Mystics have lost that winning feeling

788310.png

Mystics have lost that winning feeling

The matchup: The matchup: In their final game before the month-long Olympic break, the Mystics rocked The New York Liberty on their home court. Since then, Washington has struggled mightily to win anywhere.The Mystics (5-24) look to snap an eight-game losing streak and win only their second road game of the season Wednesday in Newark, where the Liberty (12-17) are playing their home games this season. Based on how the team has played during the second half of the season and particularly during the past two games, which sounds like a daunting task. Washington lost to Los Angeles and Atlanta by an average of 26.5 points and dropped seven of 10 post-Olympic games by at least 12 points.Cappie Pondexter, the WNBA's third leading scorer with 20.3 points per game, leads a Liberty squad tied with Chicago for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. New York, coming off an upset win over Los Angeles, has taken two of three against Washington this season, including a 79-73 revenge home victory on Sept. 1 behind 20 points from Essence Carson and 16 by Pondexter. Washington committed 17 turnovers.In the recent meeting Monique Currie scored 20 points and Crystal Langhorne, the Mystics leading scorer and rebounder on the season, had 19 points and 8 rebounds. After Wednesday's meeting the teams will wrap up the season series Sunday at the Verizon Center.Last time out: Just when it appeared things could not get worse for the Mystics, coming off a 28 point home loss to the Sparks, Washington endured a 93-68 beating by Atlanta on Sunday. The Dream shot 58 percent from the field while holding the Mystics, the WNBAs lowest scoring team, to a 36.5 percent clip (23 of 63). Crystal Langhorne and Noelle Quinn each scored 12 points for the Mystics, who once again coughed away possession after possession, committing 17 turnovers. Langhorne loves Liberty: The 6-foot-2 power forwards scoring has dipped this season over her previous campaign for the first time during her five-year WNBA career but thats certainly not been the case against New York. After posting a career-high 18.2 points per game in 2011, Langhorne is averaging 15.3 points despite shooting a robust 56 percent from the field. Some blame lies with her free throw shooting; the former University of Maryland star is making only 64.3 percent of her attempts, Langhornes lowest since her rookie season. Against the Liberty, the points are flowing. Langhorne has twice scored 24 points and is averaging 22.3 points in three games against New York this season while making 9 of 11 free throws (81.8 percent).

Quick Links

Kings no longer have DeMarcus Cousins to blame for dysfunction

Kings no longer have DeMarcus Cousins to blame for dysfunction

NEW ORLEANS – Now that DeMarcus Cousins is finally gone from the Sacramento Kings, after six-plus long years of failure and acrimony, it’s all on them to prove that the three-time All-Star dubbed “Bad Attitude” was the problem.

In typical Kings fashion, they upstaged the All-Star Game itself Sunday by executing a trade to send Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and a first- and second-round draft pick.

Monday, GM Vlade Divac said this at a news conference that made the deal official: “It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization. Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward."

The thinly veiled shot at Cousins lacking proper character aside, Divac is going to have a difficult time spinning it. While what he said might be true, it doesn't appear to be a good return for a known quantity in Cousins, who is averaging a career-high 29.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and a career-high 5.1 assists. For this deal to work out in the Kings' favor, it requires good decsion-making from a front office that seems immune to sound judgments.

[RELATED: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins]

Cousins had eye-popping numbers, but there were drawbacks such as 45.1% field-goal shooting for a 6-11 big man -- at least 10 points below where it should be -- and just a 24-33 record to show for it.  Defensively, Cousins' effort alone leaves much to be desired. But ever since Cousins was taken fifth overall in the 2010 draft, this marriage hasn’t worked.

Given where the Pelicans (23-34) are, this move represents a no-lose situation for them. They landed another All-Star to play next to Anthony Davis and were able to keep point guard Jrue Holiday in the process.

Cousins’ value around the NBA clearly wasn’t as high as most people liked to have believed. And the Kings’ bad roster decisions, coaching hires and handling of Cousins had as much to do with his decreasing value as Cousins himself. They undermined their own leverage with him in the market.

Owner Vivek Ranadive loves Hield as much as he did Nik Stauskas. The Kings tried to trade up to acquire Hield last year before New Orleans nabbed him with the No. 6 pick. He averages just 8.6 points and shoots 39.2% from three-point range. 

Stauskas was the No. 8 overall pick of the Kings in 2014, He lasted one season before Ranadive, who made the pick, got bored of him and sent him on his way. Stauskas is now with the Philadelphia 76ers with a career average of 7.1 points and 34.1% shooting from three.

It's difficult to be optimistic about anything that the Kings do. They waived Matt Barnes to facilitate the deal to gt Hield and Evans. And truth be told, despite Barnes' public perception he's regarded as a great teammate and locker rook influence by other respected veterans in the league.

Now Cousins has a chance to put another nail in the coffin of the Kings under the Ranadive-Divac regime and prove he wasn't the primary problem. They'll have no one to blame anymore, except each other.

[RELATED: John Wall reacts to DeMarcus Cousins' trade]

Quick Links

Career night propels Melo Trimble to another Big Ten Player of the Week award

Career night propels Melo Trimble to another Big Ten Player of the Week award

Melo Trimble is the straw that stirs the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins' drink, and during the team's most important week of the regular season, we saw just how important he is.

The junior guard scored a career-high 32 points in a pivotal road victory against a NCAA Tournament-bound Northwestern team, and followed it up with 27 points in a tough road loss against then No. 11 Wisconsin.

The two-game performance was enough for the Big Ten to award Trimble with Player of the Week honors, the fourth time he has received the award.

Trimble made 12 of his 17 field goal attempts against the Wildcats, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also contributed three assists and grabbed four rebounds. Against Wisconsin, he scored the bulk of his 27 points in the second half, but struggled from the free throw line, making just 5 of his 10 attempts.

Against the Wildcats, Trimble carried the load, putting the team on his back, and it was more than enough.

He attempted to do the same against the Badgers, but needed some extra help. That's where the Terps have struggled this season. Freshman Justin Jackson, Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan have the ability to do so, but they are still just freshman, meaning consistent output on the road late in the season is far from a guarantee.

But one thing is for sure, Melo Trimble continues to prove that he is the type of player that can single-handily carry a team to the NCAA Tournament's second weekend.

The Big Ten knows this, and it won't be long before the rest of the country does too.

RELATED: TERPS CONTINUE TO SLIDE DOWN AP TOP 25 POLL