Cousins' big night not enough; Blazers top Kings


Cousins' big night not enough; Blazers top Kings


SACRAMENTO (AP) Nate McMillan thought the Portland Trail Blazers needed a wake-up call, so the coach made them watch their disappointing loss to Houston.This horror film definitely got to the Blazers.Wesley Matthews scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Portland pulled away for a 107-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who were coming off a 103-87 home loss against the Rockets and had dropped three of four overall. Andre Miller had 19 points, Nicolas Batum added 17 and Patty Mills finished with 14."I tortured them this morning by making them watch last night's game," McMillan said. "We showed them just what they looked like (against Houston)."
REWIND: Rockets beat Blazers 103-87
McMillan has used the tactic in the past, but Aldridge admitted it's typically a good motivator."I might have fell asleep (watching the film)," Aldridge joked. "Seriously, you don't want to see yourself looking that bad. We know defensively we looked bad against Houston. We really picked it up tonight."Rookie center DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost two straight and six of eight. Marcus Thornton scored 26 points, Beno Udrih added 13 and Jermaine Taylor and Jason Thompson each had 10."For the most part, this was an example of an experienced team jumping on mistakes at an opportune time that an inexperienced team made," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We did a lot of good things, but we couldn't come away with a win."Portland put together a 7-0 run to take a 102-95 lead with 51 seconds left. Batum made a wide-open 3-pointer, Gerald Wallace dunked off an alley-oop pass from Matthews and Aldridge converted a long jumper during the surge.The Trail Blazers, who have won a season-high five consecutive road games, are one of a handful of teams fighting for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference."It's March and every game counts," said Batum, who had three of the Blazers' 11 steals. "We have 21 games remaining, so every game is a big one because the Western Conference is a tough place to play."Sacramento played its first game in Power Balance Pavilion but it's unclear how long the Kings will remain in their renamed home. The building had been called Arco Arena since the inaugural game on Nov. 8, 1988.On Tuesday, the Maloof ownership group received an extension from the NBA for filing an application for relocation next season, setting up a fight between California cities for the franchise. The Kings already are in talks with Anaheim, which is looking for an NBA team to share the Honda Center with the NHL's Ducks.RELATED: NBA extends relocation deadline for Kings
Sacramento drew its second sellout crowd of the season on Monday night, thanks to an organized effort by fans to launch a campaign to keep the team. But there were plenty of empty seats - attendance was 12,286 - against the Blazers as new reports painted an even grimmer picture of the team remaining in the city.Cousins helped the Kings pull within three points midway through the third quarter. But the Blazers built the lead to 79-73 heading into the fourth.Guard Brandon Roy, who had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in January, didn't play against the Kings because the Blazers have decided to rest him when they play on consecutive nights.Coming off consecutive losses where they had 83 and 87 points, the Blazers had plenty of offense early on against the Kings. Aldridge scored 16 points and Miller had 13 to lead Portland to the Blazers to a 61-53 halftime lead."Even though they have injuries and their star players have been injured, LaMarcus has done a great job of stepping up and filling in," Cousins said.NOTES: Rudy Fernandez, a key reserve for the Blazers, missed his second straight game with the flu. ... Kings F Francisco Garcia suited up for the game, but didn't play. Garcia has missed 21 straight games with a strained left calf, but may return for Saturday's game at Utah. ... Mills made 6 of 8 shots and his 14 points came in 14 minutes. ... The Kings have until April 18 to announce a move.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win


At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.