Warriors begin second half with a visit from Celtics


Warriors begin second half with a visit from Celtics

Feb. 22, 2011

BOSTON (40-14) vs.
WARRIORS (26-29)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Boston Celtics have won an NBA title and more regular-season games than any other team since Kevin Garnett arrived in 2007-08.

There's one place they haven't enjoyed any success.

Oracle Arena is the only visiting venue where the Celtics have failed to win since Garnett's arrival, a six-game drought they'll try to end Tuesday night as they open a four-game road trip against the improving Golden State Warriors.

Boston (40-14) has won 218 games over the past 3 12 seasons, riding the league's top defense to two NBA finals appearances and the 2007-08 championship.

Golden State (26-29) has averaged the second-most points in that span, and while it's been held to 96.0 points per game in losing all three trips to TD Garden, the Celtics haven't done so well defensively in Oakland. The Warriors have averaged 107.0 points in three victories over Boston at Oracle Arena, stretching their home winning streak in the series to six with a 103-99 win on Dec. 28, 2009, behind 37 points from Monta Ellis.

Perhaps more impressively, Golden State has rallied from at least 12 down in each of the home wins with Garnett anchoring the Celtics' defense.

Ellis missed out on making the Western Conference All-Star squad, but with Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the East lineup, the Celtics were well-represented.

Pierce - who missed last season's game in his hometown of Oakland with a knee injury - turned in an All-Star performance in Boston's final game before the break. After scoring one point and missing all 10 field-goal attempts in a win over Miami on Feb. 13, Pierce bounced back Wednesday with 31 points in a 94-80 victory over New Jersey.

"He's back, because he's a great player and those guys just don't have a lot of back-to-back bad games," coach Doc Rivers said of Pierce. "He was terrific."

Tuesday's game will be the last the Celtics play prior to Thursday afternoon's trade deadline, and Boston could be in the market for a player that would fit seamlessly with a defense that allows a league-low 91.1 points per game. The Celtics and Rockets have reportedly discussed a deal that would land Shane Battier with the East's defending champion.

A much-improved defense has certainly given the Warriors a boost recently. After allowing an average of 107.0 points through 46 games, Golden State has surrendered 97.6 points over its last nine.

STEINMETZ: What would be a successful season for Warriors?

It's an impressive 7-2 in that stretch, including three straight wins heading into the break. Ellis scored 35 points in Wednesday's 107-100 victory at Utah, the Warriors' sixth since Jan. 30 against an opponent with a winning record.

"This is a big step for us," coach Keith Smart said. "Knowing that this team was desperate, they had to try and get a win and our guys fought through it."

The Warriors improved to 15-2 when they hold their opponent to 100 points or fewer, but getting a big contribution from Ellis is still critical. Golden State is 16-5 when Ellis scores 27 or more.

Rondo will be at least partly in charge of slowing Ellis down, but the NBA assist leader has had some huge offensive games against the Warriors. Rondo has averaged 20.3 points versus Golden State since 2008-09, easily his most against any opponent.

Allen's 26.9 points per game in Oakland since 2004-05 are his most in any road venue.

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip


NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.

Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.

Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.

The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.

Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.

Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.

Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.

The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.

NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.


Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.