Kings

How does Tebow balance life, football?

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How does Tebow balance life, football?

From Comcast SportsNet
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- There's a quarterback Tim Tebow can't wait to meet while in Buffalo for a pivotal late-season game. A special guest showing up at his request. And no, it's not former Bills star Jim Kelly. Tebow is bringing in Jacob Rainey, a highly touted prep player from a private school in Virginia who had part of his right leg amputated after a severe knee injury during a fall scrimmage. Tebow is looking forward to chatting with Rainey before and again after the Denver Broncos' game against the Bills on Saturday. For as dedicated as Tebow is about improving on the field, he's just as devoted to his engagements off it. That's why losses really don't linger. He's already turned the page after the Broncos' 41-23 home loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday. "I'll move on and continue to be positive and everything," Tebow said Tuesday. As if he knows any other way. Tebow has become the center of the football universe since guiding the Broncos (8-6) from the brink of playoff extinction back into contention. Denver leads the AFC West by a game over Oakland and San Diego after rebounding from a 1-4 start under Kyle Orton. The Broncos are in prime position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 season. Tebow's name and image have been popping up all over as he's appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, been mentioned at the Republican debate in Iowa and spoofed during a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which the show playfully mocks his faith. Although Tebow hasn't seen the clip yet, his teammates have watched it. "I've heard some players have been laughing about it a little bit," Tebow said. Tebow doesn't mind all the attention. It gives him a platform for his causes, such as the Tim Tebow Foundation's "Wish 15" program. On Sunday, he brought in Kelly Faughnan, who is dealing with tumors and seizures. "It gives her an opportunity to have a good time and gives her a little hope and puts a smile on her face," Tebow said. "Ultimately, that's what's important. As hard as it is to say it, that's more important than even winning or losing the game." With every passing game, Tebow steadily improves in the passing department. Sure, his mechanics are still rough and his style unorthodox. But he's making far better reads and decisions than he was several weeks ago. "He's not afraid, no stranger to hard work," coach John Fox said. "He works as hard as any player I've ever coached." Tebow even received quite a backing from the boss himself, John Elway, who gave his strongest indication yet in an interview with The Associated Press that he believes Tebow can transform from a scrambling quarterback into a pocket passer. That meant a lot to the young quarterback. "Mr. Elway is obviously one of the best to ever play the game. To get any compliment from him is extremely nice," said Tebow, 5-0 on the road since taking over the starting job. "He's been around this game a long time. That's nice to hear." Bills coach Chan Gailey applauds Denver's bold choice of switching to the unconventional option offense to better fit Tebow's unique skill set. Gailey always believed that approach could be successful -- for a short window anyway. "I thought the first team that had guts enough to try it, it was going to work for about two years," Gailey said. "Then, defensive coaches in the NFL would catch up to it a little bit. Then, it would be a struggle." Tebow has proficiently run this offense, just like he did at Florida, where he won the Heisman and two national titles. He has rushed for 610 yards this season, the most by a Denver quarterback and easily surpassing Elway's best mark (304 yards in 1987). To Gailey, there's just one potential flaw with using the read option -- keeping the quarterback healthy. That's a reason why it really hasn't been tried to the extent it has until now. But Tebow's built to deliver a few wallops, too. "It's a long season. You take a lot of hits. You take a lot of hits when you're not running option football," Gailey said. "Can the guy make (it through) the season? That's the key. But he's the ultimate wildcat kind of guy. He can run it and he can throw it from the quarterback position. He creates a big problem for defenses." The biggest challenge remains keeping him in the pocket. Allowing Tebow to escape presents all sorts of headaches. Because that's what makes Tebow so explosive, when he's able to make things happen with his feet. "The last time I judged quarterbacks, which has been every day of my life it seems like, you're judged by winning football games," Gailey said. "That's what he does. He wins football games. It's probably not in the fashion that everyone in the NFL is used to, but he's leading his team to victory and that's an important factor for playing the quarterback position." Winning isn't everything to Tebow. His faith and foundation are just as high of priorities, too. Tebow's foundation is teaming up with CURE International to build a children's hospital in the Philippines, where Tebow was born. He also inspires inmates through jailhouse talks. "Ultimately, that's taking my platform and using it for something good, more so than any SNL' skit or any magazine," Tebow said. As for what he wanted for the holidays, Tebow didn't hesitate. "To use my platform for good," he said, "and to beat the Bills."

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.