The matchup: Though still bringing up the rear in the WNBA's Eastern Conference, the Washington Mystics enter the finale of their four-game homestand on a winning note. Only stringing together a bunch more victorieswill equal the roll San Antonio is currently on.The Mystics (3-10) snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday by scoring their most points this season in a 90-77 win over Phoenix. Crystal Langhorne tallied 22 points, hitting 9 of 12 shots in the victory and the Mystics bench scoring helped push the team into the winner's circle. "Anytime you win it's very calming,'' said Langhorne, who leads the Mystics with 16.5 points and 6.9 rebounds. "When you keep losing, it's stressful. To get this win, it's a good feeling.''Washington will need another power display from the power forward on Friday (7 p.m.) when facing San Antonio (9-5), the hottest team in the league. Led by point guard and 13-year veteran Becky Hammon, the Silver Stars have won five straight including an 88-72 triumph over Indiana on Thursday.Washington has lost three straight in the series, including 73-67 last July at the Verizon Center. Hammon, the WNBA leader in assists (5.6) this season, scored 22 points in that matchup and she directs a squad that averages a robust 82 points per game on the season and has proven even more potent during the winning streak.With slow starts the norm, the Mystics average 70 points per game, ranking next-to-last in the WNBA.Last time out: For the first time all season, the Mystics led after the first quarter, shooting 64.7 percent over the opening 10 minutes for a27-18 lead. Perhaps more importantly, they showed they knew how to hold the early advantage. Washington never trailed and scored a season-high 50 points in the first half.Langhorne, who scored 11 in the first quarter, received offensive help off the bench from Noelle Quinn (18 points) and rookie Natalie Novosel, who finished with a career-best 12.I think the starters came in they really set it-up well and when the second team came in I think we were the energy," said Novosel, the Mystics first-round pick out of Notre Dame. Quinn for the win: Early in the season, Mystics coach Trudi Lacey moved Quinn into the starting lineup. Her first year in Washington, the 6-foot guard remained in her off-the-ball role until the latest rotation tinkering sent her to the bench before facing the Mercury. Perhaps that is where she belonged all along as Quinn hit a flurry of jumpers in the second and third quarters, the latter buckets stymying a Phoenix comeback."It's a good look for me," said Quinn, perhaps stating the obvious about coming off the bench after posting her season-high point total. "It makes me come in there knowing that I have to be a difference maker."Comeback stars: Before landing in D.C, the San Antonio stopped in Indiana Thursday night for a meeting against the Fever. The Silver Stars played sick early, trailing by 18 points. They clearly figured out a cure at halftime, roaring back for a stunning 88-72 win. Hammon flashed her scoring touch with a team-high19 points as San Antonio outscored Indiana 60-27 in the second half. Jia Perkins scored 17 points off the bench and Sophia Young, San Antionio's leading scorer (16.6), added 15.
CLEVELAND – Short-handed with Bojan Bogdanovic unable to play because of a sore lower back and Ian Mahinmi sore but available because of his left hip, the Wizards still had more than enough firepower to deal the Cleveland Cavaliers a resounding defeat.
Before tipoff Saturday, coach Scott Brooks didn’t expect to miss anyone but that quickly changed. Bogdanovic, who has averaged 14.8 points and 40.5% three-point shooting, is their best scorer off the bench since being acquired in a trade last month.
The Wizards have Sunday off after a back-to-back set in which they went 2-0 with a game Tuesday at the L.A. Lakers. Bogdanovic should be able to return to the lineup.
“He went through some warmups and his back tightened up on him,” Brooks said. “It was news to me. But we’re building the culture, like a lot of teams are, next man up. Our guys stepped up and played well. You can’t worry about what you don’t have.”
Kelly Oubre received extened time with 26 minuttes to post 16 points and seven rebounds ss well as some tenacious defense.
Mahinmi had a collision with Richard Jefferson in the first half that sent him to the floor in pain. Mahinmi stayed down for a while because Jefferson's knee caught him. He told CSNmidatlantic.com after the game that it was a hip pointer and that he could've returned.
Mahinmi only played nine minutes and didn't score. Brooks opted to use a small lineup with Markieff Morris at the five instead of Mahinmi or starter Marcin Gortat as they pulled away in the fourth.
The Caps found themselves in a tight game in the third period, but a three-goal flurry led to the 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions for the game.
1. Washington will not lead after the first period - Wrong
If you came late and saw the score was 1-1, you may have thought the Caps were looking ahead and got off to a bad start against a non-playoff team. That’s not what happened. The first period was arguably the Caps’ best of the night. It certainly was the most dominant. The game may have been won with a quick flurry in the third, but the Caps got off to a great start and lead Arizona 1-0 after the first 20 minutes.
2. Braden Holtby will allow one goal or fewer - Correct
Arizona had three shots on goal in the first period. Three. That’s not going to get it done against Holtby. The Coyotes made him work for it in the second and third period and finished with 29 shots on goal for the game, but if you spot Holtby a free first period, it’s going to be hard to beat him enough times to get the win.
3. Both teams will combine for fewer than five power plays – Wrong
This game wasn’t any more physical than I anticipated, but it was faster. That led to a lot of stick penalties. Both teams gave up a combined total of eight power plays on Saturday and all of them except Tom Wilson’s double-minor for roughing were stick penalties.
2017 Results: How does the saying go, one out of three ain’t bad? That’s definitely how that saying goes, right?
MORE CAPITALS: Winnik comes up huge on a night when the Caps needed a hero