October 17, 2019

Washington Capitals Second Round Game 4 Recap: Burakovsky scores twice, Caps one win from advancing over Rangers

With every clap producing a louder concussive effect than the one prior, and every scream and shout seemingly ricocheting around the arena, the Washington Capitals sapped every ounce of energy from their adoring fans and moved that much closer to doing something very special.

André Burakovsky scored magnificent goals in the second and third periods, and Braden Holtby continued his borderline absurd playoff run as Washington defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center. The win gives the Capitals a commanding 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

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Capitals beat Rangers 2-1, move to brink of Eastern Conference Final

In front of arguably the loudest crowd all season, the Washington Capitals rode two goals from Andre Burakovsky and another rock-solid effort between the pipes from Braden Holtby to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

After ceding the game’s first goal, Burakovsky scored in the second and third periods, each time producing a highlight-reel effort that blew the roof off the arena.

A ho-hum 28-save night from Holtby featured a third-period save on a penalty shot from the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin.

The win moves Washington one victory away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1998, when they eventually went to the Stanley Cup Final. The series now moves to Madison Square Garden, where a potentially decisive Game 6 takes place on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Washington Capitals Game 4 Recap: Backstrom scores in overtime, Caps tie series with Islanders

In a hair-raising, heart-attack-inducing third period and overtime, the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders stayed nip-and-tuck, with a roaring Nassau Coliseum crowd not even using the seats they paid good money for, and with good reason.

Those rows of fans, however, were quick to exit stage right when Nicklas Backstrom spoke up and delivered what will likely go down as one of the more memorable overtime goals in recent Washington Capitals history, leading the Caps to a 2-1 win to even the series at two games apiece, with Game 5 coming up in Washington on Thursday.

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Wizards vs Pacers Game 4 Analysis: Wiz Lose On A Night They Should Have Won

About five minutes into the fourth quarter, I had all but finalized a heartwarming piece highlighting the sensational play of the Washington Wizards’ bench. At the end of the game, I promptly deleted it and repeatedly smashed my face into my keyboard.

When I put my broken keyboard, and heart, back together, the struggle then became finding the right words to describe the slow-death that took place on the floor before us inside the Verizon Center on Sunday night. After staring off into space for several long minutes, that’s when it hit me.

The reason the words were so difficult to come up with is because the Wizards weren’t supposed to lose Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Indiana Pacers. They weren’t supposed to go down 3-1. Washington was supposed to tie the series up at 2-2 and head back to Indiana with new life.

Instead, they had what was rightfully theirs stolen right out from under their noses.

The setting was right. The Phone Booth was rocking (Ringing? Buzzing?). The hometown crowd in D.C. was as alive as ever for what could have been the final home game of the season. The Wizards fed off that energy, in the first half, and carried a 55-38 lead into the half.

The Senior Center, The Oldies But Goodies, The AARP Unit (saw that one on Twitter), whatever you want to call them, the bench for the Wizards, primarily Drew Gooden, Andre Miller and Al Harrington, didn’t play like they were 32, 38 and 34 years old respectively. Off the bench, they fueled Washington’s fight with 28 points between the three of them.

Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza both shot 2-for-4 from behind the arc and the Wizards collectively shot 45.6-percent from the floor. At the free throw line, they went 15-for-19. The shooting struggles that they went through in Games 2 and 3 seemingly disappeared. Shots were falling and the Wizards seemed poised to take back some control in a series that was certainly held captive by the Pacers.

But alas, the sleeping giant that is the Eastern Conference’s number one seed woke up. After being embarrassed to end the first half, the Pacers then stuck it to the Wizards in the second half. In front of the red, white and blue faithful, Indiana sent a powerful message to the District, and the NBA.

They outscored the Wizards 57-37 in the second half, highlighted by a 33-17 third quarter. Indiana had an answer for everything Washington threw at them. That answer took the form of small forward Paul George.

In a game-high 46 minutes, George poured in 39 points on 12-20 shooting, including seven three-pointers. At the free throw line, he made 8 of his 10 attempts and managed to grab 12 rebounds, as well. Not to be overlooked, Roy Hibbert added 17 points and George Hill provided 15 points of his own.

Ultimately, the Wizards were their own worst enemies and the Pacers took advantage of their mistakes. Washington had victory well within its grasp, but Indiana snatched it away thanks to a slow third quarter and a clutch performance from one of their stars.

Following a night as emotional as Sunday, it’s almost cruel to be reminded that there is still one more game (at least) left to be played. The 95-92 loss at home in Game 4 was so devastating, so debilitating, that any hope that remained for this season was quickly drawn away like a popped balloon. You could feel in the arena; you could see it on social media.

On Tuesday night, however, that’s exactly what Washington is faced with. For the first time since 2008, the Wizards will take the floor with their postseason on the line. With a win, they get to play another day. Should they lose, they’ll board the plane back to Washington for one final time.

Tipoff for Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals is Tuesday night at 7 PM EST in Indianapolis.

Wizards vs Pacers Game 4 Preview: Wiz in Must-Win Situation

On Friday night in Washington D.C, there was a definitive shift in momentum in the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards. As Washington begins to slow, the top-seeded Pacers are picking up steam and that is trouble for the Wizards.

Led by Bradley Beal, Washington got off to a hot start in the postseason. They took care of the Chicago Bulls in five games in round one before opening up round two with a statement win over Indiana. Lately, however, they seem to have cooled off while the Pacers have heated up.

Unlike Washington, Indiana started the postseason slow after a sloppy month and a half to end the regular season. They squeaked by the Atlanta Hawks in seven games before getting trounced by Washington to open the second round. Now, however, it seems like they’ve corrected the ship.

The Wizards convincingly won Game 1, but the Pacers have comeback to take complete control of this series. The Pacers stole Game 2 in Indy from the Wiz Kids, and then embarrassed the Wizards on their own floor on Friday night. Their defense was suffocating and their offense was clicking.

While Indiana is finding themselves again, Washington appears to be losing it’s sense of identity. As the Pacers have turned up the heat defensively, the Wizards have struggled to setup and run an offense. Things only seem to be sliding downhill, especially in an area where the Wizards have to excel in for success.

One place the Wizards have dramatically fallen off is from behind the three-point line. After making 10-of-16 in Game 1, they have made just 9-of-37 three-pointers in the past two games. Trevor Ariza and Beal have had a difficult time getting open shots and, because of that, haven’t been able to get into a rhythm.

Washington is beginning to show it’s youth for the first time all postseason. In the final minutes of Game 2 last Wednesday, the Wizards put up multiple threes that simply didn’t need to be taken. In Game 3, they appeared to be overwhelmed by Indiana and were unable to match their intensity.

With the Pacers on the upswing and the Wizards looking like a team running out of gas, Washington is now faced with a must-win Game 4 on Sunday night. Coming back from being down 3-1 is hard against any team, but if Indiana continues their recent upward trend, it will make the task exponentially more difficult for Washington.

Tipoff for a crucial Game 4 on Sunday is set of 8 PM EST inside the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

D.C. United Game 4 Recap: Rolfe quickly turns tide for United

Chris Rolfe needed just 27 minutes to do for United what so many others had failed to do so often. Rolfe’s goal deep into stoppage time put the finishing touches on a 2-0 D.C. win over the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium Saturday night, snapping a 15-game Major League Soccer winless streak for United. D.C. improved to 1-2-1 (4 points) and moved the club into sixth place in MLS’ Eastern Conference. New England fell to 1-3-1 (4 points) and has scored just two goals and five games.

United could understand the Revs’ meager offensive plight. Entering Saturday’s win, D.C. had only scored two goals, as well. And it was the Revs who put United into the lead Saturday, when José Gonçalves neatly tucked a left-footed volley into his own net in the 43rd minute – because if you are going to score an own goal, make it a tidy one. To be fair, however, United earned the goal, as well, as Cristian made a nice run to take a feed from Fabian Espindola near the end line to New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s right. His cross was then turned in nicely by Gonçalves. [Read more…]

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