The matchup: Back home after opening the second half of the season with three out of four road games, the Mystics host Atlanta on Friday (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). Washington (5-17) dropped all three of those away contests, but in between downed Chicago in overtime at the Verizon Center. The Mystics remain last in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games behind Chicago and New York for the final playoff spot. The Dream (11-11), third in the East, are led by gold medalist Angel McCoughtry and ex-Mystic Lindsey Harding. Playing head-to-head for the first time this season, Washington and Atlanta will meet four times over the final month of the regular season. Last season the Dream took three of five games in the series.Last time out: The Mystics became the latest victim of the sizzling San Antonio Silver Stars, falling 75-72 on Wednesday. Playing their fourth game in six days, the Mystics shot 3 of 13 in the first quarter and were outscored 26-12 in the third. Trailing by 15 points entering the final 10 minutes, Crystal Langhorne and Monique Currie sparked a rally as Washington pulled within six midway through the fourth quarter. Jasmine Thomass 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds cut the lead to three, but San Antonio dribbled out the clock for its 12th straight win."(We) came out in the first five minutes of the second half and just lost our composure and our focus, Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said. They scored 26 points in that quarter. We fought our way back, missed some shots down the stretch, and didnt close out the game.Langhorne and Thomas paced the Mystics with 17 points while Currie added. The trio combined made 17 of 31 field goal attempts (54.8 percent) from the field while their teammates finished 10 of 31 (32.2 percent).Jumping for Jasmine: Beyond any thoughts of a playoff push, the Mystics second half of the season goal centers on generating consistent and improved production out of their younger players. Thomas, a first-round pick last season, struggled early in the season with her offense and running the Mystics attack. If the last two games are any indication, the Northern Virginia native might be turning the corner.In the win over Chicago, Thomas doled out a career-high eight assists and sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 16 remaining in overtime. Her 17 points and three 3-pointers against San Antonio matched her season-high.The Dream: McCoughtry, the WNBAs leading scorer at 22.7 points per game, didn't play in Wednesdays 82-71 won over Chicago for personal reasons, the Associated Press reported. The offensively gifted forwards status for Fridays game is uncertain, Dream coach and general manager Marynell Meadors said. Harding, who directed the Mystics attack during the 2009 and 2010 playoff campaigns, is averaging 11.5 points and 3.8 assists.
The years-long trade speculation saga for Nerlens Noel is finally over, as the Philadelphia Sixers dealt the forward to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, just hours before the 2017 NBA trade deadline.
In return the Sixers will receive Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected first round pick. That news comes from ESPN's Marc Stein:
Andrew Bogut and Justin Anderson and conditional first-round pick will be traded from Dallas to Philadelphia for Nerlens Noel, sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
That's quite the haul for Noel, to Philly's credit. Noel, 22, was playing just 19.4 minutes per night and, in the team's opinion, was not compatible with star Joel Embiid.
Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid played 8 minutes together.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 23, 2017
The Sixers are reportedly going to trade Bogut, but getting a first round pick and Anderson - a former first round pick himself - is a strong return in itself.
[RELATED: Sixers-Bulls talking Jahilil Okafor trade]
This story originally published on January 6, but has fresh relevence as the Redskins are running out of time to decide what to do with Kirk Cousins.
Is Kirk Cousins worth seven to eight times more than Colt McCoy? That's the question some at Redskins Park are asking, according to a source with inside knowledge of the situation.
The Redskins major question as Cousins again approaches free agency is no longer about ability. It's about cost.
The Redskins backup for two seasons now, McCoy will make a little more than $3 million in 2017. Cousins stands to make nearly $24 million in 2017 if he plays under the franchise tag.
Price will determine a long-term deal for Cousins. Undoubtedly, the Redskins starter will have teams interested across the NFL, and former agent Joel Corry suggested a multi-year deal for Cousins could land near Andrew Luck's 2016 contract. That deal included nearly $90 million guaranteed over a six-year, $139 million span.
Since he was named the starter in 2015, Cousins has put up impressive stats, passing for more than 9,000 yards in two seasons, completing 68 percent of his passes and throwing 54 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.
While Cousins has established himself as an NFL starting quarterback, one question inside Redskins Park is how much of that success can be replicated while saving a tremendous amount of money.
McCoy's career numbers are not impressive, but as a young passer he played on some awful teams in Cleveland and San Francisco while dealing with concussions and injuries.
In his only real shot in Jay Gruden's pass-first, quick-read system, McCoy played in five games during the 2014 season with four starts. In only three games did McCoy take all of the snaps at QB, but in those games he passed for 890 yards, an average of 296 yards per game, while completing 70.5 percent of his passes.
Project those numbers over 16 games, and McCoy would get to 4,736 passing yards. In 2015, Cousins' first full year as starter, he broke the Redskins season passing record with 4,166 yards. This past season, Cousins broke that record and nearly reached 5,000 passing yards, ending just short at 4,917 yards.
Granted it’s just a projection, and McCoy has a significant injury history, but his yardage totals would look to be similarly productive with Cousins’ 2015 and 2016 seasons. On the flip side, in those three full games, McCoy threw three touchdowns and three interceptions while being sacked 15 times. Project those numbers, and it's 16 TDs with 16 picks and a preposterous 80 sacks.
McCoy does not have the same arm strength as Cousins, but the former Texas Longhorn star is more adept at making plays with his feet and off-schedule, something Gruden said he wanted to see more of from Cousins.
Unlike last year, there is no more debate if Cousins is a legit NFL starter.
Now, Washington must decide if they should pay Cousins like some of the best in the league, or if the team can get 80 to 90 percent of the production at a fraction of the cost.