Spurs beat Wizards 100-85 in preseason finale

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Spurs beat Wizards 100-85 in preseason finale

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Tim Duncan and Stephen Jackson each scored 16 points, and the San Antonio Spurs closed the preseason with a 100-85 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Tony Parker added 16 points and Kawhi Leonard 11 for San Antonio (4-3). Duncan was 7 for 13 from the field and had 13 rebounds in 28 minutes at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs open the regular season Oct. 31 at New Orleans.

A.J. Price and Jan Vesely each scored 13 points for Washington (3-5), and Earl Barron added 12.

The Wizards visit Cleveland on Tuesday in their regular-season opener.

Washington sat its starters for much of the fourth quarter after leading most of the game.

Jackson hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run at the close of the third quarter as the Spurs took a 74-66 lead after a slow start.

Washington held a 40-27 lead with 9 minutes left in the first half following an 18-8 run. The Wizards built their lead as the Spurs' starters sat for about eight minutes bridging the first and second quarters.

San Antonio rallied once its starting lineup returned, with Parker scoring eight points in an 18-5 run.

Boris Diaw scored on a fast-break layup to give San Antonio a 61-59 lead, its first since holding a 4-2 advantage. Parker set up Diaw's basket with a diving save out of bounds on a Washington miss.

The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, who sat out with back spasms.

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Grading Capitals' offseason moves: Signing Brett Connolly

Grading Capitals' offseason moves: Signing Brett Connolly

The quest for the Stanley Cup doesn't begin on the ice, but during the offseason as general managers build their teams for the upcoming campaign. The Caps have made a number of moves this summer to try to make their team better and get over the playoff hump.

Let's break down and grade each move the team made this offseason to help figure out whether it was the right move for the team.

Today's move: Signing Brett Connolly

The Caps entered free agency with very few needs, but one need they did have was for a right wing for the fourth line who could cycle in and out of the lineup.

While teams threw their money around as free agency began, the Caps were very quiet, looking for need and potential. They found it in the form of Brett Connolly.

Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Connolly was a the sixth overall pick of the 2010 draft. Despite some good early play in his professional career, he was soon overshadowed by the Lightning’s impressive crop of young talent. Injuries further hampered him in Tampa and eventually in Boston.

Despite his struggles, the Caps see the same potential in him that led him to be drafted so high.

“He's got good size, he skates well, he's got good hands, he shoots the puck well, he just hasn't seemed to put it together yet consistently,” MacLellan said.

MacLellan sees more from Tom Wilson going forward which will mean a promotion from the fourth line to the third. That leaves a spot open on the fourth which Connolly will presumably fill. The Caps, however, are prepared to let his play determine that.

“He could play anywhere,” MacLellan said. “I mean it's up to him. We told him, you've got to come in and you've got to earn it. You've got to show the coaches. You've got to gain some respect and we'll see where you fit in. I mean he could play third line, fourth line, it's up to him.”

Grade: A

Whenever a team decides to walk away from a player player, it’s important to replace him with something better. Otherwise, what was the point? The Caps chose not to re-sign Michael Latta, but instead brought in a player with a much higher ceiling in Connolly.

This move is low-risk, high-reward. Seriously, where is the downside here? Connolly is signed for one year at $850,000. Despite his struggles, he is only 24 and when healthy has demonstrated he still has plenty of skill. If he does play well, he becomes a restricted agent at the end of the season and the Caps can easily retain his rights.

If he continues to fail to live up to that potential, it’s not as if the Caps will have a major hole on their top line. The Caps can plug in Stanislav Galiev or any of the several prospects waiting for their shot at the NHL and not miss a beat. Then they can cut Connolly loose at the end of the season.

Let’s be realistic here. Sometimes when fans see where a player was drafted, it’s easy to begin thinking that he will suddenly emerge as that top-tier player. It’s doubtful that Connolly is going to suddenly emerge as a top line winger, but he has the potential to become a solid player.

If he doesn’t, well it was worth a shot.

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Turner back in CF, Strasburg starts as Nats face Indians

Turner back in CF, Strasburg starts as Nats face Indians

Nationals (58-42) vs. Indians (57-41) at Progressive Field

After losing in walk-off fashion in the opener on Tuesday night, the Nats have a quick turnaround with a 12:10 p.m. start on Wednesday against the Indians.

On the mound will be Stephen Strasburg (13-1, 2.83), who is hoping to bounce back from his worst game of the season. He gave up six earned runs on seven hits and two homers in six innings against the Dodgers last week.

Pitching for Cleveland will be right-hander Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 2.31). He pitched six shutout innings with just one hit allowed against the Royals his last time out.

The Nats are rolling with the same lineup as Tuesday night with Trea Turner in center field and Bryce Harper batting second.

First pitch: 12:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Stephen Strasburg vs. Indians - Carlos Carrasco

NATS

CF Trea Turner
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
C Wilson Ramos
DH Jayson Werth
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
LF Ben Revere
(RHP Stephen Strasburg)

INDIANS

1B Carlos Santana
2B Jason Kipnis
SS Francisco Lindor
DH Mike Napoli
3B Jose Ramirez
RF Lonnie Chisenhall
LF Rajai Davis
CF Tyler Naquin
C Chris Gimenez
(RHP Carlos Carrasco)

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Those flowers next to Chief Zee's casket are from Santana Moss

Those flowers next to Chief Zee's casket are from Santana Moss

The funeral for Zema Williams, the Redskins superfan better known to thousands as Chief Zee, is being held on Wednesday in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Some photos from the services show that plenty of the team's supporters are attending in order to say goodbye to one of its most dedicated, but another touching picture proves at least one player is thinking of Williams, too.

Santana Moss, who wore the Burgundy and Gold for a decade and posted this tribute to Williams after he died last week, sent along a bouquet of flowers, a photo and a message to the church where the funeral is being held, all of which ended up next to the icon's casket:

"Rest in paradise Chief Zee," the note reads. "With Love, Santana Moss & Family." The accompanying picture is from the famous Redskins-Cowboys game in 2005, where Moss caught two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stun Dallas in their own stadium.

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