Kings ride Tyreke to 106-97 win over Jazz


Kings ride Tyreke to 106-97 win over Jazz


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Tyreke Evans had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Sacramento Kings past the slumping Utah Jazz 106-97 on Sunday night.Rookie DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals before fouling out in the game's final minute for the Kings, who ended a two-game slide. Francisco Garcia had 17 points and Marcus Thornton scored 15.Paul Millsap scored 21 points for the Jazz, who dropped their sixth straight game - Utah's longest slide since a nine-game skid from March 4-19, 2005. Kyle Weaver had a career-high 19 points, and rookie Gordon Hayward also scored 19.Evans started the fourth quarter by connecting from the perimeter and igniting the Kings, who never let the lead slip under eight points in the fourth.Evans got going in the third to help the Kings maintain their lead. He scored nine points and both Cousins and Garcia had eight, helping Sacramento take a 81-72 lead into the fourth.Darnell Jackson scored 11 points in the opening half for Sacramento, which led 50-40 at the break. Leading by seven points after one quarter, the Kings opened the second with a 15-2 run that put them ahead 41-21. Heyward scored 12 points for Utah.Despite starting the season 15-5, Utah was eliminated from playoff contention Friday with a 96-85 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.It didn't help Utah that starters Andrei Kirilenko (knee), Devin Harris (hamstring) and Raja Bell (calf) all missed the game, along with reserve Ronnie Price (leg).It's been an extremely difficult final two months of the season for the Jazz. Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan shocked the organization by retiring Feb. 10, and two weeks later the Jazz traded All-Star point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey.The Jazz are 5-18 under new coach Tyrone Corbin, who lost the interim tag shortly after he took over for Sloan and was given a contract through the 2013 season.Notes: Utah rookie Derrick Favors picked up three fouls in 5 minutes and quickly went to the bench early in the second quarter. Cousins had four first-half steals, one more than his previous season-high. ... C.J. Miles missed all seven shots and had zero points in the first half. He finished with six points. ... The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously Tuesday on a 75 million financial package that could help lure the Kings to Orange County. The council also voted in favor of paying for any of the franchise's relocation fees.

Durant finds motivation in those doubting his hunger

Durant finds motivation in those doubting his hunger

NEW ORLEANS – It’s early Thursday night and practice is over and the Warriors, one by one, have filed out of Smoothie King Center and onto one of two team buses.

Only one player remains: Kevin Durant, the 6-foot-9 forward, a nine-year NBA veteran with four NBA scoring titles and an MVP trophy among his possessions.

Durant at one end of the court continues to go through his vast arsenal of offensive moves. The drop-step. The step-back. The swipe. The spin-and-dunk. Sweat drips from his chin, his arms and his gray Warriors T-shirt. He’s talking to himself. He’s destroying Chris DeMarco, a 6-8 former small college power forward who has evolved into a valuable but oft-abused assistant coach.

“They say I’m not hungry,” Durant barks out at one point, before sprinting into a corner and launching a 3-pointer and then sprinting to the top of the key for another trey.

By now DeMarco, also soaked his perspiration, is watching from a seat on the bench. No matter. He rises yet again to go back at Durant in a matchup that feels very much like championship fighter and sparring partner.

Durant finally ends the functional torture of DeMarco and flops into a seat.

“How much fun do you have beating up on DeMarco,” he is asked.

Durant breaks into a grin.

“Those are people that you don’t really get to know, get to see, that contribute to success,” Durant says. “DeMarco, ever since I got here he’s been helping get better. He lets me beat up on him and work on my game. It’s easy to just go out there by yourself. But just having another voice and having token defense out there definitely helps. I’m just trying to get better, man.

“That’s what I’m all about.”

When asked about his “hungry” remark, Durant reveals a bit of himself. Like many sports superstars, he hears the chatter and absorbs the slights. Though the comment was made in earshot of a few reporters, it shines a light into the psychological games he plays with himself.

“That’s what I say to myself when I’m working,” he says. “I hear it all the time. You hear the noise. You hear what they say about you. Everybody hears it.

“So it’s a little extra motivation when I’m out there. Nobody in this arena right now, and that’s when you get better. Nobody sees you when you’re doing this stuff right here. But luckily, y’all were in here watching.”

Durant is on a roll now. He’s loose, he’s feeling good and he’s pulling off the mask.

“You hear that stuff and you just use it fuel,” he says. “You don’t let it affect you, obviously, but when you’re out on the court you just try to use it as fuel. And keep getting better. That’s how I am.”

Asked if he reads the criticism, Durant takes only a fraction of a step backward.

“It’s not that I read it,” he says. “It’s just in the air. It’s in the atmosphere, and people tell you and you hear about it and (reporters) ask me questions about it all the time. So, obviously, I know.

“But I’m not losing sleep on it. It’s just wood on that fire. You just keep always wanting to get better.”

Which opens the door to the subject of opening night, when the Warriors were manhandled in a 129-100 loss to San Antonio, prompting spirited debate among street-corner coaches and general managers.

“Obviously, you’re going to hear everything,” he says, grinning. “ ‘The season is over.’ ‘The team is the worst team in the league.’

“You thought it was going to be easy? It’s one game,” he adds. I remember losing in the playoffs by 30 or beating someone by 30 in Game 1 of the playoffs, and you say it’s only one game. And it’s one game in 82, and you (expletive) guys are making it feel like the world is ending.”

Durant is out of his chair. Still sweating, walks toward the exit to get on the bus.

He did what he felt he needed to do to get better. He said what he felt he needed to say, responding to critics. And he did it all with no less than a trace of a smile.

Harbaugh could make over $10M in 2016, more than Saban


Harbaugh could make over $10M in 2016, more than Saban

When USA Today released their annual series on college football coaching salaries, it wasn’t a complete shock to see Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh top the list given how much the school has invested in him since he returned to Ann Arbor from the NFL.

What was a little surprising was the total compensation figure listed for the Wolverines’ head coach at a whopping $9,004,000. That’s a figure that’s more than $2 million more than the second highest paid coach (Nick Saban) and $3 million more than Big Ten rival Urban Meyer.