Home Page

Big test for Bogdan Bogdanovic up against Donovan Mitchell

bogi-us.jpg
USATSI

Big test for Bogdan Bogdanovic up against Donovan Mitchell

SACRAMENTO -- Coming off a riveting overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, the Sacramento Kings look to make it two in a row Saturday evening. They’ll face a Utah Jazz team that’s fighting for their playoff life.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 23 points against Brooklyn, but it was the late game heroics of fellow rookie De’Aaron Fox that bought Sacramento an extra five minutes. Fox hit a floater on the baseline to tie the game and he and Bogdanovic dominated the overtime session.

Utah is coming off a big win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert each scored 26, but the Jazz were forced to play their starters major minutes before hopping a flight for Sacramento. 

The Jazz have won 13 of their last 15 games and sit just two games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

BETTING LINE 

Jazz by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Bogdan Bogdanovic vs. Donovan Mitchell -- The last time these two teams faced off, Mitchell lit the Kings up for 34 points on 14-of-19 shooting. Bogdanovic put on a show as well, dropping in a career-high 25 points on 9-of-11 from the floor and 6-for-6 from long range. It will take a team effort to slow Mitchell, who is in a dog fight for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year trophy.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 19-43, four place in Pacific

Jazz: 32-30, fifth place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: C Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) doubtful, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Raul Nieto (ankle) doubtful, PG Dante Exum (shoulder) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out, Dante Exum (shoulder) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Learn from your success -- Dave Joerger turned the game over to his young core on Thursday night and they almost blew the game. It took a big-time shot from Fox and a gutsy performance in overtime, but they pulled out the win. It’s a game the team can build from as they enter the final 20 games of the season.

Match force -- The Jazz are a physical team that likes to attack the rim. They got even more physical at the deadline with the addition of Jae Crowder and they have everything to play for. The Kings need to find a way to match the intensity of a team that is fighting for their playoff life. 

Replacing Willie -- Cauley-Stein is likely out for the game due to a lower back strain. Kosta Koufos might get the start against big man Rudy Gobert, but it’s going to take strong performances from Skal Labissiere and Zach Randolph if the Kings hope to make it two in a row.

SERIES HISTORY 

The Jazz hold a 1-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won three straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 103-82 and holds a 80-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis

hoskinsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper thrilled the home crowd and surely made his father proud, winning the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night with an exceptional display of power that carried him past Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18.

Harper hit the contest-winning blast in extra time, the reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during the 4 minutes of regulation. After he connected with the game winner, the Washington Nationals slugger threw his bat in the air and pointed both index fingers toward the sky as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.

The six-time All-Star arranged to have his dad, Ron, pitch to him in the annual contest on the eve of the All-Star Game. Harper responded with a performance that drew the loudest cheers of the night at Nationals Park.

It’s been a trying season for Harper, who’s hitting only .214 for the disappointing Nationals. He won a contest that many sluggers avoid, fearful it might wear them out and throw them off.

Harper can only hope this helps him get back into the swing.

The 2015 NL MVP beat Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Max Muncy of the Dodgers before trumping the fifth-seeded Schwarber, who put the pressure on with a solid outing before Harper stepped to the plate.

Wearing a headband that resembled the District of Columbia flag and displaying a right sleeve with stars and stripes, Harper trailed 18-9 with 1:20 left before rallying. He homered on nine of his last 10 swings before entering extra time.

Hours before the session, Harper spoke excitedly about having his dad pitch to him in the contest. The 25-year-old said his father “worked his tail off every single day to provide for me and my family” and “now being able to have him throw to me in a big league ballpark is the cherry on top.”

Harper advanced to the final with an astonishing spree of long-ball hitting. He trailed Max Muncy of the Dodgers 12-4 with 2:20 left, then peeled off six homers in 47 seconds before calling a timeout.

Harper returned to hit three more home runs in 22 seconds, the last of them inside the right-field foul pole.

The semifinal matchup between Schwarber and Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins was a thriller. After stunning top-seed Jesus Aguilar of Milwaukee in the opening round, the eighth-seeded Hoskins ripped 20 long balls to put the pressure on Schwarber.

Using a late surge, Schwarber pulled one ball after another over the right field wall to squeeze out a 21-20 victory — by far the highest-scoring matchup of the night.

The fans dutifully cheered most home runs during the first round, but they saved their loudest cheers for Harper, the last player to step to the plate.

After Freeman hit 12 home runs over the 4-minute span, Harper unleashed six shots of at least 440 feet and secured the victory with a drive to center long before the clock expired. As the ball cleared the wall, the left-handed hitting Harper walked out of the batter’s box and thrust both arms in the air.

Freeman was the oldest player in the field at 28, and the first Braves participant since Andruw Jones in 2005.

Milwaukee’s Aguilar, the NL home run leader at the break, was eliminated in the opening round by Hoskins 17-12.

Aguilar hit too many balls to straightaway center, where the wall stands over 400 feet from the plate. Hoskins pumped most of his drives into the left-field seats, where it’s 336 feet down the line.

The most thrilling first-round match featured a near buzzer-beater by Houston’s Alex Bregman, who fell to Schwarber 16-15. The difference was the pair of homers that Schwarber hit during 30 seconds of extra time, the reward for hitting two long balls of at least 440 feet.

Bregman — the lone AL representative — appeared defeated with a minute left, but he mounted a late surge and lost when his final swing produced a drive that landed at the base of the center-field wall.

Muncy advanced by defeating No. 6 seed Javier Baez of the Cubs, 16-15. Baez hit the longest shot of the Derby, a 479-footer.

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

rodgersap.jpg
AP

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

Green Bay Packers quarterback (and former Cal Golden Bear) Aaron Rodgers is known for his downfield accuracy. 

Rodgers has three successful Hail Marys to his name. The first, on Dec. 3, 2015 against the Detroit Lions, kept his team's playoff hopes alive. Another, on Jan. 16, 2016 against the Arizona Cardinals, sent the Divisional game to overtime, and a third came en route to a Wild Card game win against the New York Giants on Jan. 8, 2007. 

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, Rodgers added another notch to his belt.

His latest effort won't be confused with the other three, but it's not like any of those receivers landed in a body of water, either. 

The real question? Whether or not that's a catch under the NFL's new rules.