Orioles

Cousins helps Kings beat Cavs to end 4-game skid

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Cousins helps Kings beat Cavs to end 4-game skid

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 124-118 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

Jimmer Fredette and Cousins both scored eight points in the fourth quarter for the struggling Kings, who had allowed nearly 118 points per game during the losing streak and had three losses of 20 points or more.

Marcus Thornton had 20 points and Tyreke Evans added 18 for the Kings. Fredette had 16 points, John Salmons 14 and rookie Thomas Robinson tied a career high with 12 points and added seven rebounds.

Reserve Dion Waiters scored a career-high 33 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. CJ Miles scored 17 points and Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 15 points, but shot 6 of 19 and had six turnovers.

Waiters made two straight 3s, cutting the Kings lead to three points. After the Kings made a free throw, Waiters missed at the other end and Cousins secured the rebound and was fouled. His two free throws sealed the victory.

Irving made two free throws and a jumper to get the Cavaliers within five, but he lost the ball on consecutive possessions and the turnovers led to fastbreak layups byThornton and Cousins, giving the Kings a 116-107 lead with 1:29 to go.

Rumors continue regarding the sale of the Kings. The Maloof ownership is reportedly on the verge of selling the team to a Seattle-based ownership group that would move the team to Seattle next season.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is searching for a local group that will buy the team and keep it in Sacramento.

Evans made his first start since missing 16 games, including 11 straight, with a sore left knee. Evans, who played in a reserve role the previous three games, got going early, scoring seven points in the game's first four minutes.

Evans made all six field-goal attempts, including two 3-pointers, and converted four of four free throws.

Fredette converted a three-point play, then added two free throws following a hard foul near mid-court. Fredette's five straight points put the Kings ahead 106-98 with 5:31 remaining. Fredette was finished. He made consecutive 3-points to give Sacramento a nine-point lead with just over four minutes left.

Waiters scored seven points in a short span to keep the Cavaliers close in the fourth quarter. His driving layup with 6:42 left cut the Sacramento lead to 101-98.

Ineffective in the first half, Thompson was a major factor in the third quarter when the Cavaliers outscored the Kings 30-24. The Cavaliers' second-year forward had 11 points and seven rebounds in helping Cleveland pull to within 93-87 entering the fourth.

Cousins scored 14 points and eight rebounds in the opening half when the Kings led 69-57. Evans had 12 points and the bench contributed 31 points in helping the Kings shoot 56 percent.

Miles had 14 points and Waiters added 12 in the first half for Cleveland.

Notes: Cousins was called for a technical foul in the third quarter after committing his first foul of the game. Less than a minute later, Cousins was called for a controversial flagrant 1 foul against Zeller. ... Making a rare early appearance, Robinson had six points in the first quarter, highlighted by a dunk off a lob pass with one second left in the period. . Former King Omri Casspi had a strong second quarter off the bench, scoring 10 points. . Sacramento had its entire roster available, which hasn't been the case for much of the season due to injuries and suspensions.

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Who is Mike Elias?

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Who is Mike Elias?

Where to begin after a team loses 115 games? That’s the main question settling into Mike Elias’ future when he takes over the Baltimore Orioles' beached ship.

Multiple reports have pegged Elias as the Orioles new general manager. He’s yet another front office member of the Houston Astros to be plucked by an outside organization for a larger role. He’s young, comes from an analytics-fueled front office and walks into a job where there only seems to be one direction to go following last season. 

Elias also has local ties. The 36-year-old is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria. He went to Yale where he worked four seasons as a left-handed pitcher. Elias jumped into scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals directly after graduation.

Similar to Nationals manager Mike Rizzo, Elias moved up from a scouting baseline to a prominent decision-maker in the front office. Elias was ported from St. Louis to Houston when the Astros hired Jeff Luhnow to become general manager in 2011. The duo, and rest of the front office took over a team that was about to embark on three consecutive seasons with 100 losses or more. The organization became notable around the league for its fervent reworking of approach and willingness to absorb losses to vault to the top of the annual draft.

In 2012, the Astros selected Carlos Correa No. 1 overall. Elias, then a special assistant to the general manager, has received a large amount of the credit for taking a shortstop who became Rookie of the Year and an All-Star. Nine of the Astros’ 14 selections that year made it to the major leagues. Not all with the Astros. Not all with a large degree of success. But, they made it.

Houston selected burgeoning All-Star Alex Bregman with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. 

However, the Astros’ high-end draft history wasn’t perfect with Luhnow and Elias in place. They selected Stanford starter Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. Just 27, he is out of baseball after never making it past Triple A. The Astros took Brady Aiken with the top overall pick in 2014. He never signed. 

Yet, the organization continued to turn. Bregman developed into a star. Jose Altuve won the MVP award, Lance McCullers, also part of the 2012 class, became an All-Star. Four years after Luhnow arrived to reverse the organization’s course, the Astros had a winning season and reached the postseason. Two years later they won the World Series.

Hiring Elias signals the Orioles, long viewed as one of the stodgier organizations in baseball, are shifting to the modern era. Baltimore was known more for its reticence to embrace analytics as opposed to its use of the information. The move may also calm the ongoing rotation of the front office bosses. Elias will be the organization’s fourth general manager since the Nationals started playing baseball again in the District in 2005. 

Among Elias’ initial tasks is finding a new manager. The Orioles fired Buck Showalter after 8 ½ seasons. Three of them led to the postseason. But, the mess of last season forced a change.

They also need to hit in the draft. The Orioles hold the 2019 top overall pick.

Elias will try to conjure a way to resuscitate the Orioles while fighting the expansive cash flow of the New York Yankees and World Series champion Boston Red Sox within the division. 

He’s been part of turnarounds before. This one would fully be in his hands.

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Morrissey avoids suspension for Oshie body slam in a decision that makes little sense

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Morrissey avoids suspension for Oshie body slam in a decision that makes little sense

The Department of Player Safety announced Thursday that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey was fined $8,467.74 for his body slam of T.J. Oshie in Wednesday’s game. It is a punishment that falls well short of the standard the DPS itself set earlier this season.

Late in Wednesday’s game between the Caps and Jets, Oshie skated to the corner of the offensive zone after the puck while locked in a physical battle with Morrissey. Morrissey checked Oshie into the boards, then, as he was falling back, Morrissey slammed Oshie down to the ice. Oshie appeared to be dazed after the play which is troubling given his history of concussions.

There is nothing wrong with the initial hit. Both players were battling for the puck making Oshie eligible to be hit. The problem is after the hit when Morrissey slams him to the ice afterward, which is unnecessary and dangerous.

Oh, c’mon, you may be saying, Morrissey was just finishing his check! That’s not an argument anymore considering the DPS already suspended a player for doing the exact same thing earlier this season when Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson slammed Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson to the ice. Matheson was suspended two games for the play.

Matheson’s suspension was a matter of some debate within the hockey community not just because some argued Matheson was finishing his check on a hockey play, but because it was made to look worse by the fact that Pettersson is only 176 pounds, nearly 20 pounds lighter than Matheson. The DPS didn’t buy it and Matheson was suspended.

If you compare the Morrissey and the Matheson hits, they are very similar. Matheson hits Pettersson with a legal check, just as Morrissey did with Oshie. Matheson then slammed Pettersson to the ice after the initial check, just as Morrissey did with Oshie. One can quibble somewhat with the fact that Petterrsson’s skates came off the ice making the throw down more violent, but the two plays are similar enough that, in my opinion, it is fair to compare them and the corresponding punishment. In fact, one could easily argue that the Morrissey hit is worse considering he and Oshie are both listed as 195 pounds. Oshie didn’t go down to the ice because of a size disparity, Morrissey had to physically slam him down.

In addition, Morrissey is considered a repeat offender after getting suspended in the 2018 playoffs for a crosscheck to Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal. To be fair, being a repeat offender is not supposed to affect the DPS’s decision on whether a play is worthy of a suspension or not, it is only meant to be taken into consideration when determining the length of a suspension.

But the remains that the DPS was presented with two very similar plays within one month of each other and came up with two completely different punishments. That is more than a little head scratching.

The DPS has one of the toughest jobs in hockey. No matter what they do, most people are going to be unhappy with the decisions they make. It’s the nature of the job when it comes to determining supplemental discipline. Having said that, the one thing people should be able to expect from the DPS is consistency. The Morrissey hit on Oshie seemed like a slam-dunk considering a very similar play happened a month before and resulted in a two-game suspension.

But hey, Caps fans can at least take comfort in the fact that Morrissey was issued the maximum fine allowed by the CBA. So there’s that.

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