Hot teams collide as Kings travel to Denver


Hot teams collide as Kings travel to Denver

March 30, 2011

KINGS (21-52) vs.
DENVER (44-29)

Coverage begins at 6 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

DENVER (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings have won four straight games for the first time in nearly 16 months, the first three of which came at the end of a surprisingly successful road trip.

Considering their next stop, it seems awfully unlikely that streak will continue.

The surging Denver Nuggets look for a 10th consecutive victory at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night in the opener of a home-and-home set with Sacramento, which can make it five wins in a row for the first time in more than four years.

As Denver (44-29) looks to maintain its hold on fifth place in the Western Conference - it's currently 1 12 games ahead of No. 6 Portland - a back-to-back series with Sacramento (21-52), at first look, has to seem awfully enticing.

But lately, the Kings have looked little like a team stuck in last place in the Pacific Division. Sacramento bounced back from a 132-92 loss at Chicago on March 21 by concluding its road trip with three straight wins, then shot 53.3 percent in a 116-113 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday.

REWIND: Kings stage inspired comeback against Suns

The recent return of Tyreke Evans, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists Tuesday, has certainly played a part in the Kings' resurgence, but Marcus Thornton has been perhaps the biggest reason. He had 24 points against the Suns and has averaged 24.3 in his last six games.

"Things are coming together," coach Paul Westphal told "Since the trade for Marcus, our roster has been more balanced. As we get healthy and are able to sort things out, I think we are showing that there are a lot of reasons for optimism."

Sacramento hasn't won five straight since Jan. 31-Feb. 10, 2007, and it hasn't recorded four consecutive road victories since Dec. 11, 2004-Jan. 4, 2005.

Erasing those droughts Wednesday won't be easy. The Nuggets and Lakers are the only two teams who haven't lost at home since the All-Star break, but while Los Angeles has won nine straight at Staples Center by a fairly impressive 10.9 points per game, that pales in comparison to Denver's dominance.

The Nuggets won their final home game with Carmelo Anthony before the break by one point over Dallas. Since the trade, they've won their eight games at the Pepsi Center by an average of 20.4 points.

Four players with 17 points apiece - Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, Chris Andersen and Al Harrington - led the way in the latest rout, 114-94 over Washington on Friday.

"We're approaching every game like it's a playoff game," point guard Raymond Felton told the Nuggets' official website. "We've got to prepare ourselves. We've got to get ready and stay focused."

One of the league's deepest teams could get a few more key contributors back Wednesday. Wilson Chandler, who sat out Friday with a lingering ankle injury, is probable, while guard Arron Afflalo, who's missed six of eight games with a strained hamstring, is a game-time decision.

Chandler averaged 11.0 points in two games versus Sacramento this season while with the Knicks, but scored a career-high 35 against the Kings on Feb. 9, 2010.

The teams, which wrap up their season series Friday at Power Balance Pavilion, have split their first two meetings, with each winning at home.

Evans had 27 points and a season-high 12 assists in Sacramento's 122-102 victory Jan. 6.

Instant Analysis: Raiders overwhelmed, stunned by Washington in season's first loss


Instant Analysis: Raiders overwhelmed, stunned by Washington in season's first loss


LANDOVER, Md. – The first two Raiders games went according to plan. They established an early lead, played solid defense and cruised to victory. The offense proved a dynamic and defenders exceeded expectation.

That streak snapped on Sunday night, when nothing went right.

The Raiders fell off the rails early and never recovered, losing a 27-10 decision to Washington at FedEx Field.

They made an average Washington squad look like a juggernaut. A prolific Raiders offense wilted under Washington pressure. Their mighty offensive line had its worst day in a while and typically reliable quarterback Derek Carr was off target.

The Silver and Black had just 128 yards of total offense, and gave up explosive plays on defense. They were beat soundly on both lines, and were never able to dig out of a early rut.

The Raiders were uninspired in most instances, but Marquette King gave his team some life. He forced a muffed punt late in the third quarter that James Cower recovered. Carr found Jared Cook on a 21-yard touchdown that ended the shutout.

The defense didn’t allow a comeback to take shape, giving up a 74-yard reception to running back Chris Thompson – he had 188 yards of total offense – that set up a field goal that put the Raiders down three scores.

Cory James forced a fumble deep in Washington territory, but the Raiders only mustered a field goal

The Raiders laid an egg in the first half. They got manhandled on both sides of the ball, committed silly turnovers and gave Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins far too much time to work.

He picked the Raiders secondary apart on two touchdown drives that established a two-score halftime lead. Former 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, seeing more time with Jordan Reed hurt, had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Raiders have long struggled covering tight ends, and made the veteran look like his old self, when he was dominant as a 49er.

The whole team seemed flat early in this game. Marshawn Lynch struggled to get the ground game going, Carr threw too many to the other team and the Raiders fell in an early hole.

Carr’s rough start: Derek Carr’s first pass was an interception. It wasn’t the only one. The typically reliable Raiders quarterback was out of sync to start this nationally televised contest, and the offense sputtered as a result. He was sacked on consecutive plays, as the offensive line struggled to maintain a pocket.

Washington scored after both Carr interceptions, and he finished the first half with just 32 passing yards.

Marquette strikes again: Raiders punter Marquette King puts some English on his punts. They’re tough to catch when he does that.

He forced a muffed punt for the second time in as many games, Sunday night, which helped the Raiders get on the scoreboard. James Cower recovered the muffed punt, and Carr found Jared Cook a few plays later to score the team’s first touchdown.

Kings owner Ranadivé releases statement on Trump's 'deeply disappointing' comments


Kings owner Ranadivé releases statement on Trump's 'deeply disappointing' comments

Sacramento — Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé released the following statement.

“I have a deep respect for our nation’s unwavering commitment to free speech and support all Americans’ right to freely express themselves. The President's recent comments are deeply disappointing, because our focus should be on fostering a culture of sensitivity and inclusion. Our mission at the Sacramento Kings has always been to unite our community and use our platform to create positive change, so we continue to stand with our players, and all people, who use their platform to raise awareness and make Sacramento and our country proud.”

Kings media services