Kings

Tiger is injured; Masters in doubt?

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Tiger is injured; Masters in doubt?

From Comcast SportsNet
DORAL, Fla. (AP) -- One week after Tiger Woods showed some of his old magic, he hobbled off the golf course with an old injury. And the Masters is only three weeks away. Woods pounded a 321-yard tee shot on the 12th hole Sunday in the Cadillac Championship when he winced, slumping over against his driver, and the hobble became an unmistakable limp. Moments later, he shook hands with Webb Simpson and told him, "I've got to go in." He was driven off in a cart to the parking lot at Doral, walked gingerly to a black sedan and drove away. "I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse," Woods said in a statement. "After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw. In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time I decided to do what I thought was necessary." It's the same Achilles that he injured last year at Augusta National, which eventually caused Woods to miss two majors last year. The severity of this injury won't be known until Woods has it evaluated. NBC Sports showed Woods behind the wheel as he drove away from Doral in the black sedan. "I didn't really notice anything," Simpson said. "I wasn't paying much attention, but it looked like he made a swing on 12 that really hurt. But didn't say a whole lot. Class act. Shook my hand. Off he went. "He just shook my hand and said, I've got to go in.' You could feel he was hurting. He didn't say a whole lot, but his expression was enough that he was in enough pain to end it." Woods is scheduled to play in two weeks at Bay Hill, his last tournament before the Masters. Woods is a four-time champion at Augusta National, and with an ordinary game, he still has tied for fourth the last two years. "It's a shame because he looked like he was coming out this year, swinging it really well, playing good, getting himself into contention," said Rory McIlroy, who held off Woods' charge last week at the Honda Classic. "It's probably just precautionary, but I really hope he's healthy for the Masters, because obviously it would be a great week with him there. He can spark an interest in golf that no one else can." Doral was Woods' third straight tournament. He lost in the second round of the Match Play Championship, then shot 62 to tie for second in the Honda. When asked after the third round Saturday at Doral how is body was holding up through this stretch, he replied, "It feels great." Steve Stricker played with him in the third round Saturday and said he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. "He always walks with a limp a little bit," Stricker said. "I noticed it a little bit again. I thought maybe that's something he always has, like a habit." Woods changed shoes at the turn and was lifting his left leg, slightly flexing his ankle. His limp became more pronounced, especially after he pulled his second shot on the par-5 10th, leading to bogey. The limp grew worse, and moments later, Woods was gone. "I think maybe his heel was bothering him, or something with his foot," Simpson said. "I don't think it's anything serious. Like I said, we didn't talk or anything, so I'm not sure exactly what it was." It's the third time in three years that Woods has withdrawn from a tournament. The most recent was at The Players Championship last May, when he hobbled off the TPC Sawgrass after a 42 on the opening nine holes. He then took three months off to let his left leg fully heal, returning at the Bridgestone Invitational. Woods said he wanted to make sure he didn't come back until he knew there would be no more issues with his leg. Since then, he has been able to practice more and adjust to swing changes, and from tee-to-green his golf has looked solid. "That's not good news," Justin Rose said after his one-shot victory for his first World Golf Championship. "Hopefully, (he's) holding himself back for the Masters and doesn't want do any more damage." Woods has had four surgeries on his left knee dating to when he was at Stanford. The most significant was in June 2008, when he had reconstructive surgery to repair ligaments just a week after winning the U.S. Open for his 14th major. Woods has not won a major since then, and he has missed four majors because of injuries. Woods attracted the largest galleries of the week, even starting the final round eight shots out of the lead. When he left, so did most of the crowd. "It was a bit weird," Simpson said. "It went from one extreme to the other, from playing with all the people to playing with no people. I wasn't playing too good, so I didn't really care."

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.