Raiders

Parker, Spurs reach 10 straight at Kings' expense

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Parker, Spurs reach 10 straight at Kings' expense

Feb. 4, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO (AP) Tony Parker said he was disappointed he didn't make the All-Star team. However, the silver lining for the talented San Antonio Spurs veteran point guard is he's playing on the NBA's top team.Parker scored 25 points and had seven assists to help the Spurs defeat the Kings 113-100 on Friday night.One night after squeaking by the Los Angeles Lakers 89-88 on Antonio McDyess' tip at the buzzer, the Spurs built an early double-digit lead against the Kings.
REWIND: Spurs beat Lakers in dramatic Fashion
And it was Parker setting the tone early, getting through the Kings' defense for driving layups, hitting medium-range jumpers, and finding open teammates for easy baskets.Parker made 11 of 17 shots and hit both his 3-point attempts against a Kings defense that couldn't find a way to stop him."Tony has been playing at an All-Star level all season," Spurs teammate Richard Jefferson said. "On another team he would be averaging 25 points a game."Yet on the deep and talent-laden Spurs, Parker's regular contributions can be overshadowed at times. However against the Kings, Parker didn't shy away from attacking early. Told by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to be offensive-minded to start the game, Parker followed the game plan perfectly."With back-to-back games, Pop told me to make sure I was aggressive early," said Parker, a three-time All-Star who admitted he was "disappointed" about the All-Star omission. "It's great when I hear that. When he wants me to be aggressive, I'm aggressive."Jefferson had 16 points and Tiago Splitter also had 16 and tied a career high with nine rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 57 percent. Tim Duncan added 12 points and played only 12 minutes, while DeJuan Blair added 10 points and 12 rebounds.The Spurs (42-8) own the NBA's best record and have won two straight and 13 of 15. They are 2-1 on their nine-game road trip, their longest of the season.However, a break in the schedule had them flying back to San Antonio for three days before returning for a stretch of four road games in five nights."For me the break is huge," said Manu Ginobili, who had nine points and six assists. "The Laker game was tough for me. I'm very happy, we're playing really well and now we go home and have three days off."Tyreke Evans had 25 points and Beno Udrih scored 18 for the Kings. Carl Landry scored 17 points and Darnell Jackson added 11. Rookie center DeMarcus Cousins was limited to seven points and 10 rebounds.The loss was the second straight for Sacramento, which has dropped 11 consecutive games to the Spurs. The Kings' last win over the Spurs was Nov. 26, 2007.
REWIND: Kings upset run ends with loss to Celtics
"They know how to run their offense and they know the system because they've been running it for a long time," Evans said. "When they are running their offense that well there is nothing we can do about it."In building an early cushion, the Spurs were able to give Duncan a rest. Duncan played the first six minutes of the game and didn't return in the first half, then played another six minutes in the third before leaving the game.With Splitter playing so well, Duncan wasn't really missed."Tiago, he's an animal. He just plays so hard and does so many little things," Jefferson said. "He was huge for us tonight. He gave us a chance to give Tim (Duncan) a break, which is something that goes a long way when you talk about how long the season is."Trailing by 24 points midway through the third quarter, the Kings finally got going offensively. Evans scored 12 points to help the Kings cut the margin to 91-75 entering the fourth quarter.Jefferson made a 3-pointer from the corner to ignite a 9-0 third-quarter run at the 8:33 mark, building the Spurs' lead to 74-50. Three minutes later from nearly the exact spot, Jefferson was knocked to the floor after making another 3-pointer. He added a free throw for a four-point play and a 82-57 Spurs lead."I thought they put on a clinic tonight in the first quarter against us," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "After that we just tried to play catch-up the rest of the game, they're too good to do that against. We could never really stop them all night."Parker scored 16 points and the Spurs went to their bench frequently in the first half when they led 61-43. San Antonio made its first six shots and built a 49-26 lead in the opening four minutes of the second quarter.Notes: The Spurs are in the midst of their annual "Rodeo Road Trip." Their next home game is Feb. 23 against Oklahoma City. ... San Antonio shot 58 percent in the first quarter and led 34-19. ... Kings forward Francisco Garcia missed his ninth straight game with a strained left calf. ... The Kings shot 2 of 12 on 3-pointers.

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.