Spurs extend Sacramento's skid with late run

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Spurs extend Sacramento's skid with late run

March 11, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Bat scares and losses. That's all the Sacramento Kings get when they visit San Antonio.Manu Ginobili scored 24 points, but this time took no bold swipes at a bat once again interrupting a Kings game in San Antonio, and the Spurs survived both the bat brush and Sacramento in a 108-103 win Friday night.Last season against the Kings - on Halloween, no less - Ginobili swatted down a bat circling the court. But what at first was commended as fearless reflexes wound up getting Ginobili a rabies vaccination and the scorn of animal rights activists.He wasn't making that mistake twice."I said 'Not again,'" Ginobili said. "PETA insulted me. So I said this time someone else is going to take care of it."Tony Parker scored 27 points and Tim Duncan had 15 for the Spurs. The brief bat commotion in the second quarter ended when it flew smack into a fan seated in the third row, and after that, the NBA-best Spurs had their work cut out for them against the lowly Kings.Jermaine Taylor and Omri Casspi had 16 points apiece for Sacramento, which took a 91-88 lead midway through the fourth quarter on Taylor's alley-oop dunk. The Kings already count the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando among their scant 15 wins this season, and at that moment, it looked like they might add the Spurs to the list during an otherwise miserable season.But Ginobili answered with two 3-pointers on the next three Spurs possessions. That jump-started a 17-2 run that quickly changed a near-upset to the fifth straight loss for Sacramento.Sacramento has lost 11 in a row to the Spurs, a streak that dates to 2007."It was kind of an impossible dream for us," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We were sitting here talking about how maybe we could have beat the Spurs on their court. But maybe we could have."Ginobili scored 10 points in the fourth, and DeJuan Blair had six of his 14 points in the quarter. George Hill also scored 14 for the Spurs.Pooh Jeter finished with 15 for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Francisco Garcia added 14 points.The Spurs played without forward Richard Jefferson, who missed the game for undisclosed personal reasons. Rookie James Anderson started in his place, scoring just three points in 18 minutes.Jefferson is expected to back in the lineup Sunday at Houston. It's the easiest stop on a three-game road swing for the Spurs, who'll also play at Miami and at Dallas before returning home March 19 to play Charlotte."We're going to have to play way better," Ginobili said.The Kings were also down a starter. Point guard Beno Udrih, their second-leading scorer (13.8 ppg), stayed in Sacramento with the flu. Luther Head started in Udrih's place, scoring seven points.Last season it was Udrih giving Ginobili grief for his bat-batting. This time, Westphal came closest to the bat, but whiffed when he took a lunging swing at it with his whiteboard."If that thing would've come six inches closer, I probably would have knocked it into next year," Westphal said.An usher wrapped the bat in a towel after panicked fans in the third row grounded it. They said the usher carried the bat away alive."Every time we come there's a bat out there on the court," Westphal said. "It's more of gamesmanship from Pop, I'm sure. You notice it's always flying around on our end."Notes: The Kings will have one more chance April 6 to break their skid against the Spurs. ... San Antonio improved to 31-3 at home.

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

OAKLAND – The shots kept falling, splashing through the net from all over the court, jumpers from 20 feet, from 25, from 30, layups from one side of the bucket, then the other. Klay Thompson was tap-dancing all over the Indiana Pacers.

It didn’t seem logical that a self-respecting NBA team like the Pacers would allow one man to put on a personal showcase, with them as the victims.

That’s precisely what Thompson did Monday night, before the 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, pouring in 60 points – more than he has ever scored in a game, more than anyone in the NBA his scored this season – in a 142-106 crushing of Indiana.

“Klay did do a good job of moving without the ball,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Tonight, he was moving and they were finding him.

“We needed to get more help, and we didn’t. He lit us up.”

In scoring 60 points in only 29 minutes – he exited with 1:22 left in the third quarter and did not return – Thompson found a zone above even the most ethereal zones. He happened upon a place even the most hallowed most NBA players never get the privilege of experiencing.

“That’s a feat I would put money on to probably never be touched ever again in the history of basketball,” said Stephen Curry, the reigning scoring champion as well as back-to-back MVP.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Kevin Durant, the four-time scoring champ who also has an MVP trophy to his name. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

With Thompson raining shots, his teammates standing and clapping and boogieing to the roar of the crowd, the Pacers were helpless witnesses to their own dismantling. As Thompson sizzled, and their defense fizzled, one thing became clear: There would be no double-teaming of the hottest shooter in the NBA this season.

How do you double-team Thompson, who plays mostly without the ball, when he’s sharing the court with Curry and Durant? You don’t. You take your chances and hope. And if Thompson is stroking it, you’re in trouble.

The Pacers tried numerous defenders on Thompson and none was up to the challenge. The Warriors, smelling the Pacers’ futility, went after them with a vengeance.

“You could see that once he got hot, Steph was looking for him and Draymond (Green) and KD and Andre (Iguodala) and Zaza (Pachulia), they were all looking for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“I’ve said this before, but I really believe the strength of our team the last few years offensive is the number of guys that can pass and make plays. What’s really gratifying as a coach is when you see that type of unselfishness.”

By the time Indiana’s superstar, Paul George, took the assignment, trying to cool Thompson, it was well into the third quarter, much too late. Thompson had made 21 of his 33 shots, including eight of his 14 launches from beyond the arc. He had become the first player in the shot-clock era (beginning in 1954-55) to score 60 points in fewer than 30 minutes.

He had hung the Pacers on a wall.

“I will celebrate this tonight,” said Thompson, whose previous career-high was 52 points. “It’s a feat I never really thought I would be able to do growing up.”

Asked if could have scored 80 points, Thompson barely skipped a beat.

“Maybe. I think I could have,” he said. “And maybe one day I will have the opportunity. 60 points in 29 minutes is not bad. I’m satisfied with that.”

His teammates were beyond satisfied. They were delighted. Enchanted. Durant scored 20 points and was agape at Thompson’s performance. Curry had 13 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers and was unusually demonstrative in recapping Thompson’s night.

“We just kept feeding him and feeding him, and he was knocking down some unbelievable shots,” Durant said.

“It was just so much fun to watch,” Curry said. “We appreciate that entertainment value as his teammates to see what he was able to do tonight. It was crazy.”

This was Thompson, taking full and extravagant advantage of both his own shooting skill as well as the benefit of teammates too lethal for any defense to ignore.

All of which left the other 29 teams around the NBA watching and wondering where on earth do they turn if any Thompson or Curry or Durant enters a zone.

This is quite the quandary, and it’s precisely what the Warriors had in mind when they hired Durant.

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – As the Warriors on Monday night celebrated their 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, All-Star guard Klay Thompson gave 19,596 fans an evening they’ll never forget.

Thompson scored 60 points, a career-high for him and the most any player has scored in the NBA this season, to carry the Warriors to a 142-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Thompson scored 17 points in the opening period, 23 in the second – for 40, representing a career-high for points in a half – and closed out his night with 20 in the third quarter.

So hot was Thompson that only no other teammate exceeded 20 points. Kevin Durant totaled 20, Stephen Curry had 13 and Ian Clark finished with 11.

Curry posted a season-high 11 assists, and Draymond Green recorded 10 as the Warriors were credited with 45 helpers overall.

With a 116-83 lead after three quarters, Warriors coach Steve Kerr went to his reserves for the entire fourth quarter.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Thompson, who took possession in the first half and locked it up in third quarter.

Thompson’s line: 60 points (21-of-33 from the field, 8-of-14 from deep, 10-of-11 from the free throw line). He played 29 minutes and finished plus-37 for the night.

TURNING POINT:
When a Monta Ellis layup pulled the Pacers within seven (46-39) with 8:14 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 24-3 run to go up 70-42 with 2:34 remaining in the half.

They went into intermission with an 80-50 lead, and Indiana got no closer than xx for the rest of the game.

The Warriors trailed for all of 12 seconds (in the first five minutes) in the game.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Pacers: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

ROSTER NOTE:
Rookie C Damian Jones is on assignment with D-League Santa Cruz.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors travel to Los Angeles, where on Wednesday night they face the Clippers at Staples Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.