Sun hold of Mystics comeback attempt

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Sun hold of Mystics comeback attempt

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- Tina Charles was determined to atone for her previous effort. The Sun's star center had 30 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Connecticut held off the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Sunday. Kara Lawson had 18 points and four assists for the Sun (4-1). Asjha Jones added 10 points, four rebounds and two steals. Charles had 20 points and 12 rebounds against the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx. But she was scoreless in the fourth quarter, however, and had just one rebound as Minnesota won 85-72. "I definitely wasn't happy with that," Charles said. "I know my role on this team. I know my team looks to me offensively and defensively, so I'm just going out there and playing hard." Charles made eight of 14 field goals in the first half for 18 points. Crystal Langhorne had 25 points and five rebounds for Washington (1-4). Reserve Jasmine Thomas made three 3-pointers and scored 17 with three steals. It was the third straight loss for the Mystics. To their credit, they continue to play hard. Washington trailed the Lynx by 24 points in the third quarter of Wednesday's game before falling on a last-second shot. The Mystics led Chicago by seven points with 1:22 left on Friday before losing at the buzzer. Washington trailed Connecticut by as much as 14 points (57-43) with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. The Mystics cut their deficit to three points (78-75) with a little over two minutes left in the game. "We have a lot of fighters on our team and we're going to keep on fighting," Langhorne said. "We're going to keep playing hard and we're going to get a win." Both teams shot exceptionally well from the field. Connecticut shot 52.5-percent (32 of 61). The Mystics shot almost as well. They made 32 of 66 shots (48.5-percent). Connecticut was clinging to a four-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game when it managed to get a little breathing room. A Lawson layup and two free throws by Kalana Greene pushed the Sun ahead, 84-76, with 1:06 remaining. The Mystics continued to fire away at Connecticut, though. Thomas and Noelle Quinn made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut their team's deficit to 90-86 with 19.5 seconds left. The Sun's Allison Hightower and Danielle McCray each made two free throws to end the scoring. Connecticut made a franchise-record 19 free throws (on 21 attempts) in the fourth quarter. It made 17 free throws against the now-defunct Charlotte Sting on July 6, 2006. "We knew when we got a double-digit lead in the third quarter that we'd have to execute and play well in the fourth," Lawson said. "They made a good run at us and made some threes down the stretch, but we made our free throws." Neither team could stop the other in the fourth quarter with the Mystics outscoring the Sun, 36-35. The 35 points tied a Connecticut franchise record. The Sun also set a franchise record for points in a half with 60 in the second half. They scored 59 against Minnesota on Aug. 3, 2010.

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Two disallowed goals sink Flyers as Caps earn first win after the bye

Two disallowed goals sink Flyers as Caps earn first win after the bye

Final score: Washington Capitals 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1

How it happened: The Flyers scored just 23 seconds in, but Barry Trotz came up with a heads up challenge for goalie interference that revealed that Dale Weise pushed Braden Holtby. In the second period, the Flyers had what they thought was their first goal, but replay showed the shot hit off the crossbar and never crossed the line. After two disallowed goals, the Flyers could not recover.

Washington responded to the lifeline in the first period with goals from Nicklas Backstrom and a laser from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Brayden Schenn pulled Philadelphia back within one in the second period, but Kuznetsov's second of the night put the Caps back in control. T.J. Oshie would add an insurance tally in the third.

What it means: The Caps earned their first win after the bye week and seventh in their last nine game. Washington now sits three points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the top record in the NHL and the Metropolitan Division by five.

Goals

Capitals goal: Nicklas Backstrom from T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin at 6:33 in the first. Oshie and Ovechkin teamed up for a fantastic forecheck effort which forced the puck to the boards. Backstrom eventually emerged from the scrum with it and wristed a knuckler into the top shelf. Caps 1, Flyers 0

Capitals goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov (power play) from Justin Williams and John Carlson at 16:28 in the first. With the Caps set up on the power play, Kuznetsov just squared up and wristed a lazer into the top shelf. No one saw the puck go in but Kuznetsov and the ref. Caps 2, Flyers 0

Flyers goal: Brayden Schenn from Brandon Manning at 6:54 in the second. The Caps failed to clear the puck out of the zone allowing Manning to collect. He fired the slap shot and Schenn got his stick on the puck for the deflection. Caps 2, Flyers 1

Capitals goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Justin Williams and Taylor Chorney at 17:59 in the second. Taylor Chorney was quick to get the puck up ice to launch the Caps on the counter attack. Williams carried it into the offensive zone and Kuznetsov tried the quick pass, but the puck hit off of defenseman Radko Gudas’ stick and deflected into the net. Caps 3, Flyers 1

Capitals goal: T.J. Oshie from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom at 15:23 in the third. A fantastic pass by Ovechkin sparked the rush. Oshie returned the favor to Ovechkin who nearly beat Neuvirth for the goal with the deke. The puck trickled its way to the goal line and Oshie tapped it in for insurance. Caps 4, Flyers 1

3 Stars

1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: Kuznetsov can be a hit or miss player sometimes. He was an absolute hit on Wednesday. Kuznetsov's first-period goal was an incredible shot lasered into the top shelf. It was in and out so fast only he and the ref knew it was in. When a player is playing well, he is often rewarded with good puck luck as well and that was true of Kuznetsov as his second goal came on a pass that was deflected through the five-hole of Michal Neuvirth by the stick of Gudas. And that's just what you see on the scoresheet. Kuzy's hands were on display all night as he deked and dangled all over the ice.

2. T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the insurance tally in the third period, but Oshie gets the second star for his effort on the forecheck, not the offense. The top line was all over the Flyers every time they were on the ice to the point that Philadelphia struggled to exit their own zone. The Caps' first goal of the game came as a result of the turnover generated by Oshie's work on the forecheck.

3. Taylor Chorney: Playing in his first game since Jan. 26, Chorney did not look like he was working through any rust. He had a few offensive opportunities as well and his quick reaction in the second period sparked a counter attack that led to Kuznetsov's second goal.

Look ahead: The Caps finally return home to host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Then, it’s another quick turnaround on Saturday as Washington will play the Predators in Nashville on Saturday at 5 p.m., 22 hours after the start of Friday’s game.

Tell us what you think: Philadelphia thought they had taken the lead 23 seconds into the game, but Trotz's challenge restored the score to 0-0. How important was that challenge for the Caps and how much did it determine the outcome of the game?

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Why the Wizards wanted Chris McCullough as part of Bojan Bogdanovic trade

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Why the Wizards wanted Chris McCullough as part of Bojan Bogdanovic trade

On Wednesday, the Wizards traded Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and a lottery-protected first-round pick to Brooklyn for swingman Bojan Bogdanovic and D-League standout Chris McCullough. 

CSN Wizards Insider J. Michael has been dissecting the trade from every angle. Up next: The other player coming to D.C. in this deal.

Why Chris McCullough?

He's on a rookie contract that pays him less than $2 million and his next two years are team options as a first-round pick. He's 6-11 and hasn't played much this year, but he has more upside than Nicholson.

And it gives the Wizards more flexibility with the roster spot on whether or not to invest time to develop him or move on. Marcin Gortat is 32 and Ian Mahinmi is still working his way back from procedures to both knees so having McCullough (2.5 points, 14 apperances) as a throw-in provides a safety net, too.

MORE WIZARDS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHRIS MCCULLOUGH