Wizards confident despite poor home playoff record
The Washington Wizards are 1-3 at Verizon Center in the 2014 playoffs, winning only in Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls, but they believe they can fend off elimination again tonight and upset the top-seeded Indiana Pacers, who lead their Eastern Conference semifinal series, 3-2. "Definitely, we feel like we can finish this," backup big man Drew Gooden said. "We know, you guys know and they know this series could be the other way around, with us leading. We are still confident." The three home losses this postseason have featured meltdowns and malfunctions: Nene getting ejected for head-butting and placing his hands around the neck of Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler; the team setting a franchise record for scoring futility, regular season or playoffs, with a measly 63 points in Game 3 against Indiana; then blowing a 19-point second-half lead in a loss two nights later. "I just think sometimes, you relax. You get in your comfort zone," forward Trevor Ariza said. "And when you're on the road everybody is against you. You're fighting all the elements. We got to keep our same mentality at home that we do on the road. We're cornered, so we have to fight ourselves out the corner. If we keep the same intensity, same mentality, we give ourselves a chance." In the regular season the Wizards had identical home and road records (22-19), and suffered some of their most embarrassing losses of the season at Verizon Center. The Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, who finished, respectively, with the worst, second-worst and tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA, all claimed victories in Washington. "At this point in time, no, I don't," coach Randy Wittman said when asked whether the limited success at home in the playoffs is in the heads of his players. "I think when you're in a battle like we're in, the focus has just got to be, whether we're on the road or at home, of playing the way we have to play. I don't want them looking back on anything. What might have been or what could be. The bottom line is, it's 3-2 and we've got to win two games."
—Michael Lee, The Washington Post
Navy Fan Fest is Aug. 2; Hood promotes Putnam
The Navy Football Fan Fest/Media Day will be Aug. 2 from 10 a.m. to noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Players will sign autographs on the blue side (press box-side) concourse from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. before interacting with the fans on the field. Activities will include interactive inflatable games, giveaways and live music. The first 250 children will receive a free T-shirt. Fans should enter the parking lot through Gate 5 off Taylor Avenue and enter the stadium on the Blue or press box side. There will be a $5 charge for parking. Event admission is free. Fans will also be able to purchase football game tickets and merchandise. For more information contact Kris Morgenthaler (410) 293-8712 or at email@example.com.
Men's soccer: Hood College named Kenny Putnam head coach; he had served as the Blazers' assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He previously was head coach at Brunswick High.
Swimming: St. Mary's assistant coach Julio Zarate, a 2004 graduate, is leaving to work at SwimMAC Carolina in North Carolina.
Men's tennis: St. Mary's senior Andrew Gear (Winters Mill) won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for the Atlantic South region. ... Johns Hopkins freshman Michael Buxbaum was named ITA Atlantic South Rookie of the Year.
Women's tennis: Navy's Erin Snook was named the ITA Atlantic Region's Most Improved Senior of the Year. ... Johns Hopkins freshman Amanda Austi was named ITA Atlantic South Rookie of the Year.
Centennial's Schofield resigns; Bossom back
Larry Schofield, the varsity volleyball coach at Centennial, will step down after leading the program for seven years, winning a state championship in 2008 and appearing in the final in 2010 and 2012. He will be replaced by Mike Bossom, who coached at Centennial from 1994 to 2005, winning eight state titles. Bossom is leaving Goucher, where he was the head coach.
For more of Mike Frainie's blog post on the coaching change, go to baltimoresun.com/varsity letters.
Major League Soccer: D.C. United games will be broadcast on in English on 106.7 FM and in Spanish on 107.9 FM through the 2017 Major League Soccer season.
National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit waived defender Cecilie Sandvej, who will play instead on the team's USL W-League squad, which begins play Saturday against the Braddock Road Stars at 3 p.m. before the NWSL squad's 6:30 p.m. game against the Western New York Flash in Boyds.
NFL draft: The Cardinal & Gold Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization supporting student-athletes, will host a "Post-NFL Draft Discussion" at Calvert Hall in the Marion Burk Knott Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. The discussion will be led by Vinny Cerrato and Rob Long from sports talk 105.7 The Fan and ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper Jr. For more information, contact Mike Heffernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.