Braden shaky again as A's lose to Rangers


Braden shaky again as A's lose to Rangers


PHOENIX (AP) C.J. Wilson is taking his changeup high-tech.Wilson, who helped Texas reach its first World Series last year in his first year as a starter, pitched three innings Friday in the Rangers' 6-3 victory over Oakland."I wanted to throw three innings in as easy a manner as I could," Wilson said. "I was working on different things every inning."And that includes a different type of changeup that may produce better results. He called it "proprietary technology" and didn't want to discuss it further."I was watching the way Tim Lincecum pitched in the playoffs and how he could take over a game with the changeup. Why shouldn't I try something like that? I'm always trying to improve. I'm not satisfied with good. I want to be rad."Wilson allowed five hits, including Kevin Kouzmanoff's three-run homer, in three innings. Asked what he threw Kouzmanoff, Wilson said "meatballs."Oakland designated hitter Hideki Matsui drew two walks and "wasn't even swinging," said Wilson, who has held opposing left-handers to an .181 average. "I was trying to throw him strikes, but I guess he didn't feel like swinging. He could have been just tracking pitches."Non-roster pitcher David Bush threw three scoreless innings for Texas."C.J. stayed attacking the zone," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Kouzmanoff got him early but he made the adjustments. Bush was very impressive. He was a professional out there and did a good job of keeping the ball down."A's manager Bob Geren said Bush frustrated his hitters a little bit."He showed some craft with that slow breaking ball," Geren said. "He was hitting the corners and locating so well that we couldn't do anything after that."A's starter Dallas Braden went three innings, giving up four runs and five hits."I'm in that spring training purgatory right now," he said. "It doesn't matter who you are, if someone else is pitching better, he gets the job. That's my mindset."Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run homer off Braden in the second. The shot didn't surprise Braden."I don't know who Taylor Teagarden is," he said. "I do know who Babe Teagarden is. He's definitely had some success against me."NOTES: The Rangers agreed to terms with GM Jon Daniels on a four-year contract extension through the 2015 season. ... A's RHP Rich Harden (lat tightness) threw 30 pitches at 80 feet and will throw again Saturday. ... A's LHP Craig Breslow and RHP Andrew Bailey each threw to live hitters. ... The Rangers have hit nine home runs in their last four games. ... Kouzmanoff has hit safely in all three games and has four RBIs. ... Texas has at least 10 hits in its last six games. ... Rangers RHP Brett Tomko pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies


Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

Warriors by 8.5

Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) is listed as questionable.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.

Gameday: Big underdogs, Kings face Nuggets looking for second straight win


Gameday: Big underdogs, Kings face Nuggets looking for second straight win

With a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Sacramento Kings are feeling good heading into their first back-to-back on Saturday. They’ll face a Denver Nuggets team that lost their season opener to the Utah Jazz and is looking for their first victory of the season.

The combination of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox at the point guard position was too much for Dallas to handle on Friday. Hill poured in 21 points, including two huge shots down the stretch and Fox came away with his first 10-assist game of his career.

Denver added veteran Paul Millsap in the offseason to match with rising star Nikola Jokic. Jokic struggled in the opener, but still managed to post seven points, eight assists and 12 rebounds. The Kings will have their hands full trying to slow the 7-footer.  

Nuggets by 11

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Nikola Jokic -- Cauley-Stein has posted back-to-back double-doubles to start the season and comes in averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebound and two blocks in 29 minutes per game. Jokic is one of the more versatile bigs in the game. He picks and chooses his spots to score, but his passing ability makes him a dangerous player.

Kings: 1-1

Nuggets: 0-1

Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out

Nuggets: No injuries to report

These two teams split the season series last year and hold an identical 86-86 record against each other all-time. The Kings lead the Nuggets 65-63 during the Sacramento-era.

MORE TIME FOR FOX - The Kings speedy young guard is showing that he’s ready to carry more of the load. In his first game, he posted 14 points and five assists. In Game Two, he set up his teammates for a team-high 10 assists while adding nine points and six rebounds. He’s averaged 25 minutes a game in the first two, but his play is already commanding more.

GIVING BUDDY SOME LOVE - Lost in the shuffle of the team’s first win was an nice all-around performance from Buddy Hield. The second-year guard was one of eight Kings to grab five rebounds or more against the Mavs, but Hield’s late board in traffic was probably the play of the night. If he can post more 13 point, six rebound, three assist games early in the season, he’ll find himself on the court more often than not.

MORE FROM SKAL NEEDED - Skal Labissiere has all the potential in the world, but he’s off to a quiet start through two contests. He needs to be more aggressive calling for the ball and continue to hit the glass hard. He’s averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game, but one of those came with Zach Randolph on the shelf. He’ll need to earn minutes like everyone else on this team.

“My coach has that much confidence in me, a 19-year-old kid to stay on the floor in crunch time, and when he has that confidence in me, my confidence goes up that much more.” -De’Aaron Fox on coach Dave Joerger sticking with him down the stretch in the Kings’ first win.