Howard, Magic seek revenge against Kings


Howard, Magic seek revenge against Kings

March 9, 2011

ORLANDO (40-24) vs.
KINGS (15-46)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard questioned his team after sloppy play contributed to an embarrassing home loss to the Sacramento Kings two weeks ago.

It appears that some of those questions remain unanswered.

Following a one-game suspension for picking up his NBA-leading 16th technical foul, Howard and the Magic begin a five-game trip Wednesday night looking to avenge their loss to the Kings.

With Howard on the sidelines, the Magic (40-24), who rank in the bottom third of the league with 14.6 turnovers per game, committed 19 versus Portland en route to an 89-85 defeat Monday.

"It's been an ongoing problem, we're one of the higher turnover teams in the league," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We either (have to) take care of the ball better or we're gonna struggle."

The Magic's five-game winning streak against Sacramento (15-46) came to an end Feb. 23 as the Kings scored 26 points off 17 turnovers in a 111-105 victory, a result that led Howard to call out his teammates.

"We've been talking for a long time - all we seem to do is talk," Howard said after a 31-point, 17-rebound effort. "You guys know what the difference is. You watch the games. If guys don't want to play, they need to sit down. We can't just have guys or anybody out there not playing hard."

Orlando went on to win four straight after Howard's remarks but has now lost back-to-back games for the first time in over a month. Van Gundy is hoping to get a better effort on the trip.

"We just need to play well," he said. "I'm interested to see how well we play. It doesn't have anything to do with where we are or anything else. We just need to play well, we need to play well consistently."

Jameer Nelson, who committed five turnovers versus the Kings, also registered five against the Trail Blazers and Gilbert Arenas had six.

While the Magic have held teams to 93.5 points per game in winning three of four on the road, the Kings have surrendered 113.2 points on 50.2 percent shooting during a 2-8 stretch.

Despite a 20-point first-half performance from rookie DeMarcus Cousins on Monday night, Sacramento trailed by seven at halftime and fell 123-101 to Houston.

REWIND: Kings blown out at home by Rockets

"You've got to guard somebody. You can't give up 30-point quarters every quarter and expect to win," coach Paul Westphal said. "Our defense was not good enough really ever to give us a chance to hang around in the game."

Cousins, averaging 22.0 points and 13.3 rebounds in his last three games, was 0 of 5 from the floor and failed to score in the second half.

Guard Jermaine Taylor, who continues to see minutes in place of the injured Tyreke Evans, scored a career-high 21 last month against Orlando.

The Kings, who have dropped seven of eight at home, haven't swept the Magic since 2003-04.

"I'm sure that they remember that game and they'll come out with all guns a blazing," Westphal told the Kings' official website. "I see that Dwight Howard got suspended for a game and sat out but he'll be back in time for our game, don't worry."

Howard is averaging 27.0 points and 14.6 rebounds while shooting 70.8 percent in his last seven meetings with the Kings.

Orlando has won three of four in Sacramento after winning three times in its first 17 visits.

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 his time walking off the mound after Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to replace him in the eighth inning.

Moore wanted to enjoy the ovation from the crowd at AT&T Park, something he hadn't heard for quite some time.

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

"It's something that I think is one of the coolest parts about playing here, is just how loud it can get and the appreciation coming off the hill," Moore said. "It was definitely nice to have that."

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.

"He's got a good rhythm going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looks like he's playing catch with (catcher Buster Posey), that's the effort he's putting in it right now. I think it's helped his command on all his pitches."

Moore credited a calmer approach in his last two starts.

"For a lot of the season I was overthrowing," Moore said. "It's just too much to be gritting that much through. After the break that was something I was working on, making sure I'm not white-knuckling too much stuff."

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.

"We got four hits (and) Alfaro had two of them," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "The bats just ain't there right now."


Starting pitcher Zach Eflin (1-5) allowed six runs and seven hits over five innings for the Phillies and later complained of tightness in his right shoulder. Eflin has lost two of three starts since a two-month stint in the minors. "As the fifth inning came to an end it was more of a precautionary thing to come out because it wasn't feeling right at that point," Eflin said.


Posey has hit safely in 20 straight games against Philadelphia, the longest hitting streak of his career against any team.


Phillies: 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.