Giants

Kings blow fourth-quarter lead to Jazz at home

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Kings blow fourth-quarter lead to Jazz at home

Feb. 7, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) For the Utah Jazz, this was a fourth-quarter comeback to savor. Now, they hope it puts an end to their recent struggles.Al Jefferson scored 23 points and Deron Williams had 21 points and nine assists to help Utah rally for a 107-104 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.The Jazz outscored the Kings 27-17 in the fourth quarter in winning their second road game in a row after dropping the previous six. Utah had lost nine of 12 overall since beating woeful Cleveland on Jan. 14."We've struggled on the road, so this was a very important win for us," said Williams, who has been bothered by a lingering sore wrist. "It's not a pretty win, but at least it's a win. I'm hoping this gets us back on track."Paul Millsap fouled out late in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points. Raja Bell had 17 points and Kyrylo Fesenko 11.DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 14 rebounds for Sacramento, which committed 20 turnovers. Tyreke Evans had 21 points, Jason Thompson scored 14 and Beno Udrih 11. The Kings have lost three straight.It appeared the Jazz might be headed for another loss when Sacramento led by six midway through the fourth quarter. Looking for a way to slow down Evans and Cousins, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan went to a zone defense and it worked well. The Kings scored only seven points in the final 6:36."We went to the zone to give them a little something different," Sloan said. "They are a big and long team with Cousins and (Samuel) Dalembert inside, and Evans can get to the basket really well. They still hurt us with some offensive rebounds, but the zone definitely slowed them down."Still, the Kings had their chances to win or send the game into overtime in the final 20 seconds. Omri Casspi took an awkward 3-pointer in the closing seconds that was an airball and the Jazz secured the rebound and the victory."We ran a play to set up for Tyreke, but I got kind of open," Casspi said. "I just lost the ball on the way up. The ball slipped out of my hands."After both Evans and Dalembert missed potential game-tying shots, Andrei Kirilenko converted a free throw for a 107-104 Jazz lead with 6.8 seconds left.Cousins converted a three-point play to pull the Kings to 105-104 with 1:04 left. But he quickly committed his sixth foul at the other end of the court, and Kirilenko made a free throw for a two-point Jazz lead.Although he played only 30 minutes and had foul problems early, Cousins still finished with his fourth 20-point effort in the past five games."Cousins is amazing. The sky is the limit for him," Jefferson said. "He's going to be something special."Kirilenko made a fast-break layup and fell hard to floor with 1:55 to go. The basket put the Jazz ahead 103-101.Trailing by seven after three quarters, the Jazz pulled even in the first 4 minutes of the fourth. A dunk by Jefferson followed by Earl Watson's fast-break layup tied the game at 81.It was Evans and Cousins scoring regularly in the third to give the Kings an 87-80 lead. Evans frequently penetrated inside and had 13 points in the quarter. Cousins converted a three-point play with 1.7 seconds left and had 11 points and eight rebounds."I thought the turnovers killed us," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "They killed us in the first half and they killed us in the second. We built a lead in the second half by taking care of the ball, and then turnovers popped up again down the stretch. That's a good team and you can't just give them those possessions like we did."Evans made a twisting, driving, left-handed layup in traffic and added a free throw after being fouled. The three-point play put the Kings ahead 73-66 midway through the third quarter.Casspi scored nine points for the Kings, who led 56-55 after a first half with numerous lead changes. Jefferson scored 14 points for the Jazz and Williams had 11 points and six assists.Notes: Sloan has signed a one-year contact extension for the 2011-12 season, which will be his 24th as Utah's coach. ... Donte Greene had a four-point play in the second quarter, breaking a 43-all tie and igniting an 8-0 run for the Kings. ... Kirilenko was back in the Jazz starting lineup after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle.

As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive

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USATSI

As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive

SAN FRANCISCO — There is a Houston Astros prospect named Dean Deetz, and in a way, Pablo Sandoval can thank him for his second shot with the Giants. 

Deetz drilled Christian Arroyo on July 1, halting the young third baseman’s bid to return to the Giants for the final two months. With Eduardo Nuñez traded to Boston and Arroyo recovering from minor hand surgery, the Giants turned to Sandoval, who has been a fixture in the middle of their lineup the last couple of weeks. Arroyo hoped to get some time at the hot corner in September, but on Thursday the Giants conceded that won’t happen. 

Arroyo will miss the rest of the regular season, team officials said. The hope is that he can get healthy in time for the Arizona Fall League and then potentially make up lost at-bats in a winter league.

Arroyo is either the organization’s best or second-best hitting prospect, depending on which list you look at. He hit .396 in Triple-A this season and then provided a momentary jolt after he forced his way into the big league lineup. Then the slump came, and overall Arroyo hit just .192 in 34 big league games. He was sent back to the minors and promptly was hit by a couple of pitches. 

It was a season with plenty of highs but a disappointing ending, but Arroyo is still just 22 and looks to be a big part of the future. Has he done enough to go into next spring with a firm grip on a job? 

“I’ll have to answer that later on and see where we’re at,” manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. “It’s all going to be competitive, that’s the way I look at it. You look at where we’ll finish, and not in the postseason, and you have to stay open-minded on everything.”

This could be setting up for a pretty intriguing spring battle. Arroyo and 23-year-old Ryder Jones were the internal candidates set for a competition, but Sandoval likely will be the everyday third baseman down the stretch. He has shown flashes of his old pre-Boston self and the Giants have been generally pleased with his play. Still, the results aren’t really there. 

Sandoval is hitting .200 since returning, with a .220 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage. That's good for a .545 OPS, which is nearly 100 points below his OPS in Boston this season. The Red Sox, at some point, had seen enough.  

Bochy said he has taken positives away from Sandoval's energy and some of his bigger moments, particularly the upper-deck homer he hit off Max Scherzer over the weekend. That’s his only homer with the Giants so far, but it made an impression. 

“He’s got the bat speed,” Bochy said. “That’s one of the longest homers we’ve seen this year. That shows (the bat speed) is there.”

Jones has been a fixture as well, playing first base in place of Brandon Belt. He has looked much better the second time around, but his average is still below .200 and his OPS of .559 is just about equal to Sandoval's. The Giants have not seen enough from anyone to have a favorite to play third base next season, and Bochy said the same holds true at other positions. 

"We've got to stay open-minded about who is going to be where next year (and) playing time," he said. "It's up to us to adjust and get better."

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.