Kings

Giants swept as Braves rally vs. Wilson in 10th

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Giants swept as Braves rally vs. Wilson in 10th

April 24, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) All those times Brian Wilson and his bushy, black beard strutted around AT&T Park after wins last postseason was enough for the Atlanta Braves.They made sure there was no encore Sunday.Nate McLouth hit a two-run single off Wilson with two outs in the 10th inning, and the Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 9-6 for a three-game sweep in a rematch of last season's NL division series."The environment in here is really second to none. So to walk out of here with a sweep, it's something not a lot of teams do," McLouth said. "And we did it."The Braves beat ace Tim Lincecum, postseason nemesis Madison Bumgarner and Wilson over the three games to highlight a weekend at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark they won't soon forget.The finale had contributions from all over: Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer and a double, then singled in the 10th. Dan Uggla homered and Chipper Jones had a two-run double, single and walked twice on his 39th birthday.The result was Atlanta's first sweep of any kind in San Francisco since 1998."You win three games off the world champs," Jones said, "and confidence is at a different level."Heyward and Jones started the 10th inning with singles against Wilson (0-1) before Uggla walked to load the bases. Wilson got two quick outs and nearly escaped the jam before McLouth's grounder up the middle provided the go-ahead runs. Brian McCann added an RBI single off Dan Runzler.Eric O'Flaherty (1-1) pitched two innings for the win and Jonny Venters earned his first save of the season.Buster Posey had a two-run homer and Aaron Rowand hit a two-run double to help the Giants erase a three-run deficit and take a 6-5 lead in the seventh. But the World Series champions couldn't match their postseason magic from a year ago, when they beat the Braves in four games en route to the title - including saves by Wilson in Games 3 and 4."We know we're not playing Giants baseball right now," said Wilson, who led the majors with 48 saves last season. "We're scuffling a little bit, but we're still right in the thick of things. (Our record) is not horrible considering the kind of games we have lost. We just need to get on a good role and start remembering how to play good baseball."Atlanta came out hot from the start.Jones hit a two-run double that zipped past diving third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the first inning to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. Then Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez found his groove and showed no signs of a flu bug that forced him to have intravenous fluids a day earlier. He struck out five and allowed two hits and three walks in five innings.Braves starter Brandon Beachy retired the first 11 batters with relative ease until Aubrey Huff hit a towering double off the right-field wall and Posey followed with a home run in the fourth.Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt walked two batters in the seventh before Heyward - the runner-up to Posey for the NL Rookie of the Year last season - hit his fifth home run to put Atlanta ahead 5-2.The Giants came back with three consecutive singles off reliever Jairo Asencio. Miguel Tejada walked to drive in a run, Nate Schierholtz had an RBI grounder and Rowand's double put San Francisco ahead.Uggla led off the eighth with a tying homer against Sergio Romo for his fifth shot of the season. The Braves bullpen held the Giants scoreless from there until their bats broke through against Wilson in extra innings."I don't even know how to start," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Let's get out of here because it looks like that club was starting to get hot."NOTES: Atlanta's Brandon Hicks made his first major league start in place of shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez came in the game in the seventh. ... Jones has a .435 batting average (20 for 46) with 12 RBIs on his birthday. ... Giants CF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles' tendon) and RHP reliever Santiago Casilla (inflamed pitching elbow) will travel to Arizona on Monday to rehabilitate and perhaps play in some extended spring training games. Manager Bruce Bochy said it was unlikely either would join the team during the upcoming 10-game road trip. ...

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.