Cavs offer rare opportunity for Kings

412837.jpg

Cavs offer rare opportunity for Kings

March 16, 2011

CLEVELAND (12-53) vs.
KINGS (16-49)

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

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference while the Sacramento Kings are last in the West.

RELATED: NBA conference standings

With Sacramento coming off one of its best efforts of the season thanks largely to Marcus Thornton, Cleveland is coming off one of its worst.

The Kings will look for back-to-back wins for just the third time all season when they host the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Thornton, who averaged 7.8 points off the bench with New Orleans before being acquired prior to the trade deadline, is averaging 22.2 points on 49.1 percent shooting in 10 games since joining the Kings (16-49).

He scored a career-high 42 points as Sacramento scored its most points in a regulation game and made a season-best 56.6 percent of its shots in a 129-119 win over Golden State on Monday night.

REWIND: Kings hold on for win over Warriors

"Certainly that's above and beyond what you expect from anyone," coach Paul Westphal told the Kings' official website. "Especially after the guy comes over and wasn't playing all that much on the team he was on previously. He just needed the opportunity and he's embraced it in a big way.

"Our guys have confidence in him, he's obviously got confidence and I don't think it's his last 40-point game."

The Cavaliers know all to well of Thornton's scoring abilities, as he had 37 points - his previous career high - in Cleveland's 105-95 win over the Hornets on Feb. 23, 2010.

Thornton is averaging 28.5 points in two career games against Cleveland.

While the Cavaliers haven't been able to slow down Thornton, they've also struggled to shut down their opponents recently.

Cleveland (12-53) has allowed teams to shoot 50.5 percent in losing four straight and six of seven. The Cavs scored their second-fewest points of the season in a 95-75 loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday.

REWIND: Westbrook, Durant lead Thunder past Cavs

After getting outscored by 25 over the second and third quarters in its 110-90 loss at Milwaukee last Wednesday night, Cleveland entered the fourth quarter Sunday down by 19.

"I'm really starting to question what type of heart we have as a basketball team," coach Byron Scott said. "I care about competing. I care about coming out every single night, going against an opponent that has a different color jersey on that's trying to kick your butt - and not to respond to that is shocking and scary to me.

"It really makes me a little bit nervous and weary of what's gonna happen on this (three-game) road trip, because the last two games, I haven't seen the passion that I need to see from our guys."

The Cavaliers have lost 27 of 28 on the road while allowing 109.1 points per game.

Cleveland, which averaged 109.1 points over eight games following its NBA- record 26-game losing streak, has averaged 82.8 on 38.2 percent shooting in four games since.

Cavs point guard Baron Davis missed the last two games to be with his family following the death of his grandmother. It is unknown if he will be available Wednesday.

Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 107-104 victory at Cleveland on Oct. 30 to help snap an eight-game losing streak in the series.

Cousins is averaging 19.9 points and 11.1 boards in seven games this month.

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

**

Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.