Kings, Nuggets meet again in Sacramento


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.

The neck-breaking rise and fall of daily fantasy sports


The neck-breaking rise and fall of daily fantasy sports

The apparent cratering of the Draft Kings/Fan Duel phenomenon is largely a tale of greed gone wild, with coatings of arrogance and bullying through advertising, not to mention naked avarice, raw cupidity and what the Greeks used to call “pleonexia,” which is Greek for greed, avarice and cupidity.

It is a tale of what happens when you try to game a system that’s bigger than your own without cutting the people who run the bigger system in on the goods. It’s alleged wise guys finding out that it’s easier to skirt the law when you make the law. And it’s very definitely guys who got out over their skis trying to dominate a market that was doing fine on its own.

And hey, what’s better than smart guys getting theirs?

But there is actually a greater lesson in this for all of us, and it is this: Fantasy sports leagues are best left as small, interactive tribes whose competitors see each other, talk with each other, exchange money with each other and socialize (re: drink beer) with each other. The phenomenon began as an entirely holistic and communal idea in the 1960s in Oakland surrounding the still-larval American Football League, and grew on the ground level in other sports, in bars, rec rooms, bars, office break rooms, bars, vacations, bars, taverns, and ultimately, bars.

It was a way for friends to gather and ignore the bigger issues of living (like, say, families, which are far too time consuming, expensive and always end up with the parents battling desperately for a tie in a game once it becomes clear that they cannot win).

It was not meant to be mass-produced, let alone dominated by the guy with the best algorithms. That’s not sports, that’s math, and when was the last time you said, “Honey, I’m going out. Some math teachers are getting together to raise a little hell, and I don’t want to miss it”?

So never mind the “The DraftDuelers and FanKings tried to pull a fast one” angle, even though they did. Ignore the “They got too big and too grabby too fast” narrative, even though they did that, too.

What happened here was a perverse monetization of something that didn’t actually need improving or enlarging, because it was perfectly good the way it was. And perverse monetization is the path to perdition, I think we can all agree.

The fantasy industry also made a fatal error by trying to say for legal reasons that it wasn’t gambling, which it clearly was – except in one very granular way that nobody ever addresses.

Gambling, as in finding a bookie who will let you bet on games in any manner of exotic fashions, is meant to be a solitary pursuit left best for quiet brooders. If you have Seattle plus the 1½ when everyone else is bitching about the evils of a 6-6 overtime tie, you quietly accept your incredible good fortune and start to handicap Broncos-Texans, which you probably lost.

Fantasy sports, on the other hand, are meant to be shared, but only with those in your particular fantasy league as opposed to all other people, who do not give a steaming chalky damn about your made-up aggregation of athletes and actively hate you for breaching their worlds with your relentless yammering about your alternate-universe imaginings.

Put another way, people who tell you about their fantasy teams are people who need to be taken into the desert and abandoned. And people who commit these crimes should be allowed to avoid hypothermia, dehydration and coyote dinner only by making regular offerings of alcohol and foodstuffs to those whose peace and quiet they have thoughtlessly breached.

And the industrialization of fantasy sports was the last frontier of that obnoxio-hateful social development. It used commercial television to beat us all to death with something only a few of us cared about, and it reminded us that our culture loathes two things above all others – people trying to pull a fast one, and people telling us repeatedly about things we’re not remotely interested in hearing.

In other words, even if you were planning to be saddened by the collapse of the first wave of industrialized fantasy sports, don’t. They were people trying to cut themselves in on action that wasn’t theirs, and make a national phenomenon out of a social development best confined to a single room with six-to-20 people, all of whom had the good sense to bring wine and snacks.

I mean, seriously. Why would you want to screw with that setup?

Commissioner to talk to Indians owner about Chief Wahoo


Commissioner to talk to Indians owner about Chief Wahoo

CLEVELAND -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred plans to meet with Indians owner Paul Dolan following the World Series to discuss the team's continued use of the controversial Chief Wahoo logo.

The smiling, red-faced symbol has stirred strong opinions for years. Manfred said he understands "that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why."

Manfred also appreciated the segment of fans who are attached to Chief Wahoo, which still appears on some of the Indians caps and sleeves of game jerseys.

The Indians dropped Chief Wahoo as their primary logo three years ago, replacing it with a block "C'', but that isn't enough for some groups who want it abolished completely.

Manfred said he and Dolan agreed to put of discussion until after the Series.