Grizzlies could clinch playoffs with win over Kings


Grizzlies could clinch playoffs with win over Kings

April 8, 2011

KINGS (23-55) vs.
MEMPHIS (44-34)

Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

MEMPHIS (AP) -- There's one playoff berth remaining in the NBA, and the Memphis Grizzlies have all but wrapped it up.

They only need to defeat the visiting Sacramento Kings on Friday night to make it official and end a four-year postseason drought.

The Grizzlies (44-34) have closed in on their first berth since 2005-06 by going 25-11 since Jan. 20, tied for the league's fourth-best record in that span.

"I'm very happy. Not satisfied, but it's a great feeling to be in the position we're in right now," said point guard Mike Conley, on the verge of making his first playoff appearance.

Memphis, eighth in the Western Conference, lost 82-81 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in its only game this week but has been helped by back-to-back losses from ninth-place Houston. The Grizzlies are 3 12 games ahead of the Rockets, meaning the only way they won't make the playoffs is by losing each of their remaining four games while Houston wins its final three.

They have a chance to finish as high as sixth in the West, but must play better than they did Tuesday. Memphis blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and was held to two over the final two minutes to the visiting Clippers.

The Grizzlies had a four-game winning streak snapped and also saw a season-high six-game run at home come to an end, losing in Memphis to a sub-.500 team for the first time since falling to New Jersey on Dec. 21.

"It was a tough game all around," forward Zach Randolph said. "I don't think we came out ready. (We) came out taking this team too lightly. Let them stick around in the game. And you see what happened."

Memphis doesn't want to do the same thing against the Kings (23-55), owners of the West's second-worst record.

They had won two straight and six of eight before facing conference-best San Antonio on Wednesday. Memphis led shortly after halftime but gave up 41 points in the third quarter en route to a 124-92 loss.

REWIND: Third quarter dooms Kings in blowout loss to Spurs

"We got beat by a great team, did some good things, learned from the bad things," coach Paul Westphal said. "We showed that we can defend. We got good shots, didn't always make them, but that's basketball. In the third quarter, the roof fell in, but that doesn't mean everything was bad."

Westphal's team also was outscored 33-17 in the third quarter during its previous trip to Memphis, a 120-92 loss Feb. 26. Sacramento, though, played that game without leading scorer Tyreke Evans, who appears fully recovered from plantar fasciitis.

Evans averaged 9.0 points in his first three games back but is averaging 19.3 in his last three. He's averaged 26.3 points in his last three games against the Grizzlies.

Randolph has helped Memphis win two of the teams' three meetings this season, averaging 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds. Sacramento earned its lone win Dec. 29 at home when Evans made a half-court shot as time expired, spoiling Randolph's season-best, 35-point performance.

Memphis has won 10 of 13 at home against the Kings.

Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade


Dodgers add to riches, acquire Mets slugger in trade

NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash from the New York Mets for a player to be named later or cash.

The teams announced the deal after their games Friday night. The 36-year-old Granderson is hitting .228 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs this year.

Los Angeles is running away with the NL West. The Dodgers are 86-34 after Friday's win at Detroit . Granderson gives Los Angeles another option for the outfield along with Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson.

Pederson has been struggling quite a bit of late, hitting .149 since the All-Star break. Granderson, like Pederson, offers some power from the left side of the plate.

Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth


Giants pound Phillies in blowout win, Moore pitches into eighth


SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Moore took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and picked up his first win in nearly two months as the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-2 on Friday night.

Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford both homered, Pablo Sandoval had an RBI single and Denard Span added three hits and made a nice running catch in center field to help San Francisco to its ninth win in the last 12 games at AT&T Park.

One day after becoming the first team in major league history to reach 11,000 wins as a franchise, the Giants added on by beating the worst team in baseball again.

Moore (4-12) was crisp in his second straight strong start despite four walks, allowing two hits over 7 1/3 innings to win for the first time since June 20.

Four relievers combined for five outs to complete the four-hitter.

Jorge Alfaro singled twice and scored for Philadelphia.

Pence doubled and scored as part of a three-run first inning, then hit his 11th home run in the second.

Crawford tacked on with a two-run home run in the third, his 10th, after Sandoval walked. Crawford, who also doubled in the eighth, had been in a 2-for-22 slump.

Philadelphia didn't get a runner past second base until the eighth when Freddy Galvis singled in both runs.

Zach Elfin (1-5) allowed six runs on seven hits over five innings for the Phillies. He has lost two of three starts since a two-month stint in the minors.


Phillies: Manager Pete Mackanin's ballclub was one player short after the team placed OF Odubel Herrera on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in a move that is retroactive to Aug. 15. Herrera has a 17-game hitting streak that is the longest active in the majors. A corresponding move is expected before Saturday's game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session and could begin a rehab assignment early next week. Cueto also threw a 50-pitch bullpen during the team's recent three-game series in Miami. ... 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) and 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) both did cardio work before the game.


Phillies RHP Jerad Eickoff (3-7, 4.45 ERA) makes his second start against the Giants this season Saturday while San Francisco counters with LHP Ty Blach (8-8, 4.37 ERA). Blach blanked Philadelphia with a seven-hitter on June 2.