Raiders

Lincecum looks to up scoreless streak in Denver

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Lincecum looks to up scoreless streak in Denver

May 15, 2011GIANTS (22-17) atROCKIES (20-18)
Coverage starts at 5 pm on CSN Bay Area
(AP) -- Tim Lincecum has looked dominant against Colorado of late. After rain postponed his originally scheduled start in the San Francisco Giants' last game, the Rockies are forced to deal with the two-time Cy Young Award winner once again.Riding a 17-inning scoreless streak overall, Lincecum tries for a third consecutive winning start against the Rockies at Coors Field in the opener of a two-game set Monday night.Lincecum (3-3, 2.11 ERA) has no problem taking the mound with an extra days' rest after Sunday's game at Wrigley Field was postponed."It doesn't really bother me," Lincecum said. "What's wrong with an extra day?"Likely nothing for the Giants ace, but possibly something for the struggling Rockies (20-18), who are 9-16 since winning 11 of their first 13."You can't think about who's pitching, you can't think if he's good or bad. Just play the game," Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said.The Rockies will do their best to do that versus Lincecum, who has allowed three runs, 10 hits and struck out 28 in 23 2-3 innings to win his last three starts against them. He's yielded two runs, five hits and fanned 19 in the last two at Coors. Lincecum took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before he allowed a run and struck out 10 in an 8-1 win at Colorado on April 18."He's special," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, 6 for 35 with eight strikeouts versus the San Francisco ace.The right-hander has a chance to extend an overall scoreless streak that dates to April 29 at Washington. He allowed four hits and struck out nine in eight innings but did not factor in the decision of a 1-0 win over Arizona on Tuesday.San Francisco (22-17) hopes Lincecum is again on his game as it tries to improve to 6-1 against the Rockies in 2011. The Giants swept a three-game home set with the Rockies from May 6-8, then swept Arizona to surpass Colorado atop the NL West.The Giants have won nine of 11 overall against the Rockies, and six of 10 at Coors, including two of three this season."If you are going to end up where we want to end up by season's end, and that's to win the division championship, you're going to have to take on all comers whenever they show up," said Colorado manager Jim Tracy, whose team is 6-10 in the division and 1 12 games behind the Giants.Gonzalez is expected to play after he was hit in the foot by a pitch in the eighth inning of Sunday's 8-2 loss to San Diego. After batting an NL-leading .336 last season, Gonzalez is hitting .234 in 2011. He's 3 for 21 against the Giants this season.Clayton Mortensen (0-0, 0.55) is scheduled to make his second start for the Rockies. His other start came at San Francisco on May 7 when he allowed two runs, four hits and walked four in six innings of a 3-2 loss.Freddy Sanchez, who had two hits against Mortensen, doubled and scored a run in San Francisco's 3-0, six-inning win over the Cubs on Saturday.The Giants have won nine of 11 despite averaging 3.3 runs during that stretch. They've overcome that lack of production by posting a 2.94 ERA in that span."You're going to have to throw the ball well to win ballgames if you're having a tough time scoring runs," manager Bruce Bochy said.

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

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USATSI

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

ALAMEDA – John Pagano can’t implement his scheme in a week. He can’t import his plays and preferences cultivated during five seasons as Chargers defensive coordinator. Full offseason programs and training camps are required for that.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Pagano will call his first Raiders game five days later against Denver at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders’ assistant head coach – defense believes he can impact how the Silver and Black does business.

“There’s always room for change and there’s always room for doing things better,” Pagano said Thursday. “Without telling you our game plan, it’s about how we go out and execute the call, bottom line.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders weren’t playing fast enough. They weren’t creating enough turnovers, weren’t doing well enough on third down and weren’t regularly affecting the quarterback due to a lack of both rush and coverage.

That’s why Norton had to go.

Pagano’s first objective, which must get accomplished in a few days, is getting the Raiders to play with confidence. Then he can add some design wrinkles with some of his personality.

“You have to have that ability of going out there, knowing your assignment and playing faster,” Pagano said. “It’s not to say that there have been times where we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is, I think, most important. Going out there and playing fast and that’s doing the little extra things, the attention to details of studying and getting those things processed. See ball, go get ball.”

That last sentence sums up how Pagano wants his guys to play. He’s a quality play caller and creative blitzer with a knack making simple plays look complex. He can find and exploit opposing weak links. His defenses have always been good creating pressure and turnovers alike. The Raiders need more of both.

To do that Pagano wants to relieve a player’s mental burden and keep them focused on using talent well.

“The one thing I’ve always stressed and always been about is technique, fundamentals and unbelievable effort,” Pagano said. “I think those three things can get you home.”

The Raiders haven’t been home much as a defense. They’re tied for last with 14 sacks. They’re dead last with six turnovers. They’ve gone 10 games without an interception, the longest single-season drought in NFL history.

A lack of big defensive plays has killed the Raiders this season. It obviously increases points allowed. Good field position has been hard to come by. The offense has to earn everything the hard way. That’s a recipe for losing football, a maddening turn after the Raiders finished second with 30 takeaways last year.

Pagano has a chart listing “MOPs,” short for missed opportunities. There have been many, especially in a secondary he oversaw before this week.

“I talked to these guys this week about we need to do simple better,” Pagano said. “What is simple? It’s fundamentals of covering. It’s tackling. It’s communicating. It’s catching the ball when it comes. We’ve had opportunities. It’s not like we’re out there struggling and straining to dive and layout for the thing. It’s hit us in the hands where we’ve had many, many opportunities.”

Missed opportunities have also plagued a pass rush featuring reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Pagano brought up a moment early in Sunday’s lost to New England, when Treyvon Hester forced a fumble near three teammates that the Patriots somehow recovered.

Pagano’s goal is to improve performance. Players must buy in to do that. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline a large group close to Norton, one with enough pride and professionalism to get behind a new playcaller in Pagano, who could be here long term.

“There is a human element to this,” Pagano said. “We are family. It’s sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed or something. At the end of the day, we have the Broncos coming in here on Sunday and we have to get our minds right to go play this game. That’s something that they’ve done a great job with this week, truly focusing in on what we need to do.”

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season.