of things that you have to internalize and execute and the coach wants something, the four guys want something on the court. It's tough. I'm going to be very patient with him. I really believe that he's still a big part of what we do right now. He's just going to have to fit in where he fits in with the minutes. They're not going to be real consistent right now, but you never know. He just has to be ready. I thought Trey the last couple of games gave us a good lift. He has experience and he can manage... at this point he's a better scorer in the pick-and-roll setting. But Tomas is going to continue to work hard, he's a great kid that works hard.

Eastern Conference standings

Game of the week: John Wall 12/7 vs. Magic - 52 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 18-for-31 FG, 5-for-8 3PT, 11-for-14 FT

Quote of the Week

"Our job is to wake up and just play hard. Before you made it to the NBA or got a college scholarship, you played hard every day to get to where you wanted to. To still be talking about playing hard, that's something that you should be able to do after just waking up. Everybody has a job and they have to go work hard. Our job is to come here and play hard and compete. That's the easiest thing that you should do without any contracts or any money, just come in and play basketball … if I had the answer we wouldn't be in this situation."

- John Wall on the Wizards' defensive effort against Orlando on Tuesday night

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Road ahead

Mon. - 118-113 win at Brooklyn Nets
Tue. - 124-116 loss vs. Orlando Magic
Wed. - OFF
Thu. - 7 p.m. vs. Denver Nuggets (CSN)
Fri. - OFF
Sat. - 7 p.m. vs. Milwaukee Bucks (CSN)
Sun. - OFF

[RELATED: Wall faces music alone, questions Wizards' effort]

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Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.