Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90


Suns come from behind to beat Kings 101-90

PHOENIX (AP) Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, Jared Dudley added 20 points and the Phoenix Suns pulled off another big rally to beat the Sacramento Kings 101-90 Monday night.

The Suns were out of sorts throughout the first half, scoring 43 points while trailing by up to 19. Brown helped them outscore Sacramento 31-14 in the third quarter and Dudley provided the cushion down the stretch to give Phoenix its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Luis Scola gave the Suns his usual hustle while scoring 14 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists.

The Kings played well early, but faded down the stretch to lose their fourth straight game. Jimmer Fredette had 22 points and Aaron Brooks added 12 for Sacramento.

Sacramento and Phoenix, the two worst teams in the Pacific Division, met heading in opposite directions.

Just a week ago, the Suns were reeling, on a seven-game losing streak that included a 40-point blowout to struggling Detroit on Nov. 28, the third-worst loss in franchise history.

Phoenix started its current five-game homestand with a loss to Orlando, but followed with wins over Memphis and Utah, two teams in the upper half of the Western Conference.

The Kings seemed to be putting things together with a modest three-game winning streak, only to play poorly at both ends during a four-game losing streak. Sacramento was blown out 122-97 by Denver at home Sunday night and has struggled on the road all season, winning 1 of 10 games before facing the Suns.

The Kings looked tired early after playing the night before, missing nine of their first 12 shots before hitting a few late in the first quarter during a 10-0 run.

After that, it was the Suns who looked worn down.

Phoenix missed all seven of its 3-pointers in the first quarter and wasn't much better from anywhere else, unable to get even layups and tip-ins to go down. The Suns failed to hit a field goal over the final 5:19 of the first quarter and continued to struggle in the second, going down 52-33 after Fredette hit two free throws to reach 12 points in the quarter.

Phoenix managed to hit a couple of shots late, but still trailed 54-43 at halftime - the 20th time in 25 games this season the Suns have trailed by double digits.

Of course, they've come back a lot this season, too, and did it again.

Hitting the shots that weren't falling early, Phoenix went on an 18-4 run midway through the third quarter, going up 61-58 after Brown hit three straight shots, including a 3-pointer as he fell into Sacramento's bench.

The Suns kept hitting shots - 13 of 19 - and played some defense, holding the Kings scoreless for four minutes to turn an 11-point deficit into a six-point lead.

Phoenix extended the lead to 85-75 on a 3-pointer by Michael Beasley from the corner midway through the fourth quarter, but the Kings clawed back within three. The Sun sealed it after that, going up 97-84 on consecutive 3-pointers by Dudley and a driving layup by Brown.

NOTES: Hall of Fame center Bill Russell attended the game. ... Phoenix has won 12 of its past 14 games against Sacramento at home. ... Sacramento played without G Tyreke Evans, who left with sore knee after the first quarter against Denver Sunday night.

IOC leaders stop short of complete ban on Russians from Rio


IOC leaders stop short of complete ban on Russians from Rio

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Olympic leaders stopped short Sunday of imposing a complete ban on Russia from the Rio de Janeiro Games, assigning individual global sports federations the responsibility to decide which athletes should be cleared to compete.

The decision, announced after a three-hour meeting via teleconference of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, came just 12 days before the Aug. 5 opening of the games.

"We had to balance the collective responsibility and the individual justice to which every human being and athlete is entitled to," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

The IOC rejected calls from the World Anti-Doping Agency and dozens of other anti-doping bodies to exclude the entire Russian Olympic team following allegations of state-sponsored cheating.

Russia's track and field athletes have already been banned by the IAAF, the sport's governing body, a decision that was upheld Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and was accepted by the IOC again on Sunday.

Calls for a complete ban on Russia intensified after Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer commissioned by WADA, issued a report Monday accusing Russia's sports ministry of overseeing a vast doping program of its Olympic athletes.

McLaren's investigation, based heavily on evidence from former Moscow doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, affirmed allegations of brazen manipulation of Russian urine samples at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but also found that state-backed doping had involved 28 summer and winter sports from 2011 to 2015.

But the IOC board decided against the ultimate sanction, in line with Bach's recent statements stressing the need to take individual justice into account. The IOC said the McLaren report had made no direct accusations against the Russian Olympic Committee "as an institution."

"An athlete should not suffer and should not be sanctioned for a system in which he was not implicated," Bach told reporters on a conference call after Sunday's meeting.

The IOC also said Russia is barred from entering for the Rio Games any athlete who has ever been sanctioned for doping.

In a statement, the IOC said it would accept the entry of only those Russian athletes who meet certain conditions set out for the 28 international federations to apply.

It also rejected the application by Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, the 800-meter runner and former doper who helped expose the doping scandal in her homeland, to compete under a neutral flag at the games. However, the IOC added that it would invite her and her husband, Vitaly Stepanov, to attend the games.

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Grading the Caps' offseason moves: MacLellan sign a No. 3 goalie

Grading the Caps' offseason moves: MacLellan sign a No. 3 goalie

The quest for the Stanley Cup doesn't begin on the ice, but during the offseason as general managers build their teams for the upcoming campaign. The Caps have made a number of moves this summer to try to make their team better and get over the playoff hump.

Let's break down and grade each move the team made this offseason to help figure out whether it was the right move for the team.

Today's move: Signing Joe Cannata as the No. 3 goalie

The Caps made a number of minor league moves in the offseason and while I won't go into each and every one of them, the signing of Joe Cannata deserves some discussion considering he will be the guy the team calls up in case of injury to Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer.

What do you get the guy who has everything? That's how the offseason felt a bit for the Capitals who had very few offseason needs. With the departure of goalies Justin Peters and Dan Ellis, however, the Caps found themselves in serious need of a No. 3 goalie.

First, an explanation. When many fans heard the team was looking for a goalie, their reaction was why? They have Holtby, Grubauer and 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov, right? Problem solved.

Not so much.


Samsonov is under contract with the KHL for the next two years. Should the Caps find themselves in need of a goalie this year, Samsonov would not be available to them. Even if he was, a 19-year-old with no NHL experience would not be their first choice. As for their other prospects, Adam Carlson will head to ECHL South Carolina this year while Vitek Vanecek will get the bump from the ECHL to AHL Hershey. That still leaves one opening in the AHL.

Enter Joe Cannata.

What exactly does a team look for in a third goalie? Someone who would be comfortable spending the entire season in the AHL, but who can be called up to the NHL on a short-term basis. Someone who can sit on the bench and enter an NHL game in relief if the need arises. If Holtby suffers a minor tweak and is out for two weeks, for example, then Cannata will be called up to serve as Grubauer's back up.

What we are not talking about is someone who can replace Holtby or Grubauer in case of long-term injury. At that point, the Caps would almost certainly bring in someone via trade. Goalies capable of playing in the NHL long term don't sign deals to play in the AHL.

Cannata, 26, has 88 games of AHL experience, including 40 games last season in Utica, where he went 20-13-6 with two shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average (GAA) and a .909 save percentage.

"He'll be the third goalie, work with Vanecek in the American League," general manager Brian MacLellan said at development camp. "[Goalie coach Mitch Korn] and [associate goalie coach Scott Murray] will try and develop both those guys to get to the next level."

Last year, the Caps went with experience by signing Ellis, a veteran journeyman goalie with over 200 games of NHL experience. He did well over the course of the season with a 2.38 GAA and .908 save percentage, but he ran out of gas in the playoffs, getting torched in his only two games with a 4.80 GAA and .843 save percentage.

Cannata, on the other hand, has no NHL experience. Clearly, the Caps have decided to go younger with a goalie tandem of Cannata and Vanecek.

At 26, there's certainly higher upside to Cannata than there was for Ellis. He continues to improve his game and could ultimately develop into a solid AHL starter or even an NHL backup, but I have to wonder at this point just how much confidence Barry Trotz would have in him if he needed to call him up in October or November.

Grade: B

If everything goes according to plan, this will be the last Caps fans think about Cannata this season. Holtby and Grubauer will again be the Caps' top two netminders and Cannata will spend the entire year in the AHL where he has shown he can be successful. What we are talking about here is a goalie who can be successful in Hershey and who the Caps would be comfortable comfortable with for a short-term call up. Cannata checks that first box, but otherwise seems like a curious choice.

With no NHL experience, it's hard to imagine Trotz having that much faith in him. Granted, it doesn't take much experience to sit on the bench, but there are plenty of free agents available with some NHL experience that perhaps would have been a better fit. I'm not a scout and I can't tell you what they see in Cannata, but clearly they saw something that told them it was worth the risk.

Cannata's upside is a plus, but I'm not sure Hershey is better off this year with Cannata and Vanecek than last year with Peters and Ellis and I'm not sure just how much faith Trotz will have in Cannata even in the short-term.


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Will Suggs still be an impact player when he comes off PUP?

Will Suggs still be an impact player when he comes off PUP?

Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka are taking turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope leading up to veterans reporting to training camp. They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Terrell Suggs, 33-year-old outside linebacker

Best-case scenario:

Suggs makes a full recovery from Achilles injury and returns as a double-digit sack artist and three-down linebacker.

Why it could happen:

Suggs knows people are wondering how much quality football he has left. It’s dangerous to write off great players too soon. Suggs would love to silence skeptics with a strong season, and if some of the young Ravens pass rushers develop, they won’t have to overwork Suggs. If he stays healthy once he comes off the PUP list, a player with Suggs’ talent and experience can still be a valuable defensive leader.

Worst-case scenario:

The Achilles injury limits what Suggs can do, and he is no longer an impact player.

Why it could happen:

It’s asking a lot of Suggs to remain a cog in the Ravens’ defense, after 106 ½ career sacks, and entering his 14th NFL season. Sooner or later, the NFL road will end for Suggs, just like it ended for his former great defensive teammates like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It will be interesting to hear Suggs’ thoughts on his career when he meets with the media Wednesday. If 2016 is not Suggs’ last ride, the end of the journey is getting closer.