One last time? Sacramento, Lakers renew rivalry


One last time? Sacramento, Lakers renew rivalry

April 13, 2011
LA LAKERS (56-25) vs.

Coverage begins at 7:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- All of a sudden, the Los Angeles Lakers have major concerns other than their poor play down the stretch after an injury to center Andrew Bynum.

Concern that the Sacramento Kings could be moving south seems to have been replaced by the growing sense that it will soon become reality.
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The Lakers will be dealing with the aftermath of another injury to Bynum as they try to clinch the Western Conference's No. 2 seed Wednesday night in what will likely be the Kings' final game in Sacramento.

Los Angeles (56-25) ended a five-game skid with Tuesday's 102-93 home win over San Antonio, but it may have come at a cost. Bynum fell to the court after stepping on DeJuan Blair's foot during the second quarter and the shot-blocking 7-footer will have an MRI on Wednesday.

RELATED: Lakers snap skid, but lose Bynum to injury

Bynum was hurt while getting back on defense, awkwardly tumbling to the court and nearly doing the splits while putting an inordinate amount of weight on his right knee.

Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that Bynum could be out for at least a few games.

"We've seen him go down a couple of times that have been debilitating, so there's a concern," Jackson said. "It was kind of a freaky play, but they usually are, and that's what basketball is."

The Lakers need a victory or a loss by Dallas to New Orleans on Wednesday to gain the No. 2 seed. Los Angeles has been the top seed in winning the NBA title the past two seasons.

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Jackson has won eight of his 11 titles as the conference's top seed. One of the seasons he didn't need a No. 1 seed to win it all brings back painful memories to Sacramento fans - 2001-02.

The Kings were the No. 1 seed that season and lost a dramatic West finals to the Lakers in seven games. It was part of an era when the franchise reached the playoffs eight straight times from 1999-2006.

Sacramento (24-57) hasn't been back to the postseason since, and likely won't be hosting NBA basketball again after 26 seasons in California's capital.

Anaheim's City Council issued the bonds needed to entice the franchise and new federal trademark rights have been requested.

The Kings' owners, the Maloof brothers, have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request. Approval by a simple majority of the owners is virtually guaranteed.

"It's going to be a basketball funeral," said Robert Crashner, a Kings season-ticket holder for almost a decade. "Unless a miracle happens, I guess it's going to be over."

The Lakers have won eight of their last nine against the Kings, and four straight in Sacramento. The Kings could be without high-scoring guard Tyreke Evans, who sat out Monday's 120-112 loss to Oklahoma City with a sprained left ankle.

REWIND: Durant, Westbrook too much for Kings

Still, Sacramento wants to give its fans a memorable send-off.

"If it's the last game in this building, we want to close it out with a win over the Lakers and if it's something that will catapult us to next season here, we want to win it with a win over the Lakers," coach Paul Westphal said.

After Spurs loss, Warriors concede it might take time to mesh defensively


After Spurs loss, Warriors concede it might take time to mesh defensively

OAKLAND – Zaza Pachulia saw the incriminating video, all of it. David West watched it, too, and saw the same thing.

JaVale McGee also took a look and, if nothing else, glimpsed that his brief appearance included a spectacular lowlight.

The Warriors on opening night stepped onto their home court and were assaulted by the Spurs. Most of the offensive punishment was inflicted upon the big men, from Pachulia to backups Anderson Varejao, West and McGee.

The Spurs exposed the center position, once occupied by a barrier that was Andrew Bogut, as a defensive weakness for the Warriors. The Warriors didn’t rebound and it was open season in the paint and on the pick-and-roll.

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The issues that surfaced in a 129-100 demolition were impossible to miss on video.

“The tape doesn’t lie,” coach Steve Kerr said.

“There were too many moments when we either weren’t communicating or were miscommunicating,” West said.

“The small details are the difference,” Pachulia said.

That defensive strategist Ron Adams neither sulked nor grumbled – both of which he is very capable of doing – suggests he also believes this area won’t be a source of game-to-game vulnerability over the course of the season.

“Ron was good,” Kerr said. “He was pragmatic and focused on the areas we can fix.”

The biggest problem has to do with unfamiliarity. Nearly half the roster has been turned over, and the four longest bodies – Kevin Durant, McGee, Pachulia and West – are new to the Warriors. Each looked lost at times Tuesday night.

“When you’ve got a group that’s used to playing a certain way, and now we’re trying to figure out new bodies and new people and new tendencies, it’s not going to happen overnight,” West said. “We recognize that.”

That’s the prevailing opinion of the Warriors on the day after they were taken apart by one of the few teams with the goods to do so, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard doing most of the damage.

While the Warriors are convinced the right pieces are in place but not always sure of where they fit, they conceded it might be a while before it meshes to the satisfaction of all.

“Our communication was poor, and it’s something we worked on in practice,” Kerr said. “And it’s going to come. This team the last two years has basically been ready to roll. When I came in as coach, I inherited the team that finished fourth defensively the year before. So we already had a great defense, from Day 1, and we ended up first in defense that year.

“We have a new defense now. It’s different personnel. And we’re going to have to grow with that.”

NBA issues warning to Andre Iguodala

NBA issues warning to Andre Iguodala

The Warriors lost their season opener on Tuesday night in blowout fashion.

And on Wednesday afternoon, Andre Iguodala received a notification from the NBA.

The league issued the Warriors' sixth man a warning for violating the league's anti-flopping rule.

The play in question came in the first half when Iguodala and Kawhi Leonard made contact on the wing.

According to rules, Iguodala will be fined $5,000 if he flops again, $10,000 for a third violation, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 on the fifth violation.

In 27 minutes against the Spurs, Iguodala registered two points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and one turnover.

He committed three fouls and his -28 was the second worst on the team.