Guard Snee practices, but questionable for Giants

Guard Snee practices, but questionable for Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) One of the constants on the New York Giants offensive line over the last seven-plus seasons may be missing when they face the Bengals in Cincinnati.

Chris Snee practiced for the first time this week on Friday and his status for Sunday's game has been listed as questionable because of a sprained ankle.

The son-in-law of coach Tom Coughlin, Snee has missed starting only one game at right guard since 2005. That was last year when he was sidelined by a concussion.

``I'd love to be out there, but that's a decision we haven't made yet,'' Snee said after practicing on a limited basis on Friday. ``You can talk to the head guy.''

Coughlin said much will depend on how Snee feels on Sunday. He would not say who would replace Snee if he cannot to play, but the Giants (6-3) are flexible. The most likely scenario would have David Diehl move from right tackle to guard and replace him with Sean Locklear, who started the first eight games at either left or right tackle with injuries to Will Beatty and Diehl.

Snee rolled an ankle in the first quarter vs. Pittsburgh, but never left the loss. He said his ankle has improved since being hurt and said he will give an honest assessment of his condition on Sunday. Guard Kevin Boothe, for one, expects Snee to play.

``He probably needed a couple of days of rest,'' Boothe quipped, ``because he is getting up there in years and age.''

Center David Baas was joking with a member of the medical staff about Snee being a pain in the neck for the trainers, something Snee would not dispute.

``I just don't like to be in there, so maybe that's the reason why he says that,'' Snee said. ``I don't like to be out. I don't like to miss practice. I don't like to be in there. I don't like to miss things with my teammates, so that's probably why I'm not the happiest camper in there, which is a good thing.''

Under offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, the Giants have made all their linemen learn more than one position on the line.

Baas can play guard and center. The same for Boothe. Beatty and Locklear can play either tackle spot. Diehl is the most versatile. In his 10 seasons, he has started at both guard and tackle positions for entire seasons. Last year, when Beatty was hurt, he moved from left guard to left tackle.

``I don't think it's rare,'' Baas said. ``It's happening more and more now and it really helps with depth. That's good for our team that we have that.''

Baas added that knowing two positions helps the line to work together.

``I played many years at guard (in San Francisco) and thought the center had it easy,'' Baas said. ``When I started playing center it was a little eye-opening. It's good you get the different perspectives and the more positions you know, it just makes it that much better.''

Having started 110 of the last 111 games and being a member of two Super Bowl-champion teams, Snee can afford to miss a practice. And his teammates, when they get serious, realize his true value.

``You don't worry about him,'' Boothe said. ``I don't think anybody on the team is worried about him. He is as tough as they come.''

And as experienced.

``Missing a couple of reps is not the worst thing in my opinion,'' Snee said. ``I have been in this offense for nine years. I have a firm handle on it.''

And if he can't go?

``We roll however we have to roll,'' Baas said. ``I know he wants to be out there.''

The Giants received some good news on the injury front when middle linebacker Chase Blackburn practiced without restrictions Friday and was listed as probable. The Ohio native missed last week with a hamstring injury.

``It's going to be nice to go back to the great state and enjoy it a little bit and have the family there,'' Blackburn said. ``Hopefully, it will be a win that I can celebrate.''

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NOTES: The Giants listed safety Kenny Phillips (knee), linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring) as out for the game. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) were also questionable. Defensive tackle Chris Canty (groin), receiver Hakeem Nicks, tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle), running back Andre Brown (shoulder) and Baas (ankle-elbow) were listed as probable. ... The Giants are 1-1 vs. the AFC North.

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Takeaways from the Wizards' huge win over Cavs in Cleveland behind John Wall's monster game

Takeaways from the Wizards' huge win over Cavs in Cleveland behind John Wall's monster game

CLEVELAND – From the beginning, the focus that the Wizards had lacked in a recent spate of games since the All-Star break was back. And with 24 first-half points from John Wall, they got ahead early and stayed there as they begin a five-game road trip in style by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Wall (37 points, 11 assists) had his 47th double-double and Bradley Beal (27 points, six assists) were better than LeBron James (24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) and Kyrie Irving (23 points, four assists) as they finally won a game in the season series.

The Cavs (47-25) took it 2-1, but this victory was about more than just this game. It avenged an epic 140-135 overtime loss in D.C. on Feb. 6 when James banked in a three to force the extra session and Beal scored 41.

It keeps the Wizards (45-28) ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the East and re-establishes them as a legitimate contender after so-so performances with losses to the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks and Raptors, the latter of whom own the tiebreaker because they won the season series 2-1.

The start was fast and furious. Wall made 8 of 8 shots in the first quarter as he got into the paint, was confident in pulling up for jump shots when defenders went under the screen and was too much for Irving to handle.

When the Cavs went to Deron Williams, who has traditionally not fared well in the matchup with Wall, it wasn’t much better.

Jason Smith (10 points) was a spark off the bench as his putback with 1.1 seconds gave them a 71-61 lead at halftime when the lead was reduced to single digits. But it was Kelly Oubre (16 points, seven rebounds, steal) who did the trick in the second half. Markieff Morris (14 points) and Marcin Gortat (10 points, five rebounds) also had success but most of that came before the fourth quarter.

Oubre continued his streak of inspired play on both ends, having several key putbacks off missed shots late to push the lead to 115-105. Every time the Cavs produced a bucket, the Wizards matched to keep comfortably ahead.

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 5: Things to clean up before the playoffs]

Kevin Love (17 points, seven rebounds) was held in check after posting 39 points and 12 rebounds in the last meeting. Tristan Thompson (nine points) was limited, too. He had 22 and 12 on Feb. 6.

The Cavs led 8-7 in the first quarter but never again.

--Wall went at Irving with a vengeance. The Wizards cleared out his side of the floor and gave him the space to go 1 vs. 1 and finish or force help from the Cavs. When they did help, he found open players. They had no answer. Wall also pushed the ball even when he didn’t have numbers to exploit Cleveland’s uncoordinated transition defense with great success. He combined with Beal to attempt 15 free throws.

--The Wizards had gone away from establishing Gortat out of the gate in favor of more motion in the offense. But the first play was called for him as Beal set him a cross screen to get Gortat position. He drop stepped on Thompson and got the layup.

--James, who had his right cornea scratched in a win over the Hornets on Friday night, was allowed to wear eyewear for protection. But the league denied him wearing tinted ones which would give him a competitive advantage as defenders wouldn’t be able to read his eyes. James went to the foul line with 3:05 left in the first quarter and missed his first attempt. He then tossed the eyewear to the floor.

--Bojan Bogdanovic (lower back soreness) was a late scratch from the lineup. Before tipoff, coach Scott Brooks said all of his players were available but about 30 minutes before tipoff he was out. The Cavs didn’t have Iman Shumpert (knee).

--Beal had 41 points in the last meeting, taking advantage of his matchup as Irving marked him a lot early. The Cavs sent multiple bodies at him on the catch and he kept alive his dribble and beat them with the pass and began the game shooting 5-for-10 to complement Wall’s explosion. They gave Wall shots and he made them pay early. Beal had open looks constantly but shot just 2-for-6 on threes.

--Ian Mahinmi took a knee to the left hip/upper thigh and was slow to rise in the first half. He stayed in the game but only played nine minutes and didn’t return. But it wasn’t because of injury, according to the team. They simply wanted to stay small with Morris at the five late and it worked. They forced the Cavs into series turnovers in the final minutes. One put Wall in transition and shoveling a pass to Porter for a dunk. They only forced 12 turnovers but converted them into 21 points.

-- Morris didn’t pick up his first foul until 3:04 was left in the first half to prevent a breakaway. But by 1:03, he had three fouls. One came on a cheap reach-in which is what gets him into foul trouble so often. He was able to stay on the floor when the Wizards went to a small lineup in the fourth and not get into a deeper hole. He didn’t pick up his fourth until 3:37 remained.

--Oubre caused havoc in the fourth quarter. He ran out to challenge Richard Jefferson (10 points) on a three that altered the trajectory to force a miss. He jumped the passing lane to James to cause a turnover and got out in transition for the layup. The Cavs had gotten it down to a two-possession game but it was quickly back at 107-98 with 9:05 left. Oubre then cleaned up missed shots from Wall and Morris for layups to kill their momentum.

[RELATED: VIDEO: LeBron James throws glasses off court]

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Capitals beat Coyotes handily on the way to franchise record for home wins

Capitals beat Coyotes handily on the way to franchise record for home wins

Final score: Washington Capitals 4, Arizona Coyotes 1

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin scored a power play tally in the first period and it looked like the Caps would breeze through Arizona. The Coyotes had other ideas. Mike Smith kept things close through two periods and Peter Holland tied the game at 1 in the third period. Then the Caps responded with two quick goals from Daniel Winnik and Justin Williams to take back control. Winnik added the exclamation-point empty netter for the win.

What it means: The win is Washington’s 31st at home for the season which sets a new franchise record. The Caps have now won four straight games and hold a three-point lead over Columbus and Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Goals

Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson at 8:31 in the first period.  With T.J. Oshie, Johansson and Backstrom passing the puck on the far wall, they drew all four penalty killers to their side of the ice leaving Ovechkin wide open from the office. Backstrom fed him with the pass and Ovechkin wristed it home. Caps 1, Coyotes 0

Coyotes goal: Peter Holland from Anthony Duclair at 12:29 in the 3rd period. Duclair showed his jets by pouncing on a loose puck in the neutral zone and leaving everyone in his dust. Holtby made the initial breakaway save, but the trailing Holland was able to score on the rebound. Caps 1, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Daniel Winnik from Kevin Shattenkirk and Dmitry Orlov at 15:21 in the 3rd period. Orlov started the rush out of the defensive zone and found Winnik streaking down the right side with the pass. Winnik did the rest, taking the puck on net and wristing one past Smith. Caps 2, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Justin Williams from Kevin Shattenkirk at 15:53 in the 3rd period. Williams fired an innocent-looking shot from the right faceoff circle that somehow beat Smith top shelf. Caps 3, Coyotes 1

Caps goal: Daniel Winnik (empty net) from Jay Beagle and Brooks Orpik at 18:21 in the 3rd period. Caps 4, Coyotes 1

3 stars

1. Mike Smith: While the Coyotes were getting buried in shots, they weren’t getting buried in the scoreboard because of the phenomenal effort of Smith in net. He stopped 26 shots in the first two periods including a 2-on-0 opportunity for Washington in the second period to keep Arizona in the game.

2. Daniel Winnik: Winnik to the rescue! Just when the Coyotes tied the game, Winnik responded less than four minutes later to give the Caps back the lead. He then added the empty-netter with a great effort play to beat defenseman Jamie McGinn who was all over him.

3. Alex Ovechkin: If you give Ovechkin that much room on the power play, he's going to make you pay and he did with his 30th goal of the season. Ovechkin is now one of just three players to score 30 or more goals in his first 12 seasons.

Look ahead: The Capitals hit the road for a five-game road trip starting on Tuesday in Minnesota. The trip will also bring them to Colorado, Arizona, Columbus and Toronto.

Tell us what you think: The Caps could not take control of this game until Arizona tied the game at one in the third period. On Thursday, they responded only after Columbus took the 1-0 lead in the third. What is your takeaway from the Caps' clutch play in the third period of late?

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin hits 30-goal mark for 12th straight season