King-sized test -- facing NBA's best in San Antonio


King-sized test -- facing NBA's best in San Antonio

March 11, 2011

KINGS (15-47) vs.

Coverage begins at 5:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Any concerns that Tony Parker returned too soon from a calf strain were alleviated in one of the San Antonio Spurs' most impressive offensive games of the season.

Parker and the NBA-leading Spurs could put up similar numbers Friday night when they try to win their 11th straight over the last-place Sacramento Kings.

San Antonio (52-12) was expected to be without Parker for a month, but he missed only two games before returning last Friday against Miami.

After totaling 29 points his first two games back, Parker finished with 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting in a 111-104 win over Detroit on Wednesday. He scored five points in the final 2:07 after Detroit cut a once 19-point deficit to five.

"There were a couple times in the game where he took over," Manu Ginobili said of Parker. "I remember one play that (coach Gregg Popovich) told me to go sub in, but he was playing so well that he told me to wait two more minutes and see what happens, so he finished the quarter and in the fourth quarter he just finished the game, so he was huge."

The Spurs, who shot a season-high 64.3 percent, were 17 of 21 from the field in the first quarter en route to a 40-26 lead.

With the win, San Antonio became the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot.

The Spurs are looking to win their 11th straight over Sacramento after extending the streak with a 113-100 victory Feb. 4. The Spurs shot 57.1 percent and received 25 points from Parker.

Just as they did versus Detroit, San Antonio got off to a fast start against the Kings, leading 34-19 after the first quarter.

"Hopefully we face the Kings the same way we did (Wednesday)," Ginobili said. "Starting hard, moving the ball and playing good 'D' solid. ... We know that when you give a team confidence and they start playing relaxed and they don't have anything to lose, they can get you in trouble and you can get up losing a game that you shouldn't. So hopefully we start hard and play our usual style."

Parker has been key in San Antonio's dominance of Sacramento, averaging 23.7 points and 8.5 assists the last six games in which he's played at least 20 minutes.

The Kings (15-47), who have the worst record in the West, have lost four straight, falling 106-102 to Orlando on Wednesday. They led by six with less than six minutes remaining, but the Magic went on a 13-4 run to regain control.

REWIND: Kings blow late lead, fall to Magic

The loss came despite a career-high 29 points from DeMarcus Cousins and 22 from Marcus Thornton. Sacramento finished with 21 turnovers.

"There were so many really good things about that game for our team. I just hate to come in here and talk about that close loss against a good team, but that's what it was," said coach Paul Westphal, whose team has lost 14 of 17. "We had too many turnovers again and it wasted a really, really, good effort."

The Kings played Wednesday without Beno Udrih, who sat out his first game of the season with the flu. He's expected back in the lineup Friday.

Despite his team's struggles, Cousins has played well the last four games, averaging 23.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. However, he was limited to seven points in 24 minutes against the Spurs last month.

Sacramento has lost seven straight in San Antonio since a 97-87 victory in 2006.

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick still does not have an NFL team.

The Baltimore Ravens, who were linked to Kaepernick after praise from head coach John Harbaugh, have reportedly signed David Olson, according to nfldraftdiamonds.com

Olson, who played at Stanford and Clemson, most recently took snaps for the Kansas City Phantoms of the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF).

"He’s a great guy," Harbaugh said on Thursday about Keapernick, who remains an unrestricted free agent. "He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about. We’ll just see what happens with that. Only speculation right now. He’s a really good football player and as I said at the owners' meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year."

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco is expected to miss time due to a back injury.

Raiders to release OL Austin Howard


Raiders to release OL Austin Howard

The Raiders will release Austin Howard, one of their big free-agent signings from the 2014 offseason. The offensive lineman was informed of his release just before training camp, according to a league source.

Howard confirmed the separation on social media with an early Friday morning post: 

Howard was scheduled to make $4.9 million in base salary this season, with $2.4 million in dead money against the salary cap. The Raiders can afford the cap hit, but will enjoy the slowing salary cash flow in 2017.

Howard inked a five-year, $30 million contract with the Raiders early in the unrestricted free agent signing period. Howard played right guard in his first season, but moved to tackle in the following two years. He made 39 starts in three seasons in silver and black, mostly at right tackle.

Howard played 2016 under duress. He worked through an ankle issue early that year and had offseason shoulder surgery that impacted him throughout the Raiders offseason program.

He regained health recently after missing the offseason program, but the Raiders chose to part ways with the veteran and focus on other options at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse has pole position in the competition, but Vadal Alexander will challenge him for a starting spot. Rookie forth-round pick David Sharpe will also compete.

The crop of talent left Howard with too-high a salary entering a tight position battle, and expendable.

The Raiders will have two spots available on their 90-man roster following the release of Howard and running back Taiwan Jones. 

Here is Howard's full Instagram post: 

OAKLAND!!! A lifetime of memories have been made these past three years, and I am grateful for every single one of them. Unfortunately my time with the #Raiders has come to an end. To my OL dawgs, love y'all boys. #RaiderNation appreciate all your support, you guys are like none other. I came to Oakland my first year with a start of 0-10... through hard work and dedication we built a team that had more success it had in years, and thus we turned this group of players into a play-off bound and elite team. Starting on this Offensive line for the majority of that time is something that I'll never forget. One thing I can say is that no matter the situation, no matter if it was battling through injury, or political scrutiny that this business demands, I left it all out the for my teammates and always had and will always have their back. I will always be proud of that. Thank you to Mr. Davis and the Raiders organization/coaches that allowed me this opportunity. Thank you to my family, especially my parents, siblings, my friends, my agent Kevin Robinson, and last but DEFINITELY not least my beautiful wife Larissa who has been with me since the beginning, and through the thick and thin and has SELFLESSLY been the REAL reason that I've been able to do my job on the field for the passed seven seasons, for all your love, support, encouragement and prayers! To my baby girl, Daddy loves you and couldn't imagine this life without you! Having an opportunity and blessing to share all of this with you has been the biggest gift of all...As upsetting as it is, that "business" gets in the way of a good thing, I know that this is not the end of my NFL journey. Looking forward to what God has planned for me next... #DoubleSevens #NotDone #SomethingBigComingNext #NFL #DontBlink #Challenge #ImUpForIt #MovingForward #TrainsComin #GodIsGood #WatchThis #Oakland #YearEight #SeeYouSoon #UNI #Panthers

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