Kings hope to avoid season sweep by Clippers

398889.jpg

Kings hope to avoid season sweep by Clippers

Feb. 28, 2011

LA CLIPPERS (21-39) vs.
KINGS (14-43)
Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 and 10:30 for Part 2 of Jim Kozimor's report on the Kings' rumored move to Orange County.

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers will be without one of the key contributors to this season's three wins against the Sacramento Kings, but they may have some additional resources ready Monday night at Arco Arena.

The Clippers, who could have new acquisitions Mo Williams and Jamario Moon available, look to sweep the season series against the Kings for the first time in 25 years.

Los Angeles (21-39) is looking for its first win since the All-Star break after a brutal four-game stretch against playoff contenders. Following a 108-95 loss to the Lakers on Friday, the Clippers fell 99-92 to Boston on Saturday.

"It's tough playing back-to-back games, especially against the two teams that we just played," Blake Griffin, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, said. "We have good pieces. We've just got to get them out there all at the same time."

Williams and Moon were not allowed to play while the Clippers finished paperwork after acquiring them from Cleveland for Baron Davis on Thursday. Meanwhile, Eric Gordon missed his 17th consecutive game with a wrist injury.

Gordon's return could come in the next week, although he's been ruled out for Monday. However, Los Angeles is optimistic it will have Williams and Moon available.

Gordon's absence could be particularly felt against Sacramento. He's averaged 29.3 points in three wins over the Kings this season, but Griffin will try to help make up for it after averaging 20.7 points and 13.3 rebounds in the three meetings.

The Clippers are looking to sweep the season series against the Kings (14-43) for the first time since going 5-0 against them in 1985-86. In the last meeting, Los Angeles held on for a 100-99 victory at Arco Arena on Dec. 27 after Sacramento's Tyreke Evans missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.

The Kings return home after a 2-5 road trip they ended with two straight losses. They fell 120-92 at Memphis on Saturday.

REWIND: Kings blown out in Memphis to end road trip

Beno Udrih scored 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, but the rest of the team shot 38.9 percent. Sacramento, which played a sixth straight game without leading scorer Evans (foot), scored 43 points in the second half.

"After the first quarter, we couldn't get anything going for us, it seemed like," coach Paul Westphal said. "We couldn't guard them at all, and offensively, we were turning the ball over, not executing well.

"We looked like a tired, depleted team, which we are."

Opponents averaged 114.6 points and shot 51.2 percent against the Kings during the road trip.

After being benched during the third quarter in a loss to Charlotte the night before, rookie DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench Saturday and scored 14 points, adding seven rebounds before fouling out. Westphal said the decision came because he feels Samuel Dalembert, who finished with seven points and eight rebounds, has played better than Cousins.

"It's pretty much as simple as that," Westphal said.

The Kings have lost five straight at home.

Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational

jabari-seton-hall.jpg
AP

Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational

HONOLULU Jabari Bird nearly notched his first collegiate double-double with 22 points and a career-high nine rebounds, but just as his effort fell short, so did California men's basketball's efforts against Seton Hall. The Pirates slipped past the Golden Bears, 60-57, at the Pearl Harbor Invitational to hand Cal its second loss of the season. The Bears are now 7-2.

Seton Hall's Angel Delgado scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Delgado, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward, made 6 of 9 shots from the field in a game-high 36 minutes played.

Desi Rodriguez scored 15 points and Khadeen Carrington had 14 points with four assists for the Pirates (7-2).

Carrington tied it at 45 with just under 12 minutes to play on a 3-pointer from the right wing, which ignited a 7-0 Seton Hall run. California never regained the lead.

Ivan Rabb's putback pulled the Golden Bears (7-2) within 58-57 with 31.1 seconds remaining, but Carrington and Delgado each hit a free throw to extend the Pirates' lead to 60-57 with 2.7 seconds left.

Bird had a chance to sent it into overtime, but his 3-pointer from about 25 feet as time expired was no good.

California closed out the first half with an 11-4 run to turn a four-point deficit into a 34-31 lead.

It was just the second meeting between the teams with California winning 81-76 on Dec. 8, 1973.

BIG PICTURE

California: Rabb, a 6-11 sophomore, struggled for the second consecutive game. He made just 3 of his 8 shots from the field and finished with eight points after being held to a season-low six points against Princeton Tuesday. Rabb, who has been playing with a left wrist injury, entered Wednesday's game averaging 17.5 points per game.

Seton Hall: The Pirates reeled off their third straight win despite making just 9 of their 20 attempts (45 percent) from the free-throw line. They shot just 46.6 percent (21 of 45) on free throws for the two-day tournament.

UP NEXT

California will host UC Davis Saturday, its seventh home game in 10 contests this season.

Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist in sports

painkillers-bottles.jpg
AP

Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist in sports

Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets had one of his greatest games ever against the San Francisco 49ers two years ago and remembers almost none of it, because, as he told reporters Wednesday, he was cloudy-minded on painkillers.

This admission is one more reminder that sports are not necessarily good for one’s health, in large part because the culture of health in sports really doesn’t exist.

There is, rather, a culture of ordinance, and the players are the weaponry.

Marshall’s acknowledgement that he was masking pain from a high ankle sprain that should have kept him out of action for “four to six weeks,” by his own estimation but had him returning to action 10 days after the original injury.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain,” he said on a conference call with CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. “I really wasn’t supposed to play. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

We now re-enter the culture of playing when it isn’t prudent, either out of a misplaced sense of bravado or employer-based pressure to perform (there is no direct statement from Marshall saying that the painkillers were given to him by the team). The sense of bravado, which most athletes have, probably can never be legislated, and the culture of downward pressure to perform no matter what the infirmity has proven immensely difficult to conquer.

But there is another factor here, and that is the general lack of efficacy of painkillers. Warriors coach Steve Kerr took to using a form of medicinal marijuana because the painkillers he was taking for long-lingering symptoms from his back surgery were doing more harm than good. He said he found the marijuana was equally lacking, but he had enough concerns about the deleterious effects of Vicodin, OxyContin and other standard medications assigned to athletes in pain.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole on the Warriors Insider Podcast. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

He later expanded on that after the initial “Kerr Is A Sparker” headlines hit the Internet.

“Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, a lot of pain, a lot of chronic pain, I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet . . . NFL players, that’s what they’re given. That stuff is awful. That stuff is dangerous, the addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long-term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.

“But I understand that it’s a perception issue around the country. The NFL, the NBA, it’s a business. So you don’t want your customers thinking, ‘These guys are a bunch of potheads.’ That’s what it is. To me, it’s only a matter of time before medicinal marijuana is allowed in sports leagues because the education will overwhelm the perception. If you do any research at all, the stuff they’re prescribing is really bad for you and the stuff that they’re banning is fine.”

It is instructive, then, that when Marshall was asked for his position on the NFL’s stance not to include marijuana as a permissible substance for pain management, substance, a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall did answer the question, saying in essence that he fully intends to know better, period.

“That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time,” he said. “I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us – positives and negatives.”

In the meantime, sports soldiers on, using increasingly debunked methods for dealing with the pain their businesses inflict upon their employees and issuing warnings about breaching the silence of the workplace. But tales like Marshall’s will continue to surface until the businesses that require him and his like come to grips with the toll of their shortsightedness and, in some cases, neglect.