From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- First flying bugs, now a flying bat.When it comes to the postseason, Joba Chamberlain is jinxed.The Yankees hope their season isn't, too.Chamberlain was knocked out of Game 4 of the AL division series on Thursday night when the barrel of Matt Wieters' broken bat hit him on the right elbow in the 12th inning. The Baltimore Orioles went on to a 2-1 victory that forced a decisive Game 5 on Friday night, getting the go-ahead run when Manny Machado doubled against David Phelps leading off the 13th and scored on J.J. Hardy's RBI double."I don't know if I'd hang out with me very much. I might need a bubble," Chamberlain said.He might not be the only one.On another Bronx night filled with controversy, Alex Rodriguez was pinch hit for once again. Eric Chavez batted in place of slumping A-Rod and ended the game with a lineout to third off Jim Johnson."I just do what I'm told," Chavez said. "It's kind of crazy."Now it's up to CC Sabathia to show he's an ace, taking the mound Friday night against Jason Hammel in a rematch of Game 1 starters."It's time to go," Sabathia said. "This is a one-game playoff, and this is what we play for. We're here in the Bronx at home, and like I said, I'll be excited and ready to go."New York outlasted Baltimore for the AL East title last week. Now the Yankees will try to do it again and advance to the AL championship series against Detroit."It's the same game whether it's the first game of the season or the postseason," said Derek Jeter, who shifted to designated hitter because of a sore left foot. "We're going to try to have fun with it, enjoy it."New York had runners on base in each of the first eight innings, but the Yankees went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and dropped to 6 for 28 (.214) in the series.A-Rod, 2 for 16 (.125) with no RBIs and nine strikeouts, fanned against side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth. Nick Swisher then flied out."It's obviously frustrating," Rodriguez said. "That was a situation that I could do some damage, and just couldn't get it done tonight."He's not the only slumping star. Curtis Granderson is 1 for 16 (.125) with nine Ks. Robinson Cano is 2 for 18 (.111) and hitless in his last 11 at-bats. Russell Martin is batting .214, Ichiro Suzuki .200 and Swisher .133."There's really good pitching," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's guys on the other side that are struggling, too. You're seeing some really good pitching in these four games."Girardi won't know until Friday whether his bullpen will include Chamberlain, who has had enough mound misfortunes to fill a horror film.He was just another normal hard-throwing young gun before Game 2 of the 2007 division series. Then midges swarmed him on the mound in Cleveland and, with those bugs all around, he threw a tying wild pitch in a game the Indians went on to win 2-1 in 11 innings for a 2-0 series lead.A torn elbow ligament sidelined him in June 2011, and he was close to his return during spring training when he dislocated his right ankle in a trampoline accident while playing with his son. He finally returned on Aug. 1 -- against the Orioles -- and developed back into a dependable part of the Yankees' bullpen.Wieters led off the 12th with a single to left field, and a large piece of his bat went twirling toward the mound and hit Chamberlain's surgically repaired pitching elbow. Chamberlain threw down his glove and bent over in pain.After he was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue, Chamberlain threw three test pitches and came out. The Yankees said his elbow was bruised and X-rays were negative."You kind of see how it feels tomorrow and go from there," Chamberlain said. "It's definitely not as stiff as it was when it first happened."After Hardy's double -- his first RBI of the series, Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half. No Yankees' comeback this time, not like in Game 3 when Raul Ibanez batted for A-Rod and hit a tying homer in the ninth and a winning home run in the 12th of a 3-2 win."We'll come out ready and go out there and we'll fight and try to make it happen," Ibanez said.This matchup could hardly be more even. New York and Baltimore have split 22 games this season, with the Yankees outscoring the Orioles 103-101. Over the two extra-inning games, the Orioles' threw 331 pitches to the Yankees' 327."The baseball gods let you up off the deck if you stay true to the game," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We've got a big challenge ahead of us tomorrow, but we have an opportunity."Hours earlier, Girardi wiped his eyes during a pregame moment of silence for his father, who died last weekend. Girardi didn't tell his players until the death became public Thursday, not wanting to distract them from the task at hand.Nate McLouth's fifth-inning home run was offset by Cano's RBI grounder in the sixth, and McLouth saved a run in the fifth with a leaping catch against the wall in left-center on Jayson Nix's drive with a man on.It stayed that way in a battle of the bullpens. Baltimore's allowed four hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings, and the Yankees gave up a run and four hits over 6 1-3.New York wasted a fine outing by Phil Hughes, who allowed one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts and three walks -- all leading off innings.New York had hoped to avoid this. The Yankees wanted to end this series in four games, allowing Sabathia to start the AL championship series opener Saturday night.Sabathia held off the Orioles in winning the opener 7-2, allowing two runs and eight hits in 8 2-3 innings. The Yankees need him to do it again just to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2010. And if they do get there, Sabathia likely wouldn't start against until Game 4 on the road.Like everything with this year's Yankees, nothing comes easily."This is going to be awesome," said Swisher, who could be playing his final game in pinstripes. "It's almost inevitable there's going to be a Game 5. We're not stressing. We know what we have to do. This place is going to be rocking and rolling."
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.
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.