Kevin Durant's movie opens this Friday

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Kevin Durant's movie opens this Friday

From Comcast SportsNet
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant is going from representing the red, white and blue to walking the red carpet. Adding to a resume that already includes being a three-time NBA scoring champion and Olympic gold medalist, Durant was the star as his movie "Thunderstruck" premiered in Oklahoma City's Bricktown entertainment district Sunday night. It opens in other theaters Friday. Durant strolled down a red carpet in a black T-shirt, grey vest, white jeans and black sneakers to answer questions about his acting skills instead of the deadly shooting ability that propelled the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals last season. "Of course, people are going to look at it a little different because I'm a basketball player and I'm doing something different," Durant said. "A basketball player is what I do. It's not really just solely who I am. I like to do other things. "It's all about conquering your fears. That's one thing I did with this, stepping in front of a camera and people yelling Action!' It's not the norm for me. I did something outside the box, and I'm glad it turned out pretty well." Durant was getting his first chance to see the completed project, which was shot in Louisiana during the NBA lockout last year and then during the season in Oklahoma City in January. It also features Nickelodeon star Taylor Gray, Brandon T. Jackson from "Big Momma's House" and Jim Belushi. Gray plays a Thunder fan whose lack of basketball ability is magically switched with Durant's All-Star skill set. "I'm just blessed. I'm just blessed to be alive, first of all. Blessed to be here, to have this opportunity," Durant said. "Not too many people can say they starred in a movie as a basketball player, with a lot of different things they're juggling, but I'm glad I did it." The folks at Warner Bros. might not have been able to pick a better time to put out a movie starring Durant, exactly one week after he won Olympic gold as Team USA's leading scorer and a little over a month after he played against LeBron James' Miami Heat for the NBA title. The family comedy follows in the footsteps of other movies with NBA superstars as the headliners, including "Space Jam" starring Michael Jordan and "Kazaam" with Shaquille O'Neal. "When a guy goes over and hugs his mom after the game, that's a guy that people are going to like and that's what you need in a movie," director John Whitesell said. "You need a guy, a star, who people are going to want to relate to or are going to care about. "You want people to care that Kevin can't shoot. If LeBron can't shoot, I don't care. I'm happy. But if Kevin can't shoot, I'm sad." Whitesell said Durant might have been caught off guard by the days he had to be on set and in front of the camera for 12 hours, when his previous experience was with much briefer commercial shoots. The first day, he had Durant bounce a ball in a gym and worked toward getting him comfortable in his own shoes -- because he plays himself in the movie. "I wanted to create an atmosphere for him that he felt comfortable and confident in, so that he could grow into it as we went, and I think that went really well," said Whitesell, who remembered his only other experience filming athletes coming on a cameo appearance by Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson on the short-lived NBC show "Tattingers." Gray said he played varsity basketball as a junior in high school, but then left to start shooting TV shows. He walks away with an unforgettable memory from playing one-on-one against Durant. "It's like, to this day, my biggest accomplishment in basketball. He was really guarding me and had blocked like the last three shots and I was just running around throwing up hook shots and anything I could, and one fell in," said Gray, who hopes the film will help him land roles in future movies. Durant has said he doesn't see himself doing any more feature-length movies because of the demands on his time. Whitesell put it this way: He doesn't think Durant will do another movie at least until he wins a championship. "This is a guy who everybody wants a piece of him right now and he's got a lot on his plate. But I know from when we were there what he cares about. He cares about basketball," Whitesell said. "He wants to win a championship, he wants to do the best he can possibly do at that and he's just blossoming." Already, Durant has accomplished one goal by winning gold in London alongside James, Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars. He said he didn't get much ribbing about being a movie star, although a couple of his Olympic teammates did ask about it. He planned to send a text message to them all after getting to see the movie for the first time. "Hopefully they'll take their kids to see it, and hopefully they enjoy it," Durant said. "Those guys, man, they're unbelievable. They support everything. Those guys are really good teammates. I was blessed that I got that opportunity to be around such great players but such humble guys as well."

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”