Dalembert, Thornton lead Kings to rout of Wolves

416421.jpg

Dalembert, Thornton lead Kings to rout of Wolves

March 20, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Sacramento Kings were still smarting from a humbling beat down the previous game when they walked into Target Center to face the Timberwolves in a matchup of the two worst teams in the West.
RELATED: NBA standings
They responded with an emphatic performance, handing the Wolves a defeat that could linger in Minnesota for quite a while, too.Samuel Dalembert had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton added 23 points, nine assists and eight boards to lead the Kings to a 127-95 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday.Rookie DeMarcus Cousins was ejected in the third quarter after shoving Martell Webster, but the Kings went on a 21-0 run without him. The Kings picked up their 17th win of the season, tying them with the Wolves for fewest in the West."We had our worst game of the year last game and our guys responded extremely well tonight," coach Paul Westphal said, referring to a 22-point loss at home to Philadelphia on Friday. "I was happy for the effort."There was no such effort from the Wolves in the second-biggest home loss in franchise history.Luke Ridnour scored 22 points for the Wolves, who played most of the game without All-Star Kevin Love. He left in the second quarter with an injured left groin and finished with three rebounds and no points in 14 minutes.Michael Beasley scored 13 points, but played just 14 minutes while still dealing with a sore left hip from a flagrant foul committed by the Lakers' Andrew Bynum on Friday.Listless throughout, the Wolves were outrebounded 47-27, turned the ball over 25 times and allowed the Kings to shoot 56 percent, one game after taking the Lakers to the wire in Los Angeles. RELATED: Lakers hold off Timberwolves, 106-98
"As part of being professionals, you have to learn how to play every game the same," Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said. "Unfortunately we don't. A lot of guys on this team don't bring it every night. It's something that we all have to work on."The Kings were short-handed as well. They have played the last 17 games without point guard Tyreke Evans, who has been out with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. And Cousins, who was averaging 18.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in his previous nine games, was given an early exit after losing his cool yet again.Cousins got into a confrontation in the third quarter after getting tangled with Ridnour while setting a screen. Ridnour took exception and shoved Cousins, who pushed back.Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic stepped in and pushed Cousins out of the way. When Webster got near the area, Cousins shoved him as well, and referee Bob Delaney tossed Cousins from the game. He finished with three points and one rebound.Ridnour received a technical foul as well."I don't really understand what happened," Cousins said. "I got pushed and I pushed back. I shouldn't have reacted that way. ... I was just setting a screen. I don't know."It's the second time Cousins has been ejected in a rookie season that has seen several discipline issues. He was fined by the team and missed a game in February after fighting with a teammate and also has gotten into a few verbal altercations with coaches and teammates.The Kings didn't need him to snap a five-game road losing streak, thanks to 33 points scored off of turnovers and a 42-20 fourth quarter.After Beasley's free throw trimmed the deficit to 81-75 with 48 seconds to go in the third, the Kings made their move.Donte Greene scored seven points during the surge and the Wolves turned it over four times. Beno Udrih capped it with a jumper that gave them a 102-75 lead. Minnesota didn't get on the board in the fourth until just under seven minutes remained."It was kind of looked like it was going downhill when I got ejected," Cousins said. "It ended up they did a great job in the fourth quarter."Beasley appeared agitated and distracted from the outset. He thought he was fouled on a drive to the basket in the opening minutes but didn't get a call and proceeded to complain loudly to assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff as he headed back down the court.Once there, Beasley was given a technical foul for griping to the officials. He picked up his second personal foul in short order and spent all but five minutes of the first half on the bench."Us as teammates, we have to keep each other accountable," Tolliver said, speaking in general and not specifically about Beasley. "It's everybody's fault because we allow it to happen."NOTES: Darko Milicic had 13 points and six rebounds for Minnesota. ... Kings backup PG Pooh Jeter scored 13 points and added six assists. ... Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor presented Love with a ball honoring his 53-game double-double streak in the first home game since it came to an end. It's the longest streak since 1973-74.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.