Spoilers? Kings look to do damage in Indy

426469.jpg

Spoilers? Kings look to do damage in Indy

March 25, 2011

KINGS (18-52) vs.
INDIANA (32-40)

Coverage begins at 4 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

INDIANA (AP) -- Tyler Hansbrough's return to the starting lineup has helped the Indiana Pacers build a sizable lead for the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth.

RELATED: NBA conference standings

It's Danny Granger, though, who has excelled in recent matchups with the Sacramento Kings.

The Pacers will try to take another step toward ending their playoff drought Friday night by topping the visiting Kings, who could get leading scorer Tyreke Evans back from injury.

Hansbrough's late season surge began during the Pacers' six-game slide earlier this month. To shake his team out of that slump, interim coach Frank Vogel inserted the second-year forward into the starting five March 9.

That move paid dividends four days later as Hansbrough scored a team-high 29 points in a 106-93 win at New York. He followed with a career-best 30 in the finale of a home-and-home series, and he's averaged 21.0 points and 7.6 rebounds over the past 10 games.

REWIND: Granger, Hansbrough lead Pacers past Knicks

"He's given us a huge lift," Vogel said. "He's one of the big reasons why since I took over that I believe that this team can make a serious run. ... I've got a great deal of confidence in that young man, and he's shown that he can really play."

With Hansbrough's help, the Pacers (32-40) have won five of seven, and he scored 24 points in a pivotal 111-88 rout of Charlotte on Wednesday.

Granger led the way with 33 points as Indiana extended its lead on eighth place in the East to three games over the Bobcats and Milwaukee. Indiana also got some help from Sacramento, which prevailed 97-90 over the Bucks on Wednesday.

REWIND: Kings triumph over Delfino, Bucks

"We want to go into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NBA," Vogel said. "We're excited about the last 10 games. These guys are hungry. They're motivated.

"We know how close we are. We all want it very badly."

With Granger's help, the Pacers could move closer to their goal. Indiana's leading scorer has averaged 34.5 points in his last four games against the Kings (18-52), and he had a season-high 37 in a 107-98 win in Sacramento on Nov. 30 despite suffering from the flu.

Evans missed 10 of 14 shots in that game while finishing with 16 points. He has been sidelined since Feb. 13 due to plantar fasciitis, but the 2010 rookie of the year might see action Friday.

"It will be great to have him back," guard Beno Udrih said. "It will be interesting to see how (Coach Paul Westphal) is going to divide up the minutes."

RELATED: Kings stats

Udrih scored 25 points and Marcus Thornton had a team-best 27 in Wednesday's victory, which came two days after a 40-point drubbing at Chicago.

Since coming over in a trade with New Orleans on Feb. 23, Thornton has averaged 21.8 points in 15 games with the Kings. He averaged 7.8 in 46 contests with the Hornets.

"Mixing Tyreke in there gives us a very strong backcourt rotation," Westphal said. "The way Beno and Marcus are playing, it shows we have a chance to have a really, really good backcourt."

Indiana is seeking its third consecutive win at Conseco Fieldhouse against Sacramento and fifth in six overall matchups.

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute

sens-win.jpg
USATSI

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Chris Kelly scored with a little more than a minute left in regulation, pushing the Senators to a 4-2 win over the Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday night.

On the deciding goal, Justin Braun misplayed a puck at the defensive blue line, and Kelly raced ahead on a partial breakaway before chipping it through Martin Jones at 18:54.

San Jose outshot Ottawa 37-17 for the game, and out-attempted the Senators 78-36, but lost for just the second time in their last eight games (6-2-0).

Ottawa won its fifth straight against San Jose, improving to 1-1 on its four game road trip.

Despite a lopsided advantage in shots and shot attempts throughout the night, the Sharks trailed 2-1 to start the third period. Brent Burns got the equalizer in a four-on-four situation, though, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the circle through Mike Condon at 6:30.

The Sharks had the better of the scoring chances in the first period, but it was Ottawa that claimed a 2-0 lead after the opening stanza.

Mark Stone’s power play goal at 3:42 opened the scoring. A shot by Mike Hoffman deflected off of the skates of Paul Martin and then Burns before Stone found it in front of the net.

Three-and-a-half minutes later Erik Karlsson made it 2-0, wiring a wrist shot through Jones after the Sharks were caught running around in their own end. Jones appeared to be screened by Tom Pyatt on the goal at 7:19.

Condon made some clutch saves later in the period, including a pair on Joe Pavelski, who was denied on a Sharks power play with 4:30 to go and then again at even strength with 1:52 remaining before the break. Pavelski was around the net all night, finding the post on a breakaway in the second period and getting robbed by Condon’s glove early in the third.

The Sharks kept pressuring the Senators in the middle frame, finally breaking through on the power play. A laser from Couture at 8:19 cleanly beat the Ottawa goalie for his seventh goal in the last 10 games.

Couture was playing despite minor surgery on Saturday, when he had a screw from a previous operation that had been bothering him removed from his right ankle.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an empty net goal to cap the scoring.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and are 6-for-25 over their last eight games. They generated 11 power play shots against the Senators in more than 10 minutes of power play time.

San Jose surrendered a power play goal against for the fifth time in the last six games, going 9-for-14 over that span. They came through late in the third with 3:58 to go in regulation when Patrick Marleau was issued an interference minor.

In goal

Jones was making his first start against Ottawa as a member of the Sharks, as Alex Stalock played both games last season. He took the loss with three goals allowed on just 16 shots.

Condon improved to 4-1-1 on the year with 35 saves.

Lineup

David Schlemko did not play due to injury, and is day-to-day. Dylan DeMelo played in his third game of the season, all coming within the last two weeks.

Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan returned after missing the previous three games with a finger injury. Goalie Craig Anderson was not with the club for personal reasons, as his wife is battling cancer.

Up next

The Sharks will visit Anaheim for the first time this season on Friday. The Sharks are 1-1 against the Ducks this season, both at SAP Center.

San Jose hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday for its second game in as many nights.

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – Shredding the league’s top-rated defense, the Warriors sprinted ahead of the Clippers early and raced to a 115-98 victory before a bipartisan sellout crowd Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson, as they defeated Los Angeles for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to March 2015.

Draymond Green scored 22 points, Stephen Curry 19, Kevin Durant 16 and Andre Iguodala 10 as the Warriors (19-3) emphasized ball movement and crisp passing to shoot 48 percent from the field, posting 32 assists on 42 field goals.

Curry consistently disrupted LA’s attempts to create rhythm on offense, as he nabbed seven steals, tying a career-high and also posting the individual high for the NBA this season.

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford scored 21 points to lead the Clippers (16-7), who lost for the fifth time in seven games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Green provided his usual buoyant energy and dirty work but also turned in a highly efficient scoring night, resulting in a season-high.

Green’s line: 22 points (8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 3-of-4 from the free throw line), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played 32 minutes was plus-25.

TURNING POINT

After a DeAndre Jordan dunk gave LA a 10-9 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with an 18-3 run to go up 27-13 with 2:38 left in the quarter.

The Clippers got no closer than seven (53-46, 2:21 left in the second quarter) after that, as the Warriors led by 13 at the half and by 16 after three quarters.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive.

Clippers: G Raymond Felton (family matter) was declared out prior to tipoff. Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.

ROSTER NOTE

Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors left LA immediately after the game, bound for Utah, where on Thursday night they will play the Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 Pacific.