Steph steps up on Monta's off night as W's win


Steph steps up on Monta's off night as W's win


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Monta Ellis satstoically on the Golden State bench in the fourth quarter, a toweldraped over his head and an emotionless expression. Even he lookedstunned.The only thing perhaps more surprising than his performance was the outcome.Stephen Curry had 27 points, sevenassists and six rebounds and the Warriors overcame Ellis' horrendousshooting performance to beat the undermanned Utah Jazz 96-81 on Sundaynight to snap a four-game losing streak."It was one of those rare nights where everybody had to pick him up," Curry said.Even rarer was that they did.Dorell Wright scored 16 points, andReggie Williams added 15 to help the Warriors build a 19-point lead inthe fourth quarter while Ellis was on the bench. Ellis, averaging ateam-high 25 points, was held to a season-low two points on 1-for-9shooting in 31 minutes.Warriors coach Keith Smart figured it was just "one of those nights" in the grueling NBA season."It rained today. Why did it rain?Blame it on the rain. I don't know why," Smart said. "But I thinkthat's why you try to formulate a basketball team so you don't rely onone particular player."If only the Jazz could do the same without their star.Al Jefferson had 16 points and 14rebounds, and Andre Kirilenko had 14 points and nine rebounds for aJazz team that has lost six straight road games. Utah never seriouslychallenged in this one with star point guard Deron Williams out with ahyperextended right wrist and center Mehmet Okur sidelined by astrained back."We're going through some toughtimes," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We haven't played with a lot ofenergy and then Deron gets hurt. We get banged up and that's whathappens when you get in situations like that. But that's where you seewhere the fight is in you and see how bad you really like to play."The Warriors had to find new ways to win.They did some of their best workearly even with Ellis held scoreless for the first half. Wright made apair of 3-pointers, and Curry followed with another to lead an 11-2 runlate in the first quarter.Golden State pushed its lead to 14points in the second behind mostly reserves, although it struggled tokeep the pace - at first, anyway - without the starters, and the lackof production from Ellis showed.The Jazz regained their rhythm afterthe break and got within three points, smothering the Warriorsdefensively. They kept Ellis without a point until his only basket with7:39 remaining in the third quarter, and even that took some work:Ellis spun into the lane and made a floating layup over Utah'soutstretched front line."You could see he wasn't all the waythere, whether it was personal or whatever it was. I'm not takingcredit for that," Utah guard Raja Bell said.The Warriors managed just fine without him.They slowly went ahead 85-67 in thefourth quarter against team that was simply exhausted playingshort-handed. It was a rare night when Ellis had such low output andthe Warriors still won.The All-Star hopeful's previous lowthis season was five points in a 117-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakerson Nov. 21 when he hardly even played in the second half because it wassuch a blowout. The last time Ellis scored only two points came againstPhoenix on Feb. 4, 2009."You have to win a lot of differentways if you want to be successful," Curry said. "Every night's notgoing to be pretty. Even if everybody is not on their game, you have tofind ways to win."NOTES: The Warriors improved to 2-1against the Jazz this season. The home team has won each game. Theywrap up their season series Feb. 16 in Utah. ... Jazz reserve C KyryloFesenko played the final 8 minutes after missing the previous gamebecause of a sinus infection.

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

DeMarcus Cousins leads the NBA in technical fouls. He also leads the league in scowls and he’s even kicked over a few garbage cans following the Kings' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. But that’s just a small portion of who he is.

According to a source that travels with the team, Cousins went out of his way Sunday morning to make an impact in the lives of a couple of local youth in Chicago.

Kids were selling chocolate bars outside the team’s hotel trying to earn money for charity. Plenty of people walked by, avoiding the youth, but Cousins stopped, reached into his pocket and purchased all of the boxes they had to sell.

Later on in the day, Cousins donated the candy to the flight service staff for use on the flight to Detroit.

Cousins gets plenty of negative press for his antics on the floor, but off the court, he is extremely generous. He plays Santa-Cuz during the holidays, buying gifts for underprivileged children in Sacramento and his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He has also purchased a new scoreboard for a local high school and even paid for the funeral of a local high school football player who lost his life in a drive-by shooting.

No one is perfect, Cousins included, but he also has a genuinely good side that he often doesn’t seek or receive press for.


Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.