INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A strong performance against the Washington Mystics has pushed the Indiana Fever a bit closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.Katie Douglas scored 18 points to lead the Fever to an 83-68 victory over the Mystics on Tuesday night.Tamika Catchings had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Fever (14-8), who have won five of six since returning from the Olympic break and continue their race for the No. 1 spot in the East.Reserve Noelle Quinn had 13 points and five rebounds for the Mystics (5-18), while Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton scored 10.The Fever went on a 10-2 run in the third quarter and led by as many as 14 points in sending the Mystics to their fifth loss in the last six games.The Fever took a 2-1 series lead on the Mystics this season. The teams meet for the final time Sept. 21."We came out much better in the second half," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "We won the boards again. We are getting continued help from our bench. We are definitely benefiting from the Olympic break."Shavanta Zellous hit a 3-pointer to spark the run with 6:19 left in the third."It's all about our 11 players and each and every night somebody different provides the energy and spark for us," Douglas said.While Douglas led in scoring, Zellous, at times, was the spark on her 26th birthday. She had 13 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.The Fever pushed it to 56-44 midway in the third quarter when Catchings was fouled on a layup at the 4:41 mark.Douglas scored on a layup to give the Fever a 58-44 lead, their largest of the game to that point."I thought we played hard and it was a physical game," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "They made their run in the third quarter and we couldn't close it."Jessica Davenport made two free throws to give the Fever a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter and they went on to lead 43-37 at halftime."We started off well," Quinn said. "Gave up too many three-point shots. In the third quarter we fell on our Achilles heel and let too many three-point baskets be made today."Indiana made 10 3-pointers, reaching double figures in that category for the seventh time this season.Veteran forward Iziane Castro Marques made her first appearance with Washington when she entered the game with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The Mystics signed the free agent on Sunday. She had four points.NOTES: With four assists, Douglas surpassed Nikki Teasley for 15th place on the all-time career assists list. ... Indiana's 53.6 percent shooting is the second-best shooting performance this season. ... Washington's 23 rebounds is the fewest by an Indiana opponent this season.
The Wizards have returned from the All-Star break with two consecutive losses and a very difficult schedule ahead of them, beginning with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. But Washington doesn't have to search far to know that it could be much worse.
The Toronto Raptors, who are one seed behind the Wizards in the Eastern Conference at fourth, were handed a significant blow on Monday as All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry had surgery to remove loose bodies in his right wrist. The hope now is that he can return for the playoffs, meaning it's very possible he will miss the remainder of the Raptors' 23 regular season games.
Lowry, 30, is a key player for the 35-24 Raptors who are behind the 34-23 Wizards based on a slim margin in winning percentage. The Wizards are in third with a .593 winning percentage, while Toronto is just behind them at .593. The two teams square off twice in a back-to-back with a game in Toronto on Wednesday and a rematch in Washington on Friday.
Lowry is having his best year with career-highs of 22.8 points per game and a 46.3 field goal percentage. His loss is a major obstacle for the Raptors who will now turn to others. They have two backup point guards listed on their roster, Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet, but they have a combined one year of NBA experience.
The timing of Lowry's injury is also tough, given the NBA trade deadline just passed last Thursday. They added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker through trades, but neither play the point guard position.
The Raptors losing Lowry doesn't guarantee anything for the Wizards or anyone else in the East, but it does weaken one of the biggest threats at the top as the season gets closer and closer to the home stretch where playoff seeding will become more important.
The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.
The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.
A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.
This year's team is a hairy bunch.
Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:
But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:
Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:
Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...
...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:
There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:
And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):
The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:
One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around.