Athletics

Kings can't contain Paul in loss to New Orleans

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Kings can't contain Paul in loss to New Orleans

March 12, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Chris Paul dealt with a brief bout of anxiety as he prepared to return from a mild concussion that had sidelined him for two games.It had nothing to do with his health, though."Before the game, I was a little bit nervous, just because I feel like we've been playing well and I didn't want to come out and mess anything up," Paul said.Really?The All-Star guard scored a season-high 33 points to go with 15 assists, seven rebounds and five steals, and the New Orleans Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings 115-103 on Saturday night."I'm never surprised by those kinds of numbers," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "That's what he's capable of doing. Scoring 33 points is probably a little high for him, but he's capable of that. When he's able to push the ball in transition and knock down his jumper, he can do that more often than people think."David West had 25 points and former Kings forward Carl Landry added 20 for New Orleans, which has won four of five games and passed Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference. RELATED: NBA standings
Marcus Thornton, the former LSU star whose trade from New Orleans to Sacramento for Landry was unpopular with many Hornets fans, scored 25 points in his return. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds, but foul trouble forced him to the bench early in the fourth quarter, when the Hornets were in the midst of a decisive 18-2 run.It was the highest-scoring game of the season for the Hornets, who shot 52 percent (42 of 81) against a Kings squad that has lost six straight. Marco Belinelli added 12 points for New Orleans.Samuel Dalembert had 16 points and eight rebounds for Sacramento, while Francisco Garcia added 12 points and Jason Thompson 10.Sacramento shot 51 percent (33 of 65) through the first three quarters, but went 7 of 19 in the final one as New Orleans took command behind's Paul's 13 points in the period.With Paul attracting attention, West shot 12 of 18 after going a combined 9 of 29 in the two previous games. Paul was 13 of 21."We just ran out of gas and couldn't execute when we needed to in the fourth quarter," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "Obviously, we couldn't stop Chris Paul and David West. That's pretty much the game in a nutshell."Paul had missed two games since slamming his head into the shoulder of the Cavaliers' Ramon Sessions in a victory at Cleveland on March 6.He returned to practice Thursday, and shortly before Saturday's game, Williams put him in the starting lineup.Paul's effect was immediate. He had six points and five assists in the first quarter and also made passes on consecutive possessions to set up points at the free throw line by Belinelli and Landry.Paul said he had spent his idle time watching every college conference tournament game he could, which only increased his eagerness to play again. Beyond that, he figured it was pure coincidence that one of his best games this season came in his comeback from an initially frightening but ultimately mild head injury."It just happened," Paul said. "I tried to be a little aggressive early and shots fell."The Hornets led by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter when Landry scored inside to make it 34-24, but the Kings responded with the next eight points and no team led by double digits again in the half, which ended in a 57-all tie.With his mother sitting four rows from the court in a white Kings polo, Thornton received an enthusiastic welcome-back ovation from fans during introductions but started slowly, missing his first shot and not scoring until his driving reverse layup half way through the fist quarter. That changed quickly in the second quarter, however, when he scored 10 points, including a 3 from the corner and a fast-break layup after his steal from Paul, the latter giving the Kings the lead at 45-44.By the end of the third quarter, he was the game's high scorer with 23 points and the Kings led 85-84."It's always good seeing familiar faces ... but it's kind of sad we didn't get the win, because I'm a competitor first," Thornton said.The Kings led 86-84 early in the fourth quarter on Thompson's free throw, then the Hornets locked down on defense and went on their game-breaking run, which included four jumpers by Paul, while Cousins was on the bench with five fouls and a sore left shoulder.Cousins returned to the game with the Hornets leading 102-88, but by then Paul had the Hornets fully in control.Paul said he emerged from the game feeling fine and concerned with little more than the sleep he might lose before Sunday morning's practice because of daylight saving time."I'm cool right now," Paul said. "I just need to go lie down because we've got to set the clock up an hour, right?"Notes: The Hornets have had 10 different starting lineups since Jan. 30. Most were because of injuries to Trevor Ariza (groin), Emeka Okafor (oblique) and Paul, but also because Belinelli briefly lost his starting job to Willie Green. ... The Hornets are 23-9 at home this season. ... Sacramento's Beno Udrih missed his second straight game with the flu.

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

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NBCSportsCalifornia.com

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

A’s starter Paul Blackburn left Tuesday’s start in the fifth inning after a liner struck him on the right wrist.

Blackburn was in obvious pain after the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini hit the line shot back up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth at Camden Yards. The ball hit Blackburn flush, and he exited the field shortly after being visited by team trainer Nick Paparesta.

There was no immediate word from the A’s on the severity of his injury. But it was a very unfortunate turn of events for Oakland’s rookie, who largely has impressed in 10 starts since being called up from the minors. He got through four scoreless innings Tuesday, showing sharp form after giving up 18 hits over his previous two starts.

Simon Castro came on in relief as the A’s led the Orioles 5-0 in the fifth. Ryon Healy has homered twice for Oakland.

Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion

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Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion

SAN FRANCISCO -- At this point, the Giants have gotten used to some of the realities of this season. They have been a last-place team for months, and when they were officially eliminated from the National League West on Sunday the response was basically a "long time coming" shrug. 

But some parts of this season still stun team officials, and the continued injuries are at the top of the list. It's not just that players are getting hurt ... it's that key guys are getting hurt at every single level of the organization. The latest to go down is Heliot Ramos, this year's first-round pick. Per general manager Bobby Evans, Ramos suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday night. 

Ramos was tearing up the Arizona League, hitting .348 with a .404 on-base percentage, six homers, six triples and 11 doubles. The 48 strikeouts in 138 at-bats are a bit of an early concern, but the Giants are not stressing too much over a 17-year-old with a 1.049 OPS in his first professional season. Ramos is expected to miss 7-10 days, which is disappointing because the Giants were hopeful he would get a big taste of postseason action, even if it is just in the rookie league in Arizona. 

The injury continues a stunning trend. Chris Shaw and Bryan Reynolds are the only prospects out of the organization's top seven -- per MLB Pipeline -- who have avoided an injury setback. There is some good news, however, for a couple of those players who have gotten hurt. Austin Slater is 10-14 days from starting a rehab assignment, although he would probably need the San Jose Giants to make their postseason to see significant game action.

Steven Duggar was promoted from San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and had a good first night. He's unlikely to be a September call-up because of the injuries, and he's also in the same situation as Shaw and Andrew Suarez as a player who doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. 

--- As for the injured big leaguers: Johnny Cueto (elbow) is scheduled to throw three innings for Sacramento tonight and Joe Panik (concussion) will play five innings. Cueto will make at least one more rehab start. Panik will join San Jose on Wednesday and could return to the big league lineup on the next road trip. 

--- Bochy said Mark Melancon feels good after going back-to-back days. It doesn't sound like he'll return to the ninth inning anytime soon. It's easier to monitor Melancon's pronator strain when he's not the closer and Bochy said the two have talked about that situation. For instance, Matt Cain stayed warm after pitching the seventh on Monday. If Melancon had felt something while warming up for the eighth, Cain would have gone back out there.