Three straight golds for Walsh, May-Treanor

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Three straight golds for Walsh, May-Treanor

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- For 11 years, they have been Kerri and Misty, the most recognizable faces in Olympic beach volleyball and a team that dominated the sport. No one could beat them in the Summer Games. And no one will get another chance. In their final competition together, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings beat fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross to extend their Olympic record to 21-0 and win their third gold medal in a row. May-Treanor said she will retire from international play, perhaps to coach and definitely to spend time with her husband, Matt, a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who also travels often for his job. "This is my last match," May-Treanor said. "Beach volleyball's not going to be my career anymore. ... It's time for me to be a wife. I want to be a mom and share time with my family. All of us as athletes sacrifice more on the family end than people realize. And it's getting back to that. My mind says it's time. My body says it's time. And it's the right time." The match started with nearby Big Ben pealing the hour and ended with the "Star-Spangled Banner" rising from the iconic venue in the Prime Minister's backyard, just down the Mall from the royal residence at Buckingham Palace. Playing on Henry VIII's former jousting tiltyard, with the current Prince Harry in the crowd, Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor continued their reign as champions of the beach. "I'm just really proud to finish the journey with Misty how we finished it," Walsh Jennings said. "It's been 11 years of really, really fun and crazy times. She's the best there ever has been. To have been with her so long and call her a dear, dear friend and a sister now is the greatest gift ever. I'm glad she went out on top." Dominating the sport for three Olympiads, Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor have won every match they've ever played at the Summer Games and lost just one of 43 sets. No one had ever won even two beach volleyball gold medals before the Americans won their second straight in Beijing. No woman had ever won three Olympic beach volleyball medals of any kind. "I know how hard it is to win one tournament. And the amount of tournaments they've won is crazy," said Kessy, who jumped for joy on the medal podium after she and Ross won silver in their Olympic debuts. "For them to do it for years and years and to be on top is just really impressive. We learn a lot from them." Earlier Wednesday, Brazil's Juliana and Larissa beat Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China to win the bronze. Brazil's Emanuel and Alison are scheduled to play Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany in the men's gold-medal match on Thursday night. Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia are slated to play Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil of the Netherlands for the bronze. Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor pulled away midway through the first set of the title match and were never threatened in the second, falling to their knees and hugging as Ross' serve went long on match point. Then they took the celebration to the stands, circling the stadium that was built on the 500-year-old parade grounds now used by the Queen's household cavalry. Walsh Jennings covered her bare shoulders with an American flag and grabbed her children; the older one was a little scared. They high-fived the Horse Guards Parade Dance Team and volunteers and just about anyone holding an American flag. And, with both teams in the final from the United States, there were a lot of them. "It's one thing to play an Olympic final. It's another to play against a team from your county you know so well," said Walsh Jennings, who played with Kessy on a U.S. junior team. "I think the only reason Misty and I are gold medalists is because of those two. They push us so hard. They're one of my favorite teams to beat because they're so good. They've been one of the top teams in the world since they got together. I'm just really grateful that we've had them to come up against because they've made a big difference in our career." May-Treanor returned to the sand for a funky jig to rival the scantily clad dance team that helped bring the beach party atmosphere to the sold-out crowds in central London. "I was like, 'I hope I'm not rubbing it in anybody's face,' but I was so excited," said May-Treanor, a competitor on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2008 before she tore her left Achilles tendon in rehearsal and missed a year on the pro tour. "I just had to get out there and let it out." Matt Treanor watched the gold-medal match in the team's clubhouse on a balky Internet connection that made him miss the final few points. "I'm just real proud of her," he said in the Dodger Stadium dugout. "I am sure she is much more comfortable on the court than I am watching her." During the medal ceremony, the four Americans hugged after receiving their prizes and stood facing the two American flags raised during the national anthem. Despite both a shutout in the men's tournament, the United States matched its best finish since beach volleyball was added to the Olympics in 1996. "I'm happy to be sitting next to another American team up here," May-Treanor said. "For both of us to be in the gold-medal match, it says a lot about our sport, a lot about the teams up here. ... I'm proud about both of us. And I'm just happy about the four of us really sharing this moment. They have no reason to hang their heads down."

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Grizzlies

5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Grizzlies

Here are five plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 104-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center that are worth revisiting...

1. Veteran Jason Smith had another solid game for the Wizards off their bench with eight points, three rebounds, a block and two steals. One of those steals led to a one-man fastbreak where Smith threw the hammer down with a big slam. Wizards Twitter went nuts over this one:

And here are a few extra angles of Smith's dunk. Notice the slight pause once he landed for effect:

2. Markieff Morris also had a few dunks of his own, including this putback slam after a missed shot by John Wall. This was one of Morris' 12 rebounds. He had a double-double for the second consecutive game, the first time he's done that since January of 2015 when he was with the Suns:

Wall didn't get an assist for that one, but he did for this Morris dunk:

3. Okay, fine. You want more dunks? This was probably the best one of the game. Bradley Beal drove baseline and finished with a double pump, two-handed slam:

4. Otto Porter was the star of the game for the Wizards with 25 points including a career-high six threes. His sixth was this well-timed shot in the fourth quarter:

Let's take another look at that celebration. Otto was feeling it:

5. Wall saved his best for last. On this play he caught Marc Gasol sleeping with a half-spin move that led to an open lane to the basket once he drove baseline:

The Wizards won their 13th straight game at home and it was yet another fun one.

[RELATED: Why aren't Wall, Beal getting more national recognition?]

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Takeaways from Wizards' win over tough Grizzlies team

Takeaways from Wizards' win over tough Grizzlies team

The Memphis Grizzlies may be more of a finesse team than in years past because of their 3-point shooting, but they went back to their grind-it-out roots to erase most of a 19-point lead before the Wizards held off a late charge to win their 13th in a row at Verizon Center, 104-101, on Wednesday night in front of 15,079.

John Wall posted his 24th double-double (25 points, 13 assists), Markieff Morris has his fourth (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Otto Porter (25 points) did most of his damage in the first half when he had 17. Bradley Beal (12 points) had a rough shooting night at 4-for-14 from the field.

Porter was quiet with just two points in the third quarter, but he knocked down two 3-pointers — two of a career-high six for the game — to stretch the lead for Washington (22-19) back to double-digits.

Marc Gasol (28 points) was the leading scorer for Memphis (25-19) but didn’t make any 3-point shots. It was the center’s three at the end of regulation that sent the Oct. 30 game into overtime that they won. The Wizards led that game 96-88 with a bit more than three minutes left.

Gasol was supported by the play of JaMychal Green (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Mike Conley (20 points, six assists).

The Wizards led 97-89 with 3:11 left in this one and had it whittled to 97-95 after three free throws from Gasol and a three from Conley at 2:34.

But Wall didn’t settle when Gasol switched out onto him for a crucial layup with the shot clock winding down and squeezed through the seam of the help for a layup. After a steal by Porter, Wall pulled the ball back on the baseline and then reversed to attack Gasol again for a layup and a 101-95 lead with 1:45 to seal it.

[RELATED: Wizards' 90's Night sounds awesome]

--When Wall left the game to end the first quarter, the Wizards were ahead 30-24. When he returned midway through the second, the margin expanded to 48-34 because of another solid performance by the bench with Jason Smith (eight points, three rebounds) and Trey Burke (five points) factoring in early.

--Wall was angry on a no-call on a drive to the basket with 3:44 left in the first quarter and was assessed his ninth technical foul of the season. That puts him at fourth-most in the NBA with 41 games left.  If he reaches 11, the penalty will rise to $4,000. Smith picked up his first technical of the season.

--Morris rushed his first two shots of the third quarter when he would’ve been better off passing the ball back out, resetting and then going at his man. The Wizards had trouble dealing with how much more physical the Grizzlies were out of the locker room, not getting their first field goal until 6:51 on a layup from Wall. The Grizzlies were willing to rack of fouls if it meant slowing the pace and they succeeded. Had them in the penalty shooting two free throws on each foul about a minute before that but only attempted six.

--Tony Allen picked up two fouls in a five-second span of the third and had to go to the bench with four fouls. Beal was able to attack aggressive close outs for a pair of dunks but missed chances at all three open 3-point looks. Allen fouled out with 6:16 left. 

[RELATED: After best game of career, Wizards' rookie gets confidence back]