Ray Ratto

Kings beginning final homestand in Sacramento?

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Kings beginning final homestand in Sacramento?

April 11, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY (54-26) vs.
KINGS (24-56)

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

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- It won't be easy for the Oklahoma City Thunder to move up in the standings, but they are trying their best. The Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, soon will likely be moving south.

The Thunder have slim hopes of moving up from the fourth seed entering Monday night's game in Sacramento, where the Kings are beginning their final two-game homestand before an anticipated move to Anaheim.

Kevin Durant scored 31 points in the Thunder's 120-106 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Oklahoma City (54-26) had lost all nine previous games on the road to the Lakers, including three in the postseason, since Durant joined the team.

"This was a step in the right direction, but we want to get to something bigger, but it was kind of a statement win for us," Durant said.

Russell Westbrook added 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Thunder, who outscored the Lakers 32-16 in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles has lost five straight.

"The fourth quarter defense was the best as we could possibly play against one of the best teams in basketball," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "Anytime you can beat the Lakers it's a good win. They're one of the best teams and they haven't won a lot of games lately, but they're going to be right there."

Los Angeles and Dallas are tied for the No. 2 seed, one game ahead of Oklahoma City. The Thunder do not own tiebreakers over those teams so they need to win their final two games and have the Lakers or Mavericks lose both of their games to move up.

The postseason is a distant memory for Sacramento (24-56), and it appears that NBA basketball will be soon as well. The Kings have spent 26 seasons in California's capital, and will likely move south.

Anaheim's City Council issued the bonds needed to entice the franchise, new federal trademark rights have been requested, and just about everything else needed to put a simple majority vote before NBA owners is in motion.

This game and Wednesday's against the Lakers will likely be the final NBA games at Power Balance Pavilion.

Sacramento was considered one of the toughest arenas for visiting teams from 1998-2006, when the Kings made the playoffs eight straight seasons. The franchise has endured five straight losing seasons since.

The Kings return home after salvaging a split of a four-game trip Sunday night with a 104-103 victory at Golden State. Marcus Thornton scored 21 points, including a 22-foot jumper with 12.6 seconds left to secure the win.

"We've got two more tough games and those games are building blocks for us to see where we are," Thornton said. "I credit the guys for still playing hard."

Rookie DeMarcus Cousins had three double-doubles on the road trip, including 15 points and 13 boards Sunday.

Cousins has also been productive in three losses to Oklahoma City this season, averaging 18.0 points and 13.7 rebounds. Tyreke Evans is averaging 26.0 points in two games against the Thunder this season.

The Thunder have defeated the Kings five straight times overall, with Durant averaging 28.4 points. Westbrook has averaged 20.8 points and 8.2 assists in those games.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

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USATI

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...

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AP

Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...

The National Football League’s 32 bosses ruined all our fun speculation about Roger Goodell’s future by extending his future.

By extending his contract to 2025 – and, maybe more importantly, keeping his salary private so that we can’t use it as a club with which to continually brain him – the owners sent the message that, whatever the state of his petty feuds with allegedly powerful owners like Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft, they are unwilling to overturn the car to spite the roadway.

And he in turn takes great care to keep his supply lines covered, by keeping the majority of owners happy and well-insulated with barrels of cash. It’s Game Of Thrones, only less visually violent and more tactically prudent.

We mention this because as the Oakland Raiders slowly but surely transition to the Formerly Oakland Raiders, we remind you that Goodell’s two jobs are to provide the owners with what they want while making sure they provide him with what he wants. The commissioner doesn’t work for you, and he showed that when Mark Davis went looking for votes to leave, Goodell was giving him hints about what to do and not to do because, while the league might not have thought the Raiders were the ideal candidate to pry open access to the worlds of gambling and international high-rollers, they were the best available candidate.

And while you may want to be angry at him for not minding the needs of the Bay Area, he doesn’t work for you – never has, never will. He has his bosses, and you’re not them. It’s why, for all the criticism he takes – and maybe because he’s the one who takes it rather than his 32 bosses – he keeps his real constituency content, if not necessarily happy.

Now if you want to harm him, you can autocorrect “Goodell” for the names of the 32 owners. It’s clunky, and it unfocuses whatever your anger at the moment might be, but it would expose the real powers for whatever irks you at the time.

We’re not confident you’ll do that, too. Goodell makes a grand target – overpaid, slavishly devoted to oligarchs, willing to bend or deny reality to kick the liability can down the road – and that, too, is worth the money to them.