Kings

Sharks seek to stay hot at home against Red Wings

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Sharks seek to stay hot at home against Red Wings

March 3, 2011

DETROIT (39-18-7) vs.
SHARKS (37-21-6)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SAN JOSE (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks held off the Detroit Red Wings last week to keep their win streak going.

The Sharks have since extended that run to a season-high seven games, but will next face a Red Wings team that's won three straight at HP Pavilion on Thursday night.

San Jose has surged to the Pacific Division lead by winning 16 of 19 and will try to add to that total by matching its season-best eight consecutive victories from 2009-10.

The Sharks (37-21-6) earned one of their latest victories in Detroit on Feb. 22. Devin Setoguchi had a key third-period goal in that 4-3 win among his two scores, and Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots.

REWIND: Sharks get extra point with shootout win over Avs

Niemi has a 1.85 goals-against average over 19 consecutive starts and a 1.64 GAA during the win streak.

For his efforts in place of an injured Antero Niittymaki, he was rewarded with a 15.2 million, four-year contract extension Tuesday before recording a 2-1 shootout win over visiting Colorado.

RATTO: Niemi stands tall amongst NHL goalies

"It wasn't pretty. It was a greasy win," said Ryane Clowe, who tallied the only goal in the tiebreaker. "It was nice to get the win, but it wasn't our best game by any means."

Joe Thornton scored the tying goal with 2:58 remaining in regulation and helped his team open a season-high, six-game homestand with its sixth consecutive victory at HP Pavilion.

"You want to play good for the fans, but we have to stick with our game and to what's working," Setoguchi said. "If we can do that at home, we'll continue getting wins."

The Sharks haven't won at home over the Central Division-leading Red Wings (39-18-7) since Jan. 17, 2009, and fell 5-3 there Nov. 30. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and two assists, and Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and two assists in the rematch of last season's Western Conference semifinals.

The Red Wings enter this meeting having won six of seven on the road, but suffered that lone defeat Wednesday as Anaheim's Bobby Ryan converted an overtime penalty shot.

"They did a good job and put some pressure on us," coach Mike Babcock said. "Their goalie made some saves, and we missed a couple of open nets. The game was set up for us to find a way to get a win, and we didn't."

Detroit will try to bounce back by avoiding their second three-game losing streak to San Jose and first since Dec. 16, 1997-March 5, 1998.

Logan Couture scored twice in a 5-2 win over the Red Wings on Dec. 6 and Thornton added a goal. He has five goals and three assists during a five-game point streak against Detroit.

Zetterberg doesn't have a point streak versus San Jose, but he has totaled 13 goals and 10 assists in his last 17 matchups with the Sharks.

Niemi, though, might have a good chance to limit the Detroit winger as he's 4-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA in six career appearances against the Red Wings.

Detroit's Jimmy Howard, meanwhile, has allowed nine goals in his past two meetings with the Sharks after giving up eight in his previous four. Backup Joey MacDonald hasn't fared much better, going 0-2-0 with a 3.28 GAA in three career matchups.

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

SACRAMENTO -- Light in the rear. It’s a term the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has used since the beginning of training camp to describe the bigs on the roster. On Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the team’s lack of strength inside was on full display as the Denver Nuggets crushed them on the glass.

“I think we’re 29th in the league for rebounding, so that’s a little bit of our makeup of how our team is made,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings’ 114-98 loss.

Joerger is close in his assessment, but off by a few spots. His roster ranks 26th in the league in rebounding overall and 28th on the defensive side of the ball. It’s become an achilles heel for a team that has a few glaring weaknesses.

“When Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Kosta (Koufos) aren’t in there to snag every rebound, we have to get in there and help Zach (Randolph) and help Skal (Labissiere),” veteran Garrett Temple said. “Skal’s a little undersized in terms of weight and Z-Bo will put his body on people, but some people might be able to out jump him.”

On a normal night, Temple is right. Randolph and Labissiere struggle to put up big numbers on the glass. But against the Nuggets, it was Koufos and Cauley-Stein that combined to grab nine rebounds in 51 total minutes of action.

Randolph and Labissiere didn’t fair much better, finishing with 10 boards between the two of them in 38 minutes with the starters. Between the Kings’ four bigs, they were out rebounded by the Nuggets bigs by a final of 34-19.

The Nuggets came into the night a top 10 rebounding team overall and the second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA at 11.8 per game.

It’s not just the bigs that struggled to grab boards for Sacramento. Without Buddy Hield, the club’s best rebounding wing, the Kings’ were dominated 49-34 overall in rebounding, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.

“The first shot, it’s a good contest, we did everything right, except get the rebound,” rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “And then they get an open shot off a second chance shot. If we can complete a lot of plays with the rebound, we’ll be okay.”

To Fox’s point, the defensive possession doesn’t end until the rebound is secured. Sacramento was outscored 19-6 on second chance points. In a 16-point game, those numbers loom large.

“Us guards, we know we have to help our bigs,” Fox said. “We know our bigs are athletic. We know they do what they do, at the end of the day, other team’s guards are helping their bigs rebound and their bigs aren’t alone.”

Outside of the four bigs, none of the other seven players to see action had more than three rebounds. It’s an issue that has to be addressed as the Kings move forward.

“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at half court and that I won’t have.”

The Kings have a day of practice on Tuesday to try and sure up some of their issues. Some of the problems stem from inexperience, but some of the issue comes down to energy and effort.

It doesn’t even get easier on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers rank second in the league in rebounding at 47.5 boards per game. On the plus side, they also give up the 28th most rebounds in the league.

Klay Thompson randomly interviewed on local NYC news about scaffolding

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AP

Klay Thompson randomly interviewed on local NYC news about scaffolding

With a big break until their next game, the Warriors spent a couple days in New York City.

Klay Thompson spent part of his Monday walking around the city.

And as only Thompson could, he wound up appearing on a local news report. But he wasn't talking about basketball. Not even close.

Courtesy of Twitter user @MP_Trey, Thompson was interviewed on Fox 5 NY to talk about ... scaffolding.

"I usually observe if the piping and stuff is new. Sometimes, you know, something looks like it's been there a while, I try to avoid that," Thompson said in the report.

You can watch the odd video here: