Kings face-off with Captain Jack, new look Bobcats

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Kings face-off with Captain Jack, new look Bobcats

Feb. 25, 2011KINGS (14-41) vs.
CHARLOTTE (25-32)

Coverage begins at 4pm on Comcast SportsNet California

(AP) -- With owner Michael Jordan participating in drills during practice and sitting courtside come game time, the Charlotte Bobcats know they are expected to play at a high level.If they're going to meet those expectations and advance to the playoffs for the second straight season, they will have to do so without Gerald Wallace.A day after Wallace and backup center Nazr Mohammed were traded in separate deals, the Bobcats will try to win their third straight at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday night when they face the Sacramento Kings.Despite turning 48 last Thursday, Jordan has been spending more time recently as a participant in practices. He may have lost a few steps since his last NBA game nearly eight years ago, but the Hall of Fame guard has not lost his competitiveness."Mike is winning some of our drills ... and I lay in on (the guys), 'How you going to let this man come out and beat you guys?'" coach Paul Silas said. "It's fun. They're into it, and that's what's most important is that they're buying in."A 114-101 victory over Toronto on Tuesday left a smile on Jordan's face as the Bobcats began the unofficial second half of the season with their third win in four games.Following Wednesday's practice, Wallace talked about how pleased he was with the team's intensity, but the veteran forward, who averaged 16.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in six-plus seasons with the club, won't be with the Bobcats (25-32) as they try to catch Indiana for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.Wallace was sent to Portland before Thursday's trade deadline for center Joel Przybilla, forward Dante Cunningham and two first-round picks.Charlotte traded Mohammed to Oklahoma City for forward D.J. White and guard Morris Peterson.Sacramento (14-41) could have guard Marcus Thornton available after acquiring him from New Orleans on Wednesday for forward Carl Landry.Thornton could back up second-year player Jermaine Taylor, who is making the most of his opportunity with Tyreke Evans sidelined at least three weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.Taylor, acquired from Houston in December for a second-round pick, is averaging 17.0 points and shooting 21 of 35 from the field while starting the last three games. He scored a career-high 21 points in Wednesday's 111-105 victory at Orlando."(Evans' injury) is not something you want to see, but it's the NBA. It happens," Taylor said. "As long as I'm in the starting spot, I'm going to take advantage of it and go out there and have fun and play."The Kings, who will be trying to win two straight for the first time since Jan. 28-29, have dropped five in a row against Charlotte and are 1-5 all-time at Time Warner Cable Arena.Bobcats leading scorer Stephen Jackson, who had a team-high 21 points in a 94-89 victory in Sacramento on Jan. 25, is expected to play after leaving Tuesday's game with a strained left hamstring.

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- The Specter of 73 haunts the Warrior still and you can feel it in their dismissive, yes-but responses to being on the brink of yet another entry into the NBA record book.

Though they do not believe their pursuit and achievement last season of an NBA-record 73 wins sabotaged their chances for a championship, it is evident the Warriors came away with diminished appreciation of gaudy numbers.

They can add to their list of shiny accomplishments Monday night. A victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals would make the Warriors the first team ever to open the playoffs with three four-game sweeps and a 12-0 record.

“My wife asked me this morning: What if you guys win and you’re 12-0?” general manager Bob Myers told NBCBayAreaSports.com Monday afternoon. “Well, for me, the record thing kind of got screwed up last year.”

Yes, the record thing. The Warriors chased 73 and got 73 and yet they’ll be known just as much, if not more, as the first team to blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

“It’s all about 16,” Stephen Curry told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Getting to 16 wins in the postseason means getting to the top. Winning it all. The very thing the Warriors did not accomplish a year ago.

They are one win away from being three-quarters of the way there.

“Going 12-0 sounds great,” Curry said. “But it probably would have happened if the Lakers would have played a seven-game series to start the run through the playoffs.”

The Lakers twice swept their first three postseason series -- in 1989 and 2001 -- but in both instances the first round was best-of-five. Both streaks ended at 11 in a row.

The Warriors seem to view numbers as decoration, ancillary components to the primary. They may have felt that way all along, but going through what they did last season, losing The Finals to the Cavaliers, provided an acute sense of context.

“It’s unfortunate that we put so much into the last game of the season, or winning the whole thing because there are a lot of things that we, as an organization, should be proud of no matter what happens,” Myers said. “But it’s hard, knowing where were last year, to see that regular-season record and then not win the championship. It’s a mixed feeling.

“So when you talk about records and numbers and things like that, and you know what it’s like to win a championship and you know what it’s like to lose, it’s hard to put them in proper perspective.”

The Warriors have made it clear they are less than impressed with their average victory margin of 16.5 points through the first 11 games in these playoffs. The record is 14.5, set by the Bucks in 1971.

They’re not buying into the hype generated by leading all playoff teams in points per game (117.4) and field-goal percentage (49.7) and field-goal percentage defense (41.6).

Numbers. Just numbers. Like, for example, 73.

“To know that we have a great regular-season record and a tiny little banner in our practice facility, “ Myers said, “it doesn’t feel like it should.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it doesn’t mean anything. But it’s hard to really understand what it means right now. And knowing that we’ve been in the midst of all these numbers and records and road-win records and things like that, you get lost in it in good and bad ways. It’s fantastic, but also what does it mean? Because what we’re really trying to do is win a championship.”

Which, of course, comes back to numbers.

“You can learn lessons in winning and you can learn lessons in losing,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of how you respond from game to game. But 12-0 would be irrelevant come next series.”