Kings, Nuggets meet again in Sacramento

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Kings, Nuggets meet again in Sacramento

April 1, 2011

DENVER (45-29) vs.KINGS (21-53)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- While the Denver Nuggets usually take care of business at home against the Sacramento Kings, it's been a different story playing them in California.

Seeking a fifth consecutive win overall, the Nuggets hope to avoid a 25th loss in 28 road games against the Kings when the teams finish a home-and-home set Friday night.

Denver (45-29), sitting fifth in the Western Conference, improved to 13-4 since shipping Carmelo Anthony to New York prior to the trade deadline with a 104-90 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets are outscoring opponents by 17.5 points during their four-game win streak.

While they've won five straight and 11 of 14 at home in this series, they have lost four in a row at Sacramento while giving up an average of 111.0 points. Denver has dropped 24 of 27 there, including a 122-102 defeat Jan. 6 as Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins and guard Tyreke Evans combined for 47 points.

Sacramento (21-53) led by as many as 13 on Wednesday but was outscored 63-39 in the second half and had a four-game winning streak snapped.

"Beating a team back-to-back in the NBA is a difficult challenge," coach George Karl told the Nuggets' official website. "I don't care what the records say. They beat us in Sacramento and kind of embarrassed us a little bit on national TV, so they are not afraid of us."

With Anthony out of the picture, the Nuggets' willingness to play as a team has largely contributed to their recent success.

Denver is averaging 24.7 assists since the deal - tied for the fourth-most in the league since the All-Star break - and 3.5 more than it averaged before the blockbuster trade.

"I compare it to when I was in college," said guard Raymond Felton, who helped lead North Carolina to the 2005 NCAA championship.

"We had a team full of good players. Everybody can score. We just kind of came together. Everybody didn't care who was scoring or who was getting the shots. We were worrying more about winning. We had a lot of success that way and that's what's happening so far here."

The Kings also have done a good job spreading the ball around since getting Evans back in the lineup. They've averaged 25.8 assists in four games since the reigning Rookie of the Year returned after missing 19 with a foot injury.

Evans had 22 points Wednesday while Marcus Thornton led Sacramento with 27. Thornton is averaging 22.4 points since he was acquired from New Orleans at the trade deadline and is pleased with the Kings' recent progress.

"We are jelling as a team," said Thornton, averaging 27.7 points in the last three games. "It all comes together having a young team we are picking up momentum going into the next season."

Denver, scoring an NBA-best 107.6 points per game, has averaged just 90.0 on 39.7 percent shooting en route to back-to-back road losses. The Nuggets are 1-13 away from home when scoring less than 100 points.

Forward Kenyon Martin left in the first quarter Wednesday with flu-like symptoms and his status for Friday is unknown. Guard Arron Afflalo, though, is expected to return after missing four games with a strained left hamstring.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.

Ownership of Jazz transferred to Legacy Trust to keep team in Utah

Ownership of Jazz transferred to Legacy Trust to keep team in Utah

Since Larry Miller died back in 2009, there have been some around the league that thought the Jazz might eventually be sold out of the family, most likely to an owner looking to move them out of Utah. The Miller family has denied that vehemently, and there has been not even a step that direction, but it’s easier to kill Freddy Krueger than an NBA rumor.

Monday, the Miller family killed that rumor for good, taking an unprecedented step that will keep the Jazz in Utah for a long, long, time.

Gail Miller has transferred ownership of the Utah Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena into a Legacy Trust that will keep the Jazz in Utah for what she said would be “generations.”

“As a family, we have always considered the Utah Jazz a community asset and it has been our privilege to serve as stewards of this team for more than 30 years,” Miller said. “There have been many opportunities to sell and move the franchise, but from the day Larry and I purchased the Jazz our goal was to keep the team in Utah. The Legacy Trust will help to ensure this commitment is kept for generations to come.”

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