Faltering Kings welcome in energized Warriors

411098.jpg

Faltering Kings welcome in energized Warriors

March 14, 2011

WARRIORS (30-36) vs.
KINGS (15-49)

Warriors coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
Kings coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California!

(AP) -- The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings likely won't be playing in the postseason, but their matchups this season have been nothing short of exciting.

Sacramento hosts Golden State on Monday night in the third matchup of a season series in which the previous two were Warriors wins in overtime.

The Warriors (30-36) have also won two straight overall, taking differing paths to those victories. They hit a franchise-record 21 3-pointers Friday, rallying from 21 points down to beat Orlando 123-120 in overtime.

Two nights later, they produced their best defensive showing in five years. Golden State beat Minnesota 100-77 on Sunday, halting Kevin Love's double-double streak at 53 games and forcing the Timberwolves into 36.6 percent shooting.

It marked the fewest points allowed by the Warriors since a 109-77 victory Feb. 4, 2006 - also against Minnesota.

REWIND: Warriors blow out T'Wolves, snap Love's streak

Stephen Curry scored 24 points and added nine rebounds Sunday for Golden State, which entered play giving up 105.8 points per game, 28th in the NBA.

Love had 12 rebounds, but David Lee held him to a 1-of-6 shooting performance and six points.

"I had a lot of help (Sunday)," said Lee, who had eight points and six rebounds. "The biggest thing was I knew if we could keep him from having a big night that we could win another game."

If this matchup plays out similarly to the previous two meetings between the Warriors and Kings this season, it won't be a defensive clinic.

Monta Ellis scored 36 points in a 117-109 overtime victory Dec. 21 at Sacramento, and his 28 points complimented Curry's 34 on Jan. 21 at home in another Golden State overtime win - 119-112.

Sacramento (15-49) has dropped six straight overall and allowed 100 points or more in 13 of its last 14 games, including a 115-103 loss Saturday at New Orleans.

Marcus Thornton scored 25 points against his former team, but foul trouble plagued Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins. He finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but sat most of the fourth quarter while the Hornets pulled way.

REWIND: Kings can't contain Paul in loss to Hornets

"We just ran out of gas and couldn't execute when we needed to in the fourth quarter," said coach Paul Westphal, whose club got outscored 31-18 in the final 12 minutes after entering the fourth with a one-point lead. "Obviously, we couldn't stop Chris Paul and David West. That's pretty much the game in a nutshell."

The Kings played without two of their best players from their meetings with the Warriors in Beno Udrih and Tyreke Evans. Udrih scored 34 points in the December loss, while Evans had 35 in January.

Udrih (flu) is a game-time decision Monday, while Evans likely will remain sidelined. He hopes to return soon from the plantar fasciitis which has kept him sidelined for the past month.

The Warriors have won three straight meetings with the Kings and six of the last eight.

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”