Augustin, Jackson put Kings away in Bobcats win


Augustin, Jackson put Kings away in Bobcats win


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Gerald Wallace's locker had been cleared and reassigned. He was edited out of the pregame video and Stephen Jackson replaced him as the last player introduced.For a night, at least, the Charlotte Bobcats didn't need their former All-Star forward. With Jackson scoring 30 points, D.J. Augustin adding 23 and Gerald Henderson stepping up in Wallace's place, the undermanned Bobcats pulled away to beat the Sacramento Kings 110-98 on Friday.But life without Wallace, the last original member of the 7-year-old franchise, was a jolt to nearly everyone involved in the organization."Me and Gerald had a routine. We go out, walk out, warm up together," Jackson said. "It felt different not having my brother here with me, man."A day after trading their second-leading scorer to Portland, the Bobcats pulled away in the fourth quarter despite dressing only eight players. Henderson, replacing Wallace in the starting lineup, scored 10 of his 21 points in the final period.Kwame Brown, the only available center, added 12 points and 13 rebounds and Charlotte moved within a half-game of Indiana for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
RELATED: NBA standings
"If we lose this game, it's an uphill climb," coach Paul Silas said.Short-handed or not, most teams expect to beat the struggling Kings these days, who are without injured star Tyreke Evans, are facing distractions about possible relocation and now have more questions regarding DeMarcus Cousins.The rookie, who was disciplined for getting into a fight with a teammate earlier this month, was benched 25 seconds into the third quarter after a silly turnover and sat out most of the second half.Cousins declined to speak to reporters."I'd rather not address that right now," coach Paul Westphal said. "I thought it was the right move at the time."Samuel Dalembert, getting extra playing time in Cousins' place, had 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Kings fell to 2-4 on a seven-game road trip."It's one of the worst games we played this year, especially on defense," guard Beno Udrih said.It was a strange sight at Time Warner Cable Arena without Wallace, a former Kings benchwarmer who went from an expansion draft pickup to the face of the Bobcats.Owner Michael Jordan sent him west to cut costs and begin a rebuilding effort despite Charlotte still being in playoff contention.The Bobcats got two first-round picks, center Joel Przybilla, forward Dante Cunningham and forward Sean Marks, who will be waived. Przybilla, Cunningham and D.J. White, acquired in a separate deal with Oklahoma City for Nazr Mohammed, weren't eligible to play because all the players in the deals hadn't completed their physicals.Jackson, who moved to Wallace's old small forward spot, shook off another technical foul to hit 11 of 19 shots and all but two of his 10 free-throw attempts.Augustin constantly beat Udrih off the dribble in hitting nine of 11 shots and Henderson continued his strong play that helped fuel the decision to trade Wallace."You dream of being in the NBA, you dream of starting, you dream of playing against the best players," Henderson said.The Kings, who took 14 fewer free throws, did get 14 points from Marcus Thornton in his Sacramento debut after he was acquired from New Orleans on Wednesday in what's been a tumultuous week.
REWIND: Kings swap with Hornets; Landry for Thornton
The Kings filed a request Thursday for an extension of the NBA's March 1 deadline to seek permission to relocate for next season. Unable to secure funding for a new arena, the Kings have been in discussions with officials in Anaheim, Calif., NBA Commissioner David Stern said.
RELATED: Kings request extension to discuss arena options
Sacramento, coming off an impressive victory at Orlando on Wednesday, gave Charlotte trouble early.Already short-handed, a nervous Silas yanked Jackson 2 minutes into the game when he picked up his 14th technical foul of the season. It came less than a minute after Eli Roe, who ejected Jackson from a game earlier this season, called him for a charge."I just told him that he had to cool down," Silas said.Jackson, now two technicals shy of an automatic one-game suspension, avoided an ejection while getting to the free-throw line frequently even as it felt odd without Wallace."I think it's going to feel like this for a while, not having him by my side," he said.NOTES: Westphal said he hasn't addressed the franchise's uncertain future with the players. "Not at all," he said. "We just talk about the games." ... Silas expects the three players Charlotte will keep in the two deals, Przybilla, Cunningham and White, to practice Saturday. ... The Bobcats are expected to attempt to re-sign F Derrick Brown once they waive Marks and Morris Peterson, acquired in the Thunder trade. ... Udrih had 11 points and 13 assists.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."


Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play which nullified what would have been a Sharks power play after a Drew Miller interference.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”