Kings get first win in Phoenix since 2005

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Kings get first win in Phoenix since 2005

Feb. 13, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

PHOENIX (AP) The Sacramento Kings had one of their best nights of the season, and DeMarcus Cousins wasn't there to see it, let alone be a part of it.
Donte Greene scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings ended a five-game losing streak with a 113-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.Carl Landry added 20 points for the Kings, all but two in the second half. Samuel Dalembert, starting in place of Cousins, had 18 points and 15 rebounds.Steve Nash had 22 points and 18 assists but the Suns lost for the second time in eight games.Cousins, a rookie averaging just under 14 points a game, did not make the trip because of an altercation in the locker room with Greene after the Kings' 99-97 home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
NEWS: Kings' Cousins kicked off team plane to Phoenix
"We've been coming so close against good teams and getting turned away in the fourth quarter," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. "Tonight we pushed through and beat a good team on the road, especially with all the turmoil, or whatever you want to call it."Tyreke Evans scored 21 in Sacramento's first win in Phoenix in 11 tries. Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns.Phoenix, which had won three in a row, led by as many as 10 in the first half and was up 81-78 after three quarters, but the Kings opened the fourth with a 15-3 run. Greene scored the last five in what turned out to be the decisive surge. His 3-pointer put Sacramento ahead 91-83, then Nash lost the ball out of bounds and Beno Udrih found Greene inside for a layup that made it a 10-point lead with 6:03 to play.The Suns never got closer than four again, blowing a chance to climb two games above .500 for the first time all season."It's one of those losses that you are going to look back at and it's going to hurt," coach Alvin Gentry said.The Kings said in a brief statement before the game that Cousins would not play "while the organization reviews the situation that occurred in the locker room following last night's game versus Oklahoma City."Cousins reportedly was upset that Greene did not pass him the ball for the final shot. Instead, the ball went to Evans, who missed a 3-pointer.All five of the losses in the Sacramento skid came at home, none by more than five points. The Kings are 6-16 on the road but have won their last three away from home - over Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix.The Kings have not said whether Cousins would be banished for more than one game."We missed Cuz tonight but we couldn't dwell on it," Greene said. "We had to come out and still play well."There were no hard feelings, Greene said."Things happen," he said. "Everybody is not perfect. We try not to let things off the court distract us on the court. It is life. Everybody is not perfect and we've got to move on."Landry, 0 for 6 from the field in the first half, was 5 of 7 for 12 points in the third quarter. Greene shot 4 of 5 in the fourth quarter to finish 7 of 10.Nash was fouled on a 3-point attempt for the second time in the fourth quarter, but the best free throw shooter in NBA history missed one of three from the line and Sacramento led 109-104 with 27.7 seconds left. Two free throws apiece by Dalembert and Udrih sealed the victory."They just kept scoring and kept scoring and we couldn't stop them," Gortat said. "And when we didn't stop them, we couldn't execute. So, I would say it's obviously a really tough loss which cost us a lot."The Suns used a 22-4 outburst to take a 29-21 lead in the first quarter. Landry's steal and subsequent two free throws - his only points of the first half - cut Phoenix's lead to 48-47. Channing Frye scored the first five in a 9-0 surge that ended on Robin Lopez's steal and fast-break dunk to make it 57-47. Darnell Jackson's 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer cut the Suns' lead to 57-50 at the break.Notes: The Kings played the first of seven in a row on the road, with the All-Star break coming after the first three. ... Phoenix had won 12 consecutive Sunday home games, a streak dating to Feb. 22, 2009. ... After having no dunks all season, the Suns' Jared Dudley got his second in the last three games. ... Sacramento had not won since a home victory over New Orleans on Jan. 29.

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.

When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.

More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.

It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.

Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.

They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.

“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.

“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”

The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.

In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).

The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.

The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.

“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”

Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.

“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”

So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.

With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.

“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”

To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.

“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”

It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.

The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

SAN JOSE – Against Ottawa on Wednesday night, the Sharks showed no ill effects from their recent respite. They controlled play in the offensive end for long stretches, earned six power plays, and outshot and out-chanced the Senators for the majority of the three periods. 

There was no rust to speak of despite no games since Friday and no practices or meetings on Saturday or Sunday. From the opening puck drop, the Sharks were the better team.

It didn’t earn them a win, though, or even a single point in the standings. Justin Braun couldn’t prevent a bouncing puck from getting past him with about one minute left in regulation of a tie game, and Chris Kelly squeezed a shot through Martin Jones while holding off Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sens added an empty netter, beating San Jose for the fifth straight time, 4-2.

Braun offered his perspective of the game-winner.

"It was just bouncing in the neutral zone,” he said. “I feel [Kelly] coming on me, and I'm trying to whack it over to [Joe Thornton and] miss. Miss with my feet. … You want to have that one back. Other than that, I think the boys played pretty well."

While Braun could have played that one differently, the Sharks probably deserved better than to be tied at 2-2 at that stage. They outshot Ottawa, 37-17, and out-attempted the Senators a whopping 78-36.

Despite a strong first period, they fell behind 2-0.

On an early power play, Mark Stone was the beneficiary of a deflected puck in front of the net, when Mike Hoffman’s shot hit both Paul Martin and Brent Burns before squirting to Stone. Erik Karlsson increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot through a screen a few minutes later.

“Take a penalty, they get a lucky bounce, they score a goal, [then] they go up two on a shot through traffic,” Logan Couture said. “I thought we had most of the chances in that first.”

No one had better chances throughout the night than Joe Pavelski, who was the best player on the ice. The Sharks captain was robbed in front of the net twice late in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar in the second on a breakaway, and in the third his desperation attempt on a loose puck just outside of the blue paint was snared by Ottawa goalie Mike Condon.

Pavelski finished with a game-high seven shots, and 10 shot attempts altogether.

“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve won games 2-1, 3-2. Tonight we didn’t find that extra one, and some of the chances we had, we have to get it.”

The power play got one in the second period, courtesy of Couture, but could have had more on its six opportunities. That 1-for-6 stood out on the scoresheet to coach Pete DeBoer.

“I thought the power play maybe could have won us the game,” he said.

Even with wins in six of their last seven entering Wednesday night, though, the Sharks are still struggling to score. They have two or fewer scores in eight of their last 11 games, although they’ve managed to go a respectable 6-4-1 over that span.

They continue to get goals from the usual suspects like Couture (seven goals in 10 games) and Brent Burns, who had the game-tying goal in the third period (his fifth in eight games), but the depth scoring just hasn’t shown up nearly one-third into the season. It’s clearly becoming an issue as evidenced by DeBoer’s constantly shuffling his lines, which he did again late Wednesday.

The coach downplayed a suggestion that the depth scorers aren’t holding their water, though.

“We've been managing to find ways to win games and get enough goals to win,” DeBoer said. “Just didn't happen tonight, even though the shots and most of the play was in our favor. We just didn't win."

While the shot and scoring chance discrepancy was encouraging, the last minute loss meant it was all for naught.

“You’re never happy when you lose, especially [when] you give up a late goal, you want to at least get a point out of that game,” Couture said. “I thought we were the better team, start to finish. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”