Dj vu all over again for Mystics, Sun

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Dj vu all over again for Mystics, Sun

As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Case in point, the Mystics contest against the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.To Washington Coach Trudi Lacey, the matinee affair was probably one of our best games. To the Verizon Center scoreboard, it was the latest loss in a season filled with frustration. The Mystics twice rallied from double-digit deficits before succumbing to the first place Sun, 77-70.With the two sides meeting up again in Connecticut on Wednesday, the Mystics (3-12) have an immediate opportunity to turn their perceived strong effort into a much-needed win. Of course, Washington is 0-3 against the Eastern Conference leaders this season and has lost seven straight in the series.In fairness to Lacey and some of her players who sang a similar optimistic tune in the postgame locker room, there were signs of improvement. Despite facing a Sun (13-4) frontline that counts two Olympians Tina Charles and Asjha Jones among its starters, the Mystics dominated the rebounding battle on both ends.Washington finished with a 38-23 edge, 15-3 off the offensive glass. In the first half, second-chance points accounted for half the teams 30 points and fueled an initial comeback which included taking a 39-38 lead in the third quarter. Crystal Langhorne paced five double figure scorers with 15 points while Michelle Snow had 10 points and 11 rebounds, six offensive. The Mystics doled out 17 assists on 28 made baskets. They held Connecticut to eight points in the second quarter.That was probably one of our best games. We had fifteen offensive rebounds, and we took care of the ball and distributed the ball, Lacey said.And yet, victory eluded them and annoyance showed.It gets frustrating because these teams are easily beatable. Its within us to overcome an obstacle thats making us not win these games. We just have to do it, said Matee Ajavon.The Mystics starting off-guard scored 13 points, but played only 19 minutes as Lacey turned elsewhere when a defensive presence was required.Northern Virginia native Kara Lawson scored 17 points and headlined a perimeter shooting effort that saw the Sun knock down 7 of 13 from beyond the arc. Two of those 3-pointers came from Tan White during a 15-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarter that turned a back-and-forth affair into a 63-52 Connecticut lead.We had a great stretch there in the third quarter that spread it out, beginning the fourth, said Lawson who made three 3s in the Suns third straight win. Tan hit some shots for us. When things arent going right for us offensively, we were able to string together some buckets and get some stops. It was a good win for us.Once again, the Mystics rallied, using a 12-4 run capped by Monique Curries bank shot to pull closer at 67-64 with 2:59 to go. However, White converted a conventional three-point play and the Sun shot 8 for 9 on free throws in the final 2:01 to seal the win. I thought down the stretch when we needed to get stops we didnt, Lacey said. We ended up putting them on the free throw line. Really, that was the difference in the game. They shot well from three, which hurt us.Following Wednesdays game, the Mystics close the first half of the season in New York on Friday before the league takes a month-long Olympic break. Washington hosts Connecticut a third time on September 4.The Sun shot well from everywhere early, making 11 straight attempts in the first quarter, four from Charles (16 points). Considering the Mystics hung tough despite that start and had a punchers chance late against a star-studded team, maybe talk of it being one of our best games is indeed fair. Of course, the scoreboard never lies.

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Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Need to Know: Under the radar issues for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 21, 16 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 8
—NFL Combine (3/2) 9
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 55
—NFL Draft (4/27) 65
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 201

Under the radar offseason issues for the Redskins

We know the top line personnel issues for the Redskins this offseason—Kirk Cousins, Jackson and Garçon, D-line, etc. Here are some other issues flying below the radar:

Who’s the backup center? Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan is a free agent. That leaves Spencer Long as the only true center under contract. Do they try to bring back Sullivan? Look for one in the draft? The free agent pool is very thin but perhaps a solid backup could get cut.

Guard depth Lichtensteiger also provided some insurance at guard to his absence hits creates a double hit on the depth chart. Right now, the only backup to Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff is Arie Kouandjio. Scherff is durable but Lauvao hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012. Unless they have more faith in Kouandjio than I suspect they do they will need depth. Perhaps they could spend a mid-round pick for depth this year and then let him compete with Kouandjio for the LG starting job assuming Lauvao moves on after his contract is up  

Need depth at cornerback The Redskins’ top two cornerbacks, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, aren’t bad. And maybe Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar are good as the No. 3 and No. 4 CB’s although they perhaps should have some stiff competition. But it’s a long season and injuries happen. They have former Seahawk Tharold Simon and Dashaun Phillips on the roster and they may re-sign Greg Toler. They probably need one or two more veterans or draft picks to compete for the last one or two spots.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

QB of the future? The most likely scenario in the Cousins saga is that he gets tagged on March 1 and if he does sign a long-term deal it will not be until closer to July 15. That would leave the Redskins in a bit of a tight sport, going through free agency and the draft not knowing if their starter at the most important position on the field will be back in 2018. What about Nate Sudfeld? Would he be ready to at least back up, presumably, Colt McCoy or another veteran? If not, do they need to look for one in the middle of draft, or perhaps earlier? If they are concerned about Cousins’ status and Sudfeld’s ability to develop into a starter this needs to be on the front burner.

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Kings-Pelicans trade puts more options on table for Wizards

Kings-Pelicans trade puts more options on table for Wizards

NEW ORLEANS -- Suddenly, the market has become flooded with names who could/will be on the move which should make for a lot of action going into Thursday afternoon's NBA trade deadline. Despite not having a lot of wiggle room, the Wizards find themselves in a better spot than anticipated.

There are a lot of sellers out there with the Sacramento Kings having waived forward Matt Barnes after trading DeMarcus Cousins.

Former Wizards guard Garrett Temple told CSNmidatlantic.com in a conversation early Monday that Barnes was one of the three best teammates he has ever had in Sacramento, and that includes stops with the Spurs, Rockets, Bucks, Hornets and four full seasons in Washington. Former Wizards Jared Dudley also chimed in during a Twitter exchange about Barnes, who is known for his fiery temper and clashing publicly with Derek Fisher over his ex-wife. 

The Wizards likely will do something to retool their bench now that they're in good position at 34-21 coming out of the All-Star break and in third place in the East. 

They could use another scorer, ideally at shooting guard behind Bradley Beal. Barnes, a 6-7, is a small forward who can play at the stretch position, too.

[RELATED: Kings no longer have Cousins to blame for dysfunction]

He averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 54 games for Sacramento this season. He was among the players brought in to help guide Cousins but became expendable when Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans were acquired in the deal. 

If a team were to claim Barnes during the 48-hour period on waivers, they'd be responsible for the balance of his $6.1 million salary for this season. It was the first year of a two-year deal for $12.5 million.

Barnes isn't the only one who could be on the market as a result of Cousins' trade. New Orleans and Sacramento appear willing to part with assests for draft picks:

Darren Collison, Kings: The point guard is averaging 13.7 points, 4.2 assists and a career-high 42.1% from the three-point line. He's a starter on a reasonable mid-level exception contract of $5.3 million and will become unrestricted this summer. But would he be in addition to Trey Burke or in place of him?

Ben McLemore, Kings: They've been willing to move the 2013 lottery pick for quite some time. A shooting guard, he averages just 6.6 points and shoots 41.2% from the field. The light appears never to have come on and he turned off the Wizards during the pre-draft process. They wanted to arrange a workout but he wasn't organized, willing or able to meet with them. They ended up taking Otto Porter which was expected, but that didn't leave a good impression. And what he's done so far in the league hasn't, either. McLemore is in the final year of his rookie scale contract that pays $4 million and will be restricted if the team that owns his rights this summer make him a qualifying offer. If not, he becomes unrestricted.

Arron Afflalo, Kings: A 6-5 shooting guard, he's likely able to be had, too. At 31, he was part of the veteran group the Kings put around Cousins to no avail. A year ago, Afflalo looked like a possible free-agent steal when he signed a two-year, $25 million deal. He's had a terrible season, averaging just 7.8 points as a starter and shooting just 43%. But defensively, which was supposed to be his strong suit, is where he has declined most. Not the same player he used to be.

Terrence Jones, Pelicans: The 6-9 forward off the bench for New Orleans wants out and its willing to let him leave. His stats are good, 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds, and he could've been had by the Wizards before this season started. Jones is on a minimum contract. His position isn't the greatest area of need for Washington, but he's better than some pieces currently not playing.  

[RELATED: Wall laughs off Westbrook moment]